In conditions befitting of thrilling high-performance surfing, Jordy Lawler from Australia and Alessa Quizon from Hawaii have taken out the VISSLA Sydney Surf Pro and the Sydney Women’s Pro presented by Sisstrevolution to earn themselves 6,000 *Qualifying Series (QS) points and a well-deserved bump in their rankings.
Lawler’s win was especially charged given that he lives only a few headlands around from Manly on Sydney’s Northern Beaches but has struggled to claim a decent QS result since kicking off his competitive career.
After battling through the early rounds in front of a massive home crowd though, Lawler demonstrated how adapting to the conditions can deliver victory by putting on an epic show of small wave surfing to move past Championship Tour (CT) surfer Jesse Mendes from Brazil, fellow countrymen Stu Kennedy and Hawaiian Ian Gentil in the process.
“I surf these conditions almost every day, so it’s really like second nature for me”. Lawler said. “But there’s been real fun waves all week, so we’re blessed to have waves here”.
Lawler was then matched up with the ever-electric Jadson Andre in the finals, who found himself in his second final in a week having finished runner-up at the Burton Automotive Pro QS6,000 in Newcastle.
Unfortunately for Jadson it was a case of always a bridesmaid and never a bride again in Sydney, with Lawler claiming the biggest scalp of his career in front of huge contingent of mates and supporters at Manly, becoming only the second ever Northern Beaches local to take a win at Manly after Laura Enever in 2015 in the process.
Lawler can now enjoy leapfrogging to fourth place on the QS rankings thanks to his dazzling display of competitive surfing while Jadson will be no doubt be consoled by the fact he’s already secured his spot on the CT for 2020.
Founder of Rad Season and self-confessed salt water disciple, Oli Russell-Cowan, was on site for the entire event and had this to say.
“It was awesome seeing the North Narrabeen Boardrider local Jordy Lawler take the win at home in front of the whole North Narra crew on the beach cheering him on. Jadson had been on incredible form the whole event after a run up in Surfest Newcastle the week before”.
As for Alessa Quizon, the road to victory was equally as poignant after she fell off the CT back in 2016. Since then the young Hawaiian has refocused her energy into only surfing a handful of events and taking each competition heat-by-heat.
This new approach has allowed her to surf without putting too much pressure on herself – an approach that seems to be paying off given she’s now notched up the first major QS event win of her career and done so in stellar fashion. Quizon now sits at fourth place on the QS rankings and may need to rethink her longtime strategy given that she’s now in a position to requalify for the CT.
“I can’t really believe this is happening,” Quizon said. “I was mainly coming to Australia to support my husband (pro surfer Caio Ibelli) and maybe surf a few events and just see how I would go. Newcastle wasn’t the best result and then I came here and kept making heats and then I ended up in the final. I wasn’t really planning on chasing the QS this year and going for requalification, but I might have to rethink that. It was cool to share it with Bella and I’m so excited to see her doing well. This is all so surreal I just need to let it all sink in.”
Runner-up Isabella Nichols must be using the same good luck charm as Jadson Andre though after also coming up short in the finals for the second time in a week.
A Sunshine Coast local, Nichols is still over the moon regardless of her finish and proud of her performance during the Sisstrevolution Qualifying Series event, which places her first on the women’s QS leader board and goes down as her best start to a season of her career.
“I’ve never started my season well so to be leading the QS is so amazing and I feel like it’s all coming together for me. I’m really happy for Alessa, she is a great friend of mine and an incredible surfer so I’m stoked to see her do well. Although I want to shift my focus on to the next events and make sure I keep my roll going, I just want to soak this up as it’s a really amazing feeling right now.” Nichols said.
A Vissla Expression Session also ensured the crowd was treated to plenty of action, with 11-times WSL World Champion Kelly Slater, two-time World Champion Tom Carroll from Australia, Rugby League Immortal Andrew Johns, surfers Toby Mossop, Cam Richards, Koda Killorn and surfboard shaper Donny Brink all surfing for 30 minutes in a fun and lighthearted session. Slater took to the on-site surfboard shaping shack where he helped craft a surfboard for the future.
*QS events come in points groups of 1,000, 1,500, 3,000, 6,000 and 10,000, with both the cash and the stakes becoming higher the more points on offer. Seven of the 63 qualifying events are 6,000 and six of them are 10,000, which makes winning a 6,000 event a fair accomplishment. The next QS 6,000 for the men will be the Ichinomiya Chiba Open at Shida Point, Ichinomiya, Chiba, Japan, while the next women’s event with 6,000 points on the line will be Super Girl Pro at Oceanside Pier, California, United States.
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