Giant windblown conditions greeted competitors on the opening day of the 2018 Port Stephens Toyota NSW Pro.
The six-day competition kicked off at Birubi Beach on Monday with the Men’s QS1000.
Morgan Cibilic from Merewether kept the flame alive for his 2018 Australasian WSL Qualifying Series campaign, moving through his round two heat.
Cibilic found a handful of corners in the shifty lineup, which allowed him to execute a handful of impressive snaps and post a 10.60 heat total and finish the heat in the runner-up spot.
“That whole lineup is so tricky out there and all I could think was how much I wanted to move through that heat,” Cibilic said.
“It’s really hard to tell what the waves will do when they stand up or if they’ll offer you the opportunity to do turns. You actually feel lost at sea a bit as I didn’t see any of the guys who were in my heat until right at the end.”
Thomas Cervi (Sunshine Coast) set a high benchmark for the goofy-footers in the following heats, posting a respectable 10.50 two-wave heat total in his round two heat to take the victory ahead of Mitch Barraclough who finished in the runner-up spot.
“That was a really hard heat. I feel like I’ve just done a triathlon,” Cervi said.
“There was no real tactic to surfing a heat out there, you just needed to be lucky to find a wave that had a bit of a wall on it and hopefully it didn’t close out. It’s always a good feeling to scrape through those heats.”
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Jared Hickel (Cronulla) was able to get the monkey off his back, taking his first heat wins in some time in his opening two rounds.
Hickel got the ball rolling early in his round two heat, posting a decent 7.00 wave score for a punchy left that allowed for multiple turns.
Hickel will meet Barraclough, Cibilic and Nick Callister in round three.
“There’s the odd corner out there, but for the most part it was pretty wild-and-woolly,” Hickel said.
“You can’t develop much of a game-plan out there as a lot of it comes down to luck and you really needed to stay busy. I’m stoked to get through those heats as I haven’t got through a few rounds for a while now, so hopefully, I can keep the ball rolling.”
Nick Callister (Burleigh) continued to claim scalps for the goofy-footers as he nailed a victory in his second round heat.
Callister drifted down the beach a substantial distance over the contest area but was fortunate to find a handful of punchy lefts in the process. He was duly rewarded with a decent 13.97 two-wave heat total.
“I got totally lost out there and I ended up way down the beach and couldn’t paddle back up,” Callister said.
“The jetski came down and told me I was way out of the area, but I couldn’t get back there as my arms were worn out. I tried to focus on catching those double-up waves as you could see them pretty easily when they came through, but they were hard to find where they were.”
The second day of competition will pick up at Birubi Beach on Friday.
The NSW Pro will wrap up on Tuesday.