Burleigh Heads wildcard, Isla Huppatz (Bilinga) and Lennix Smith (Woolongong)have claimed maiden wins at the 2023 Gold Coast Openpresented by CocobellaWorld Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1000 event in one-to-two foot surf at Burleigh Heads. The pair overcame a huge field of Australia and Ocenaia’s best up-and-coming surfers, on their way to claim the top spot.
It was another glorious summer day on the Gold Coast with small but rippable waves on offer for the final day of the event. The conditions were favourable in the morning with little to no wind, creating a dream scenario to conclude the three-day event.
It was a fairytale finish for 15-year-old Burleigh Heads wildcard, Isla Huppatz (Bilinga), who claimed her maiden WSL QS win. Huppatz, saving the best for last, took an early lead and went from strength to strength. Huppatz proved too strong for Starling, posting the highest combined two-wave score (17.67) of the event.
“I’m so happy to win my first QS today and grateful for the support of Burleigh Boardriders, especially for the wildcard into this event,” said Huppatz. “The waves were pretty tricky but I just went out there to have fun and with no expectations on myself. My parents joked if I win I’d have to shout them dinner so I think I’ll do that tonight.”
Despite a slight afternoon sea breeze, Smith sliced and diced his way through the conditions with ease, dropping a 7.47 (from a possible 10), before finishing on a two-wave combined total of 14.47 (from a possible 20). It was an electric final between the men with Smith finding his lead in the final minutes. Dakota Walters was in great touch all event, but couldn’t find a back-up score when it mattered and was left chasing a 7.4 for the win.
“I’m over the moon to win at Burleigh today,” said Smith. “The waves were super challenging but I was fortunate enough to find my rhythm. I’ve been trying to win an event for ages so to do so infront of my girlfriend and family feels amazing.”
Surfing Queensland CEO, Adam Yates, said the three-day event has been a major success thanks to large crowds brought by spectacular weather, all excited to see the surfing action and enjoy the free activations.
“We’ve been able to expand on the footprint of this year’s event due to moving the surfing component to Third Avenue, Burleigh Heads to capture the south-east swell,” said Yates. “It’s been a great weekend for the Gold Coast region with so much to offer both spectators and competitors. From tourists to locals, everyone’s been enjoying the Cocobella Chill-Out Zone, live music, pop-up beach bar by Travla and of course, world-class surfing.”
Head of Cocobella Marketing, Phoebe Miller, said it’s been an incredible partnership and great seeing the Gold Coast community embrace the dairy free product.
“As far as an event goes, we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend,” said Miller. “The beautiful weather has brought huge numbers down to Burleigh Heads and we’ve been able to capture the huge foot traffic it’s brought with it. We’re excited with the opportunity to get our product out and connect with the Gold Coast community. The feedback we’ve received about our yoghurt has been extremely positive! We’re thrilled about the alignment with Surfing Queensland and proud to present the 2023 Gold Coast Open.”
In conjunction with the 2023 Gold Coast Open pres. by Cocobella, the Burleigh Hill provided two jam-packed nights of entertainment. The free events included live music, food trucks, and a pop-up beach bar by Travla.
The 2023 Gold Coast Open presented by Cocobella is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
The 2023 Gold Coast Open Presented by Cocobella is proudly supported by Tourism and Events Queensland, Major Events Gold Coast, Cocobella, Blackroll, Travla, Southern Cross University, SeaFM, QMS Media, Dritimes, We Are Feel Good Inc., and Jettech.