MANLY BEACH, Sydney, NSW/AUS (Monday, February 9, 2015) – MANLY BEACH, Sydney, NSW/AUS (Monday, February 7, 2015) – The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing men’s and women’s World Surf League (WSL) QS6000 (Qualifying Series) divisions hit the water with plenty of fiery match-ups in the fight for all-important QS rankings points and prize-money. Manly Beach delivered small but punchy surf today and event officials are eyeing an increase for the coming weekend for a potential finish in great waves.
Mitch Coleborn (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS) was the standout performer of the day — whipping tight and critical turns to score a monster 9.33 with a backup score of 8.00 to notch an easy heat win and advance into the next Round. Coleborn was in sync with the ocean and attributed his success to the WSL’s newly activated four man priority system at the QS6000 events.
“It’s so good to have priority in these QS6000 events now as it eliminates the hassling and takes all the nerves aways for me,” Coleborn said. “It’s good to be back in Manly — summer in Australia is a great way to start the competitive year, hopefully I can have a few more heats like that one.”
Felicity Palmateer getting back into the competitive groove at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing. Credit: WSL/Matt Dunbar
Felicity Palmateer (Margaret River, WA/AUS) posted an impressive win in her first QS heat for 2015, she missed the previous events to focus on her art exhibition, but arrived in Manly to shift her focus back to surfing. Palmateer used her forehand power hacks to carve out some decent scores to advance into the next Round where she will face reigning six-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Justine Dupont (FRA) and Georgia Fish (AUS).
“I had an art exhibition that I’ve been focusing on before this event and I think that worked to my advantage. I usually obsess over the contest and getting through heats, but here I just rocked up and went out and got through my heat. The surf is quite small, but I love going left so I made the most of it and I’m really happy with how today went.”
Isabelle Nichols (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS), who yesterday advanced into the Final of the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing Pro Junior was on fire once again today. Nichols top scored in the women’s division netting a solid 16.60 (out of a possible 20) for her sharp and fast approach.
“My confidence has build with every heat so I’m feeling really good at this event,” Nichols said. “It was really fun out there. I know it sounds corny, but I wasn’t thinking about the heat I was trying to have fun so lets hope that keeps working for me. This is such a massive event, the site is so big and there’s a lot of people watching but I just have to try not to think about that.”
Michael February’s backhand whip at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing today. Credit: WSL/Matt Dunbar
Michael February (South Africa) won his first heat of 2015 at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing today, using his lightning fast backhand hooks to glide into the next Round. February hasn’t competed since November and was able to overcome the nerves and fight through a tough heat.
“I haven’t surfed in a contest since November so it felt really weird going into that heat,” February said. “There’s been lots of good waves at home, but where I live is often like this so I’ve been able to prepare for all conditions. I’ve got a good enough seed to get into all the QS6000 events, but I really want to improve my position so I can get into the QS10,000s.”
Jean Da Silva (Brazil) scored a coveted Round 1 heat win in one of the tightest heats of the day. All four surfers had decent scores in their accounts, but it was the Brazilian’s 8.83 (out of a possible 10) that was the difference and saw him take top position.
“There’s a lot of Brazilians here in Manly and we’re all still feeding off Gabriel Medina’s first World Title win last year,” Da Silva said. “I always knew we would have a World Champion from Brazil, but seeing it happen has fired us all up. It’s great to be here, the waves in that heat were like a left hand point so I was loving it out there.”
More info www.AustralianOpenofSurfing.com
AUSTRALIAN OPEN OF SURFING
The 2015 Hurley Australian Open of Surfing, owned and operated by IMG, will run from 7 – 15 February. The nine day, one-of-a-kind festival will bring together some of the world’s top athletes in surfing and skateboarding combined with two days of live concerts on the Channel [V] music stage, art/photo installations and interactive sponsor displays – all taking place on iconic Manly Beach, Sydney
All events are free and open to the public. Live webcast can be viewed at www.australianopenofsurfing.com. The surfing event will be broadcast live on FOX Sports at the following times:
Friday Feb 13 – 0730 – 1600 – Fox Sports 2
Saturday Feb 14 – 0730 – 1430 – Fox Sports 4
Sunday Feb 15 – 0730 – 1600 – Fox Sports 4
It will also be broadcast internationally via a highlights show, bringing all the action to over 110 countries across the globe.
The essence of Hurley is based on our love of the ocean and its constant state of change. With deep roots in beach culture, we are all about inclusion and positivity. Our brand was started with the idea of facilitating the dreams of the youth. Music and art are the common threads that bring us all together. We are passionate about freedom of expression and the individual voice. We place a premium on smiles. Welcome to our world, imagine the possibilities http://www.hurleyau.com Or http://facebook.com/HurleyAus
ABOUT DESTINATION NSW
Destination NSW is the lead NSW Government agency for tourism and major events sectors. The NSW Government, through Destination NSW, assisted with securing the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing for Manly in 2015.
The role of Destination NSW is to market Sydney and NSW as one of the world’s premier tourism and major events destinations; to secure major sporting and cultural events; to work in partnership with Business Events Sydney to win major international conventions and incentive travel reward programs; to develop and deliver initiatives that will drive visitor growth throughout the State; and to achieve the NSW Government’s goal of doubling expenditure within the State’s visitor economy by 2020.