The Phillip Island Pro presented by Bass Coast Shire has signaled the return of Pro Surfing in Victoria after a 2 year hiatus.
Over 80 surfers from across Australia and New Zealand gathered at Cape Woolamai for day one of the QS1000 rated event on the World Surf League Australian Regional Qualifying Series. The last time a WSL rated event was held in Victoria was in November 2019.
After a few slow practice days for competitors, the swell arrived with rippable 2-3ft waves at the open-ocean beach break.
Top seed in the Women’s division, Sophie McCulloch (Sunshine Coast, QLD) was the stand out on day one, locking in the days highest single wave score of 9.25 (out of a possible 10).
“It feels good to get the first heat of the year out of the way” said McCulloch. “I have some family down here so it was good to see them before the event and get a heat win in the opening round.”
“It was actually pretty fun out there, it felt a little bit like home which made me feel comfortable.”
“My goal for this year is to qualify for the Challenger Series and then qualify for the Championship Tour. I didn’t have the best run in the Challengers last year but learnt from the experience and I’m ready to enjoy this coming year!”
Local surfer Sage Goldsbury (Phillip Island, VIC) progressed through to the Round of 16 on her home beach in front of friends and family.
Goldsbury locked in a heat total of 10.05 points (out of a possible 20) to place second in her Round of 32 heat.
“It’s exciting to be back surfing heats. It feels like it has been so long since my last QS” said Goldsbury.
“To get the chance to surf my first event back at home is incredible. Being able to sleep in my own bed and have the support of friends and family is great.”
Other standouts throughout day one of competition included Saffi Vette (New Zealand), Sophie Fletcher (Phillip Island, VIC), Alysse Cooper (Manly, NSW), Frazer Martin (Gold Coast, QLD), and Zane Assink (Sunshine Coast, QLD).
Competition is set to resume tomorrow morning with a call to be made at 7 am for a 7.30 am start at Cape Woolamai.
Live scores and heat draws can be found on www.worldsurfleague.com
The Phillip Island Pro is presented by Bass Coast Shire Council and supported by the Victorian Government, Ramada Resort Phillip Island, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Cancer Council Sunscreen and VicHealth.