Winter Vincent claims biggest win of his career

Published on 13/06/2024

Winter Vincent has claimed victory at the 2024 Nias Pro WSL Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 event in pumping four-to-six foot surf at Lagundri Bay on the Island of Nias Indonesia. It was a historical event with competitors dining out on some of the best waves seen for a QS competition.

In the men’s Final, Manly Beach youngster Winter Vincent (AUS) came up against former Championship Tour (CT) competitor and professional surfing veteran Josh Kerr (AUS), who had been on a charge towards the Finals since the opening round almost a week ago. In slowing conditions, Kerr opted to get busy early, banking back-to-back waves for a series of powerful and stylish carves on the face to take an early lead. Eventually, a bomb set came. Kerr took off on the first wave, pulling into a tube and getting spat out for an 8.50 (out of a possible 10), but fortunately for Vincent, the bigger wave was behind, and he pulled in, stood tall and came flying out for a 9.63. The pair scrambled back to the top of the reef, and with 20 seconds left, another set arrived. Kerr once again took off on the first wave, which only allowed him turns, whilst Vincent got the tube he needed on the second wave to claim victory with a heat total of 18.46 (out of a possible 20).

“This is a day I’ll never forget,” Vincent said. “Having all my friends back here, the pumping waves and a Final against Kerrsy (Josh Kerr), it just couldn’t get any better. Josh Kerr is one of my idols and such a scary competitor to come up against when the waves are good. I was just talking to him out there, having the time of my life.  This is the best surf the world has seen for a QS event so I’m pretty stoked to be a part of it. It might be the best comp I ever do. I got the best wave of my life yesterday and so many barrels this week. It’s a huge relief to come to Indo and get a couple of good results at both Krui and Nias, as it takes the pressure off for the rest of the Challenger Series season.

Ella McCaffray (USA) came to Nias this year as a two-time runner-up, once in the Pro Junior and once in the QS. Her experience and comfort at this wave showed all week especially in the Final when she took on Australian youngster Oceanna Rogers (AUS). McCaffray surfed the conditions perfectly, posting a 7.33 for turns on her first ride, then eventually getting one of her best tubes of the week for an 8.83. McCaffray’s two-wave total of 16.16 had Rogers in a combination situation (needing two scores), which she eventually broke with two massive backside snaps, which earned her an 8.17 but was unable to back it up, leaving McCaffray to claim the biggest win of her career.

“I’m so stoked to win an event at my favourite wave in the world,” McCaffray said. “I think this has to be one of the best events ever. The waves were absolutely firing, going off every day, barrels after barrels after barrels, so many 10s, some of the best surf ever for a surf event, so I’m just so stoked to be here and be a part of it. It’s great to come here and compete in the region; it is stacked with so many good surfers. I’m from the U.S., so the points don’t count for me, but it’s all about the experience. Everyone here rips, so I’m stoked to take the win and to have had a barrel like that in the Final.”

Although she wasn’t able to get the win, today’s result is by far the biggest of Oceanna Rogers’s (AUS) career and puts her on a great path for Challenger Series qualification in 2025 if she’s able to continue this form for the remainder of the season.

Josh Kerr (AUS) came to these events to support his daughter Sierra Kerr (AUS) as she looks to gain experience on the QS and in the hollow perfect waves Indonesia has to offer. Kerr entered the event purely so he could surf the waves empty but almost ended up winning. Sierra put on some of the most impressive performances of the event and was knocked out by eventual runner-up Rogers in the Semifinal, which ended the potential fairytale of a father and daughter sharing the Final podium at a QS 5000 event.

“I wanted to get barrelled and ride my twinny, so my expectations were absolutely exceeded for sure,” Kerr said. “I got to do those two things, and then making the final is obviously a bonus. It’s been many, many years since I can remember having so many barrels day after day in a contest. It was so fun to surf waves like this again with a rashie on, to have that little bit of a competitive mindset again, and to be surfing here with my daughter Sierra. It’s been a great event, and as far as competitive surfing goes, it was awesome.”

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