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Port Taranaki Pro powers through three rounds

Sophia Bernard, Steve Robertson, Fitzroy Beach, Taranaki, New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival, ASP WQS, ASP Pro Junior
Sophia Bernard © Steve Robertson




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

Check the Live Action

Women down three rounds of competition in New Zealand

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 30 April, 2014 - Taranaki, New Zealand - The New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival resumed on Day 2 with the ASP 6-Star Qualifying Series Port Taranaki Pro and with precious ranking's points and prize-money on offer the action in the water was electric.

Surfers from 10 countries seeking Samsung Galaxy ASP Women's World Championship Tour (WCT) qualification took to the clean and pristine three foot (1 meter) surf as the event ran through three rounds of competition. The ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) event, the Chain Resources Pro Junior also ran through the remaining four heats of Round 2 of the men's and Round 1 of the women's.

Sarah Mason (Gisborne, NZL), former ASP WCT surfer is looking to rejoin the Top 17 next year and is on track after a solid performance at Taranaki today. Mason advanced through to the next Round in 2nd position behind Isabella Nichols (AUS) in a very tight heat that had all four surfers going for broke and posting good scores.

"Taranaki is where I caught my first wave so I love this place," Mason said. "I'm really glad that this event is now a QS, it offers so much opportunity to the local surfers and I'm just hoping to make the most of it so I can set myself up for the rest of the events this year. The level of surfing is really high and I'm just hoping I can keep getting through the draw. I've got my family here and it's great to feel the support."

Isabella Nichols took command of her opening two heats at the Port Taranaki Pro today, clocking the highest two-wave heat total of the day - 16.10 out of a possible 10. Nichols patrolled the lineup and selected the biggest and best waves of the heat and proceeded to unload a series of beautiful turns and carves.

"These are some of the best waves I've ever surfed in competition," Nichols said. "This is my first time in New Zealand, it's really cold here but I'm having a great time. It's great to start the event with some big scores and now I move into the next round full of confidence. I can't wait to get back out there."

Jacqueline Silva (BRA), 2002 ASP World No. 2 taught a trio of teenagers a lesson in her opening heat at the Port Taranaki Pro. Silva used her polished and professional approach to take the win with Tia Blanco (USA) also advancing in 2nd and Lucy Callister (AUS) and Brianna Cope (HAW) eliminated in 3rd and 4th.

"I'm really glad to be here in New Zealand," Silva said. "The water is a little cold but the waves have been really fun and the locals here put on a great event. The girls in this event all surf really good so you just need to make sure you catch the good waves and don't make any mistakes." 

Sophia Bernard (Manly, NSW/AUS), winner of the Vahine Pro Junior in Tahiti two weeks ago, won through two Rounds of the Port Taranaki Pro. Bernard went top to bottom with big hooks and carves to amass solid scores and seal one of 48 spots left in the draw.

"The surf was pumping this morning, but it's deteriorated a little for that second heat," Bernard said. "There's still some fun lefts you just have to be a little more selective. I'm still on a high after the win in Tahiti, I'm using the same board and feeling really confident. It's much colder than Tahiti here, but it's really beautiful and I'm having a great trip."

NZ's Top 17 ASP WCT surfer and Taranaki local Paige Hareb and reigning ASP Women's World Junior Champion Ella Williams from Whangamata will most likely hit the water tomorrow alongside Bethany Hamilton (HAW), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS) and a huge selection of the world's best female surfers.

New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival is presented by TSB Community Trust, Venture Taranaki, ZM, Marbles Buffet, Devon Hotel

Will Hayden-Smith

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