Event organisers have been faced with a mass of different conditions throughout Day 3 of the World Surf League (WSL) Sydney International Women’s Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 event at Cronulla. Round 3 was completed and brought with it the top seeds that dominated the small weak swell that was on offer.
After concocting the idea of the Sydney International Beach Festival for years and finally getting it underway, Sally Fitzgibbons was able to paddle out for a heat in her own event. The current world No. 8 came up against local wildcard Jazmyn Turner, who had a huge amount of support on the beach. Fitzgibbons looked solid, opting to surf the lefts on her backhand to post a solid heat total of 14.84 (out of a possible 20) to take the heat and progress into Round 4.
“That was the most fun I’ve had competing for a long time,” Fitzgibbons said. “Coming up against the local wildcard Jazmyn (Turner) was so cool because she had a massive crowd from the community supporting her on the beach, it really built a cool atmosphere. After all the time leading up to this contest it was good to finally put the jersey on and get out there and get a few waves under my belt.”
Current Women’s World Junior Champion Isabella Nichols is a very small chance at qualifying for the CT in 2017. Although it’s only a small chance the Sunshine coaster is giving herself every opportunity just scraping through her Round 3 heat today. With the tide filling in the small swell was struggling to break on the bank, which left Nichols to play a patient game not dropping a score until there was only 8 minutes left in the heat. Fortunately, the wait paid off and she sneaks into Round 4. “Everyone is in the same boat when the waves slow down,” Nichols said.
“I just tried to stay patient for those good ones that were rarely coming through. Waiting that long can be pretty nerve racking but I had priority and new with right wave I could get a score, so I just waited for that right one.”
French surfer Justine Dupont is on the brink of Qualifying for the elite Championship Tour (CT) for a second time. The skillful natural-footer moved ever so closer to her dream today working the small waves that were on offer to win her heat and progress into Round 4.
“I had to play the heat really smart because it was pretty slow,” Dupont said. “I made it to the CT once before but injured myself so I’m really keen to get back there. Being on the CT is my goal and I feel I’m getting close now.”
After competition went on hold over high tide the first heat back was highly anticipated for almost 3 hours as fans waited to see CT competitor and Sydney sider Laura Enever take to the water. Enever did not disappoint attacking the small lefthanders to post a solid heat total of 14.34 to convincingly win her heat.
“I have so much energy so it’s tough trying to stay contained when we are on hold for so long,” Enever said. “We had so many calls in a row so I felt like I was getting ready every 20 minutes then just relaxing so it was hard to stay focused. I’m glad the waves began to work again so we could get the heat out of the way.”
11-year-old wonder kid Sabre Norris was awarded a wildcard into the Sydney International Women’s Pro for what was sure to be the most exciting experience of her life to date. Norris found herself surfing amongst her Idols coming up against CT competitor Sage Erickson and young ripper Tia Blanco in Heat 9 of Round 3. Norris was unable to progress but was competitive all heat finishing in 3rd and putting on an amazing show for the crowd.
“This has been such an exciting week,” Norris said. “I’m so stoked Sally gave me this opportunity and I really would like to thank her for that. It’s been fun down here with my family I’ve had the best time ever.”