Kai Ellice-Flint (Byron Bay) and Tully White (Manly) have claimed victory at the 2023 Manly Longboard Classic presented by Okanui, World Surf League (WSL) Longboard Qualifying Series event (LQS). As the second and final stop on the LQS, Manly offered clean one-to-two foot surf similar to the conditions at the Noosa Longboard Pro held earlier this year.
Manly local, Tully White who has already qualified for the 2023 Longboard World Tour and took out the female division today with grace and style as she leveraged her local knowledge and passion for the sport to her advantage. White dominated every heat, walking toes to the nose with a win after win from the Quarter Finals to the Final. This will be White’s second campaign on the world stage, with the first stop at Bells Beach in August this year.
“Although I’m already on the 2023 WLT, it’s always nice to have such a big event in my backyard and to practice the WSL format in as many heats as possible. I’m really looking forward to the World Tour and want to say a massive congratulations to all the finalist’s today, it was a great heat.” White said.
White’s talent has been one to watch as many anticipate her first WLT victory in 2023, which would override her current competitive career highlight as third place in the 2022 GWM Sydney Surf Pro WLT.
Kai Ellice-Flint, the smooth natural footer based in Byron Bay scored first place in today’s final against confirmed 2023 World Tour competitor and Manly local Declan Wyton, by just 0.40 total score difference. Every time the judges looked up from their scoring tablets, they would witness Kai seamlessly gliding across the face of the wave, weaving, cross-stepping and nose-riding his way to a 7.17 and a 6.70 score count in the final.
The event’s top scored waves were confirmed before the North Easterly wind picked up. During the Semi Final Heat 1, Declan Wyton locked down a near perfect ride with a 9.33, followed by Kai Ellice-Flint in Heat 2 finishing with a 9.17. Lara Murphy swerved onto a 7.50 point score ride in the Female Quarter Final Heat 4, cementing this ride as the top score ride across the female heats.
The Manly Longboard Classic presented by Okanui also had two 2023 WLT Wild Cards (one male and one female) to confirm from today’s results. Based on the total LQS rankings from the Noosa and Manly events, and with the consideration at Declan Wyton and Tully White who have both secured their spot on the WLT, Max Weston (Pittwater) and Roisin Carolan (Byron Bay) will officially compete at Bells Beach in August as the first World Tour Longboard event of the season kicks off.
The Manly Longboard Classic presented by Okanui was proudly supported by the NSW Government, Okanui, Bennett Surf and Surfboard Souls Manly.