Top seeds have dominated the opening day of the Australian Open Of Surfing Sunshine Coast Pro today, which was held at Coolum Beach in tricky 3-4ft waves. Finals for both the open men and open women’s divisions will be run tomorrow, with the surf forecast showing a growing easterly swell pushing through the Sunshine Coast, along with moderate winds.
Surfing contest veteran Piper Harrison (Coolangatta, QLD) eased through her round one heat, battling the tough conditions today to defeat 2019 QLD State Champion Siena Hanna (Twin Waters, QLD) and Anna Toohey (Dicky Beach, QLD) respectively. Harrison scored a 7.33 (out of a possible 10.00) and a 5.17 for a combined heat total of 12.50 (out of a possible 20.00) to progress through to finals day tomorrow.
“That was a fun heat, it feels awesome to get back in the water – it’s been a while,” said Harrison. “It’s good to get back in the groove of surfing in competitions. I like the Australian Open of Surfing series, I was hoping the borders would be open but I guess we’ll have to wait and see for the next one. The series is great because it’s given me something to put all my training towards.”
Other top female surfers progressing to finals day include Sophie McCulloch (Alexandra Headland, QLD), Siena Hanna (Twin Waters, QLD), current QLD State Junior champion Ellia Smith (Coolum Beach, QLD) and Vittoria Farmer (Noosa, QLD).
The Gold Coast’s Liam O’Brien (Burleigh Heads, QLD) has eased through his round one heat, defeating Jay Occhilupo (Elanora, QLD) and Luke Pennisi (Parrearra, QLD) respectively. O’Brien scored a 5.27 and a 6.33 for a combined total heat score of 11.60 to take the win and progress through to finals day.
“It was a challenging heat for sure,” said O’Brien. “It feels really good to dust the cobwebs off and get back into the zone. It would be awesome to get a win here, it’s good to win at any event really – but this one is stacked with some great surfers so it would make the win that much better. I don’t mind what the waves are doing tomorrow, it should be fun regardless.”
Other top male surfers progressing through to round 2 include Jay Occhilupo (Elanora, QLD), Josh Boyle (Currumbin, QLD), Thomas Carvalho (Coolangatta, QLD), Cooper Davies (Noosa, QLD), Ty Richardson (Palm Beach, QLD), Alister Reginato (Alexandra Headland, QLD) and Sheldon Simkus (Gold Coast, QLD).
Economy Portfolio Councillor Terry Landsberg said he was excited to welcome elite surfing back to the Sunshine Coast in 2020.
“Events like this are incredibly important for the Sunshine Coast,” said Landsberg. “It’s also a wonderful opportunity to get these professional athletes back in the water after such a long break between competitions. We’re looking forward to seeing the event back on the Sunshine Coast in the future.”
For a detailed list of individual heat scores, click HERE.
Spectators/competitors are encouraged to call the Surfing Queensland event hotline on (07) 3030 6388 from 6:30 am tomorrow morning for a confirmed location/start time.
2020 Australian Open of Surfing Series Schedule:
Sunshine Coast, QLD – 19th – 20th September 2020
Gold Coast, QLD – 31st October – 1st November 2020
Cronulla, NSW – 8th-9th November 2020
Kiama, NSW – 22nd – 23rd November 2020
Coffs Harbour, NSW – 29th – 30th November 2020
Northern Beaches, NSW – 13th – 14th December 2020
All events will adhere to all COVID-19 policies and regulations outlined by the Queensland Government and council protocols.
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The 2020 Australian Open of Surfing series is proudly supported by The Sunshine Coast Council and Visit Sunshine Coast, official destination partners of the event, The Gold Coast City Council, Coastalwatch Plus, Surfing World Magazine, H2Coco, The Queensland Government and Surfing Queensland.