Another magnificent day greeted surfers and spectators at the picturesque Avoca Beach on NSW’s surf rich Central Coast. The Vissla Central Coast Pro round of 64 was completed along with the Sisstrevolution round of 16 as the event now heads into an exciting finals weekend.
The day opened with high profile Australian surfer Julian Wilson taking to the water and winning his opening heat to advance to the round of 16. Wilson attracted a big contingent of local school children who hopefully made it on time to their classes after watching one of the world’s top surfers in action at their local beach.
“I’m excited to start my Australian events campaign and especially in this region now that I’m living in Newcastle, which is just north of this beach,” said Wilson after his heat win. “I think all the surfers are really enthused now WSL events are up and running. The incoming internationals for the CT’s I think will appreciate life in Australia at the moment and just being able to run our sport in great locations at the highest level. It’s fantastic.”
One of the morning’s standouts was Gold Coast surfer Liam O’Brien who demolished his opponents with his trademark stylish and powerful surfing and an impressive 15.25 heat total. O’Brien almost qualified for the Championship Tour in 2019 and his goals are firmly set on that dream.
“It’s uncertain how the qualification pathway will play out, but the good news for all of us here surfing is that we are back on and competing,” said O’Brien. “I feel refreshed and very ready to tackle professional surfing and I’m sure we’re all feeling the same way, especially here with excellent surf.”
Other highlight surfers to excel and advance to the round of 16 included Matt Banting (high scoring heat total of 15.40), Reef Heazelwood and Callum Robson who posted the highest scoring heat tally of 16.75.
The Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro rounded out today’s action and the quarterfinalists were decided as the waves continued to pump. The highlight surfer was South African born Sarah Baum who relished the powerful conditions and posted the highest heat tally of the round with an impressive 15.90. Baum is the defending champion here and looks forward to the weekend finals.
“I love it here and after winning this event last year I do feel confident,” said Baum. “After that opening excellent ride I was always well placed to win that heat but it wasn’t until late in the heat that I managed to find the second good score. As a QS3000 this is a really important event for all of us so the weekend is going to be exciting, especially with the waves being so good.”
Other winners from today’s round of 16 included Sally Fitzgibbons, India Robinson and Macy Callaghan.
The live broadcast of the Vissla Central Coast Pro and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro will begin on Thursday, 4 March 2021 and will be streamed live on Surfing NSW website and Facebook.
The elite six-day World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 rated event formed the final of four stops on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series and will take place in Avoca from Tuesday, 2 March 2021 until Sunday, 7 March 2021.
The four-event series will see three QS1000 rated events (Maroubra, Great Lakes and Port Stephens) and one men’s and women’s QS3000 (Central Coast).
In 2020, the WSL revealed a new format for 2021, which included creating distinct seasons between the QS (the regionalised development tier), the Challenger Series (the global battleground for Championship Tour qualification) and the Championship Tour (the world’s best surfers competing for the World Title).
The new tour structure will provide a more streamlined and affordable career pathway for WSL athletes by allowing up-and-coming surfers to develop closer to home without financially overleveraging themselves. Athletes will compete on their regional QS tour in hopes of qualifying for the Challenger Series (CS), and ultimately the Championship Tour, which will reduce the economic pressure on surfers and their sponsors, as well as provide increased opportunities to celebrate local stars.
The QS will run from January through to July 2021 and determine who has qualified for the CS, which will run from August through to December 2021. Each region will have an allocation of surfers that can qualify for the CS through their regional tour. Athletes will be able to roll over points from 2020 QS events into the current season. Australia/Oceania will receive an allocation of ten men’s and eight women’s spots onto the Challenger Series based on the regional QS rankings.
All events will be webcast through worldsurfleague.com, surfingnsw.com.au and the WSL App.
For more information on these events head to worldsurfleague.com or check the free WSL App.
2021 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series Event Schedule
Event 1: Great Lakes Pro, Boomerang Beach, Tuesday 16 – Friday 19 February 2021.
Event 2: Port Stephens Pro, Birubi Beach, Sunday 21 – Tuesday 23 February 2021.
Event 3: Mad Mex Maroubra Pro, Maroubra Beach, Friday 26 – Sunday 28 February 2021.
Event 4: Vissla Central Coast Pro, Avoca Beach, Tuesday 2 – Sunday 7 March 2021.
The 2021 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series will be proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series will also be proudly supported by Vissla, Randwick City Council, Central Coast Council, Mid Coast Council, Port Stephens Council, Mad Mex, Sisstrevolution, Middle Rock Holiday Park, Moby’s Beachside Retreat, Avoca Beach Hotel, WSL and Surfing NSW.