Lennox Head duo Nyxie Ryan and Mikey McDonagh have taken the most significant victories of their careers, winning the 2023 Camplify Great Lakes Pro, World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 event. The pair battled through a massive field of Australia and Oceania’s best up-and-coming competitors to become winners in bumpy three-to-five foot surf at the picturesque Boomerang Beach.
Mikey McDonagh has claimed an emphatic victory at Boomerang Beach, losing the lead then regaining it all in the final minute of competition. McDonagh came up against Sunny Coaster Taj Stokes in the Final and looked in control for its entirety, although Stokes was only looking for a mid-range score to take the lead. With 45 seconds left, McDonagh let Stokes take a smaller wave, but he did enough to take the lead, leaving McDonagh needing a 7.04 and wondering if he had just handed the title to his opponent. Before he had time to digest the thought, a set popped up, and with only 4 seconds left on the clock, McDonagh took off and lay down four solid turns to earn the score and the win with a two-wave total of 13.34.
“This is the best feeling in the world – I’m over the moon right now. That came right down to the wire there, so I’m so stoked to get the win,” McDonagh said. “In the last few minutes of the heat, I knew Taj wouldn’t need much of a wave to get the mid-range score he needed. When I let him go on that one, I didn’t think it looked like much, but it obviously gave him two decent sections on the inside. When I got my last one, it gave me a big section out the back, and that sent me on my way. It’s all a bit of a blur, to be honest – I’m kind of lost for words. This event has been a good one for me – I’ve just felt really felt in sync and enjoyed myself surfing heats.”
Taj Stokes only just missed out on taking the win, but a second place at a QS 3,000 is still the biggest points haul of his career and will go a long way to his Challenger Series qualification campaign.
The women’s Final saw two of Australia’s most dominant upstarts in, Nyxie Ryan and Ellie Harrison, going head-to-head in the peaks of Boomerang Beach as both looked for the most prominent points haul of their young careers, a win at a QS 3,000 event. Both competitors posted mid-range scores early, which kept things tight in the 30-minute matchup, but in the end, it was Ryan who was able to back it up and take control. Harrison couldn’t find a wave that offered her scoring potential, leaving Ryan to defend her 2022 Boomerang title with a winning total of 12.66 (out of a possible 20).
“This feels good – I’m super stoked,” Ryan said. “It’s been a big couple of days, and to get the win, I had to surf four times today, so I’m exhausted, but I knew this would be the case, and it’s all worth it now. It’s cool to have Mikey in the Final too. It’s great for the two of us to represent our hometown of Lennox and hopefully make everyone proud. I’ve done well at 1000 events, so getting the win at a 3000 is a massive improvement. I’m stoked.”
Harrison may have fallen short of winning, but her second place finish at the Camplify Great Lakes. Still, the runner-up finish has solidified her spot in second place on the WSL Australia Oceania regional rankings. The win has taken Nyxie Ryan all the way to the top 5 on the rankings ahead of the next event at Port Stephen’s, which will kick off on Monday.
The Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series 2023 is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.
The Camplify Great Lakes Pro was available to watch via live webcast thanks to Mad Mex through worldsurfleague.com, the WSL App, 7plus, mySurf.tv, Kayo Sports, and Surfing NSW socials. To catch up on this week’s action, choose your preferred platform above.
Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series 2023 Event Schedule
Event 1: Camplify Great Lakes Pro QS3000: Tuesday 21st – Friday 24th Feb
Event 2: Surfers Rescue 24/7 Port Stephens Pro QS1000 – Monday 27th Feb: Wednesday 1st March
Event 3: Mad Mex Maroubra Pro QS1000: Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th March
Event 4: Men’s Vissla Central Coast Pro presented by Mad Mex QS3000, Women’s Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro presented by Mad Mex: Monday 13th – Saturday 18th March
The 2023 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, Sisstrevolution, Destination Sydney Surrounds, Randwick City Council, Central Coast Council, Mid Coast Council, Port Stephens Council, Barrington Coast, Mad Mex, Camplify, Storage King, Avoca Beach Hotel, Southend Hotel, PRD Real Estate, Surfers Rescue 24/7, #NoTxtNoWrecks, WSL and Surfing NSW.