Matt Banting (Port Macquarie, NSW/AUS), reigning Hurley Australian Open of Surfing champion in both the Pro Junior and open 6-Star Qualifying Series divisions started his 2014 campaign in winning form, taking out the first heat of the Round of 64, posting an excellent 8.50 in the process.
“I had few nerves before that heat, it’s fairly common before the first heat at big contest like this,” Banting said. “The sand banks are the same and the event site looks the same as two years ago when I won, so I had a couple flashbacks. I’m feeling really good and psyched for the rest of the event.”
Cooper Chapman (North Narrabeen, NSW/AUS) posted a near-perfect 9.35 (out of a possible 10) for a series powerful carves and a lofty aerial, in his opening heat at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing today. Chapman easily won his heat and in the process locked in the highest single wave score and two-wave heat total of the day.
“I haven’t gotten a 9 for a while so it feel really good,” Chapman said. “I did the event in Maroubra to build my confidence for the year, but I got through a lot of heats with small scores. It’s a great way to start the event and hopefully I can get on a roll and do well in the juniors and the 6-Star. The surf has been fun here for the last few weeks, I’ve been surfing here a lot, I found a few little runners in that heat so I’m feeling really good.”
Mitch Parkinson (Gold Coast, QLD/AUS) won his opening heat at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing with O’Neill Massin (Tahiti) also advancing in second position. Parkinson used his trademark smooth style to score 7.50 (out of a possible 10) for a wave that he punctuated with a big air-reverse.
“It’s pretty hard out there with small waves and four guys in the water, but we’re all dealing with the same conditions,” Parkinson said. “You have to be aggressive to get through, everyone wants to be the one holding the trophy at the end of the event. I haven’t had the best start to the year, but I’m looking to come back now and win a few heats. I’m stoked that the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing is back on, the last one was incredible and I’m looking forward to a big week.”
Mateia Hiquily (Tahiti) caused the upset of the day as he eliminated current No. 1 on the ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series – Kelly Norris. Hiquily mixed classic carves and huge airs as he put together a great come from behind heat win.
“I knew that I’d need some good scores to win that heat because all the surfers are really strong,” Hiquily said. “I got a good wave, scored a 7 and moved in the lead which made me feel really comfortable out there. I didn’t know Kelly (Norris) was first on the ratings, but I knew if he got some good waves that he would get some big scores so I just had to try to get the good waves.”
Ella Williams (New Zealand), reigning ASP Women’s World Junior Champion won her way through a tricky heat, with long lulls and not many waves on offer. Williams stayed composed, put herself in the right position and capitalised when given the opportunity to advance into the next round in first position.
“The surf has dropped off a lot from the last few days, it’s difficult, but you just have to make the most of it out there,” Williams said. “I’ve been here for five days, it’s really good to be here. This event is crazy, there’s so many people and the atmosphere is great. There’s always a little pressure being current ASP World Junior Champion, it’s just how you deal with it.”
Keely Andrew (Sunshine Coast, QLD/AUS), current No. 1 on the ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series, put on a dominant display in her opening heat at the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing. Andrew unloaded powerful carves and wrapping turns to easily advance into the next round where she will now take on Holly Wawn (AUS), Brodie Doyle (AUS) and Ellie Brooks (AUS).
“I knew the judges were looking for combinations of turns, so I just tried to fit a couple of big ones in and it worked,” Andrew said. “It takes a load off your back in a heat when you get a big score at the start. Hopefully I can keep it going and finish the season the way I started, in first place.”
The open men’s and women’s ASP 6-Star Qualifying Series divisions will get underway from Monday, with and impressive all-star field of surfers eager to set themselves up as front-runners on the 2014 ASP Qualifying Series. Some of the surfers to hit the water this week include Reigning ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT) and many more.
For more event information log on to www.AustralianOpenofSurfing.com
About Hurley Australian Open of Surfing 2014
The Hurley Australian Open of Surfing 2014 is a nine-day event (Feb 8th-16th) which will showcase the world’s best surfers, skateboarders, music and art at iconic Manly Beach, Sydney. Owned and produced by IMG Australia, the global youth and sporting event is expected to attract an audience of in excess of 175,000 people.
Inspired by the US Open of Surfing held in Huntington Beach, California, the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing boasts a line up of the top-rated 6-star men’s and women’s ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) World Qualifying Tour surf talent, men’s and women’s world junior star-athletes, and a world-class line-up of skateboarding talent.
The Channel [V] stage is back again this year also for two epic days of live music headlined by Aussie talents Birds of Tokyo and supported by ARIA urban award winner Illy, chart-topper The Presets and Melbournian rock outfit Delta Riggs.
Title Sponsor Hurley are joined this year by partners Nike SB and the NSW Government, through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW, and supported by Manly Council