Stephanie Gilmore : photo Surfing Australia
Maitland Toyota Open
ASP 4 Star WQS Mens Event
ASP 5 Star WQS Womens Event
Merewether Newcastle, NSW
12 - 18 March 2007
BIG NAMES RACK UP BIG SCORES ON DAY FOUR AT MAITLAND TOYOTA SURFEST
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 14 March, 2007 : - - AUSTRALASIAN Pro Junior Series ratings leader Mitchell Coleborn (Wurtulla, QLD) notched up a heat score one point short of perfection at today’s fifth round of the $US75,000 Maitland Toyota Open at Merewether in Newcastle.
Surfing in the round of 128, the 20-year-old scored an 8 while surfing the 4-6ft waves blessing Merewether Point, but moved north to where a left was providing occasional offerings with big workable walls, where he demolished the smooth faces with a series of blistering backhand maneuvers.
The affable Queenslander’s fortunes in the water are much better than those he has experienced on land lately. Three weeks ago his car and contents - including seven surfboards a laptop computer - were stolen from the Duranbah car park on the Gold Coast while he was surfing.
But as he says, on the bright side he has won two of the last three Pro Juniors he has contested and made the semi-finals here at Newcastle in the junior event immediately preceding the Maitland Toyota Open.“It was my biggest score in a QS for sure. I was watching the bank with that left this morning with Luke Cheadle and Michael Spencer and thinking that it was sending through some good ones,” the goofy foot said.
“I knew I had a good score, but was blown away at a 10,” he said Tweed Heads surfer Stephanie Gilmore racked up the day’s second biggest heat score (18.6) in the first heat of the Midori Pro, which commenced at 1pm. The World Championship Tour surfer, ranked fourth in the world after the elite tour’s opening event at Snapper Rocks, more than doubled her closest opponents score.
Australasian Pro Junior Series girls’ ratings leader Sally Fitzgibbons was eliminated in the heat Gilmore dominated. Other girls to progress include the Central Coast’s Amee Donohoe. Comeback kid Travis Lynch (Merewether, NSW) was the first Australian to advance in heat one this morning alongside South African David Richards.
“I’ve been here before but it gets a lot harder from here on in,” Lynch said, referring to his round of 32 appearance in this contest two years ago. “The big guns know what they’re doing so you can’t make a mistake or you’re out.” The Merewether local, who has a part time job at a surf shop and is soon to start the night-shift at a bakery, has been doing commentary at this event.
“I think it’s actually been helping because I am sitting there watching more heats than I normally would. But it’s tiring doing both,’ Lynch said. “If I do really well here, unless I pick up another sponsor, I won’t have the money to compete the rest of the tour. “I might have a year off, reassess and maybe come back again next year. It’s a bit exciting now not surfing as much as I am exploring new things.
“If I got a sponsor now though I might be able to compete.” Dusty Payne (HAW) was another to record a good score of the morning with 16.17 and advanced to the tomorrow’s opening round of 96. Nathan ‘Noodles’ Webster continues to do well at Merewether. “I rode a brand new board today because I thought the old one was a little small for the conditions, so that was a bit of a challenge, but I felt good out there,” Webster said.
“I mean I still surf a lot and I like to keep myself at that level of fitness,” Webster said. Webster says he is enjoying this competition because he isn’t experiencing any pressure. “I don’t miss the pro tour. You know after doing anything for 10 years you just need a change and I’m more up for the challenges of the real world now.”
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“I’m really lucky because I still take a lot of surfing trips and get to surf with some of the best in the world but without all the stress that goes along with actually competing. It’s a good life,” the North Narrabeen veteran said. Webster plans to compete in the Hot Tuna Central Coast Pro at Soldiers Beach immediately following this event. Despite recording the highest wave score of his heat, Clay Marzo (HAW), bowed out in heat seven.
Boat Harbour’s Nick Coghlan was also bundled out of the competition. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Teppeo Tajima (JPN) eliminated the runner up of last week’s Newcastle Pro Junior, Heath Joske (Nambucca Heads, NSW)). Surfing in his 14th heat of the past fortnight, Joske found conditions challenging.
“I thought surfing earlier this week might have helped me read the conditions better but I had a shocker today,” he said. “I got some good waves but I just couldn’t do anything with them. “I haven’t noticed a huge difference in the level of competition in the early rounds, just a lot more internationals. “I try to keep my game plan in the junior and QS comps the same; sit back and wait for the good waves. But it didn’t work out today,” Joske said.
Other Australians to advance to the next round include Matt Hoar, Matt Bemrose, Josh Dowthwaite, Matt Jones, Joe Haddon, Jack Perry, Darren Turner, Jayke Sharpe, Mark Mathews, Jock Barnes, Michael Spencer, Ryan Campbell, Adam Melling and Tom Innis.
International surfers to advance to the round of 96 include David Richards (ZAF), Leandro Bastros (BAR), Tarik Khasshoggi (USA), Jay Quinn (NZL), Hugo Savalli (REU), Marc Lacomare (FRA), Wiggoly Dantas (BRA), Kyle Garson (USA), Dean Randazzo (USA), Vincent Duvignac (FRA), Naoto Takanashi (JPN) and Tim Boal (FRA).
Tomorrow’s round of 96 gets underway at 7.30am. The women will be back in the water just before 1pm and the round of 24 will be completed at around 3pm. Conditions look good for tomorrow.
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