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Top Seeds Take On Rising Stars at Hurley Australian Open of Surfing

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MANLY BEACH, Sydney, NSW/AUS (Tuesday, February 10, 2015) The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing saw the men’s top seeds hit the water for the World Surf League (WSL) QS6000 (Qualifying Series) division while the women had the day off. An improvement on yesterday’s surf conditions at Manly Beach saw plenty of big moves and excellent scores being thrown in the fight for all-important ranking’s points and prize-money.

Mateia Hiquily (Tahiti) almost pulled out of the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing two weeks ago when he broke his shoulder, but a speedy recovery and strong will saw him come out firing in Manly. Hiquily was in last place in the dying moments of his Round of 96 battle when he stroked into a set wave and tore it to bits punctuating the wave by launching and landing a huge aerial on the end to jump into 1st position and advance.

“I broke my shoulder two weeks ago and was considering not coming to Australia,” Hiquily said. “But I wanted to try and make the most of the opportunity to surf in this event. I had my first surf in my heat yesterday and it felt okay. The surf here is quite small so I didn’t think it would pop out again. When you’re fourth and you jump to first at the end of the heat it’s always a good feeling.”

Nathan Hedge (AUS) was another Round 2 winner at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing. Credit: WSL/Matt Dunbar

Mick Fanning (Coolangatta, QLD/AUS), three-time World Champion and Hurley Australian Open of Surfing No. 1 seed came flying out of the gates and posted two excellent scores in the opening minutes of his first heat of 2015. Fanning held the lead until the last 30 seconds when he was overtaken by Hiquily, but he was able to advance in 2nd position.

“This is my first time at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing and it’s been great so far,” Fanning said. “I was tossing up going to Newcastle or coming here and I thought coming here would give me an extra week at home to prepare for the Championship Tour event on the Gold Coast. You never know how you’re going to go for your first heat of the year and there are so many exciting kids in the event. It’s exciting to see the talent coming through and to begin my 2015 campaign.”

Peru’s Miguel Tudela throwing some heat at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing. Credit: WSL/Matt Dunbar 

Mason Ho (Hawaii), fresh from a runner-up finish at the QS3000 event at Pipe in Hawaii had no problems transitioning to the small surf in Manly today. Ho used his trademark energetic approach to post an impressive heat win with South Africa’s Michael February also advancing in 2nd position and Keanu Asing (HAW) and Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) eliminated in 3rd and 4th.

“Manly is one of my favourite places — there’s so many cool people and always something going on,” Ho said. “My Dad has always taught me the importance of being able to enjoy all kinds of waves, so going from big waves in Hawaii to small waves here isn’t hard for me, it’s actually really fun. It’s good to be back competing and traveling, I’m excited for the year ahead.”

Californian Conner Coffin was among the morning standouts. Credit: WSL/Matt Dunbar 

David do Carmo (BRA) took out a drama filled heat with Sydney’s own Kai Otton (AUS) also advancing in 2nd position — Thomas Woods (AUS) and Kaito Ohashi (JPN) were eliminated in 3rd and 4th place. While do Carmo was using his speed and power to clock up an important Heat win Woods was being chaired up the beach by fellow Australians Jay Thompson and Lincoln Taylor due to injury. Woods launched into an air-reverse and landed in the flat section out the front of the wave and instantly grabbed his knee in pain.

“I saw that he was hurt and I hope he’s alright,“ do Carmo said. “He’s a great surfer and it’s always sad to see someone get injured. That win is important for me, it’s my second time here at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing and I love it. This is a long way from Brazil so to win heats is very important for us.”

More info www.AustralianOpenofSurfing.com

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
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.

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