New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival
ASP 6-Star Women's QS
ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series
Fitzroy Beach, Taranaki
29 April - 4 May 2014
Top women's WQS surfers tackle fun 3-foot Taranaki
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 1 May, 2014 - Taranaki, New Zealand - The ASP 6-Star Qualifying Series Port Taranaki Pro, part of the New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival saw the top seeds tackle fun 3 foot (1 metre) surf, as 48 of the world's best surfers battled for points to help them qualify for the Samsung Galaxy ASP Women's World Championship Tour.
Ella Williams (Whangamata, NZL), reigning ASP Women's World Junior Champion advanced through her opening Port Taranaki Pro heat in second position behind Australia's Isabella Nichols. Williams felt the pressure competing in front of the hometown crowd but battled through the nerves to post some decent scores. She will now take on Sarah Mason (NZL), Nage Melamed (HAW) and Dimity Stoyle (AUS) in Round 5 when competition resumes.
"I probably didn't surf the best I've ever surfed but I'm happy to move forward," Williams said. "I think I overcooked some of those turns and pushed too hard and fell off, but that happens sometimes and you just have to focus on doing better in the next heat. It's really good to have a QS at home, NZ is so far from everywhere so to have an event at home saves a lot of money and offers us a big opportunity."
Sage Erickson (CA, USA), former Top 17 ASP WCT surfer is seeking to rejoin the elite Tour next year and after a solid first heat where she clocked an 8.75 she's on the right track. Erickson used rail carves and power snaps to impress the judges and easily advanced into the next round.
"I haven't competed in a month and a half so to put the jersey back on and get a big score on my first wave felt great," Erickson said. "I've competed at this event for the last two or three years, so it feels familiar. I think a lot of the QS girls are here for the first time so I'm glad that I feel comfortable here. It's such a beautiful place with the sun, waves and snow on the mountain. It's great to be back."
Ellie-Jean Coffey (Gold Coast, QLD/AUS) used precision backhand surfing to post an exciting heat win at Fitzroy Beach, Taranaki today. Fellow goofy-footer and Taranaki local Paige Hareb also advanced in second position, while Minami Takechi (JPN) and Laura Macaulay (AUS) were eliminated in 3rd and 4th place.
"It was really, really fun out there!" Coffey said. "It's refreshing to have a heat in beautiful, cold water. The girls in the heat before me were surfing the lefts, but I went and sat on the rights so I could get some waves to myself and I prefer surfing on my backhand anyway. I've known Paige (Hareb) for a long time and she's such a great surfer so I was feeling the pressure, so it's nice we both got through the heat."
Maud Le Car (France) is the highest ranked surfer on the ASP QS that's not currently on the WCT and after progressing through her Round 4 heat at the Port Taranaki Pro she's further improving her position. Le Car read the tricky low tide conditions better than the rest and amassed a big enough heat total to easily win the bout.
"The weather here is similar to home in France so I feel right at home in New Zealand," Le Car said. "I arrived here a week and a half ago and have been having a great time. It was hard to find a good wave in-between the closeouts in that heat, so I was really happy to score a 7-point-ride and take the win."
The ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event, the Chain Resources Pro Junior also ran through the start of Round 2 of the women's, while the men's was off for the day. New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival is presented by TSB Community Trust, Venture Taranaki, ZM, Marbles Buffet, Devon Hotel