Day 4 saw a few of the big names enter the water with the first half of Round 2 played out at Manly Beach for the Hurley Australian Open Of Surfing.
Notably Mick Fanning the number 1 seed for this contest had a close shave, coming second in heat 1 of round 2. Mick surfed exceptionally but so did the other surfers in his heat.
Winning the heat Tahitian teen Mateia Hiquily put on a fine display of progressive surfing made all the more impressive by the fact that he broke his shoulder only two weeks ago.
Third placed surfer Krystian Kymerson of Brazil was only narrowly beaten by the three time world champ in what what was a nail biting heat, with only 0.53 points between first and third.
“You never know how you’re going to go for your first heat of the year and there are so many exciting kids in the event,” said Fanning.
“It’s always good to see the talent coming through and this event is a great way to begin my 2015 campaign.”
The day’s highest heat score belonged to Californian Luke Davis (USA). While many surfers struggled to find rhythm in the shifting 1-to-1.5m waves, Davis’s approach appeared nothing less than clinical, marking him as one to watch amongst the big names at Manly. Davis locked in massive scores- including the highest individual wave of the event so far, a near-perfect 9.5, along with an excellent 8.8.
His opponents, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Kaishu Tanaka (JPN) and Lucca Mesinas (PER) were left scrapping for second place taken by Hiroto Ohhara (JPN).
Mason Ho also won his heat following on from his second place finish at last week’s QS event at Pipeline, Mason looked on form and seemed comfortable in the small waves on offer.
“Manly is one of my favourite places — there’s so many cool people and always something going on,” said Mason.
“My Dad has always taught me the importance of being able to enjoy all kinds of waves, so going from big waves in Hawaii to small waves here isn’t hard for me.”
Nathan Hedge of the the Gold Coast also took first putting on a solid backhand attack.
Tomorrow promises to be another action packed day with the rest of round 2 of the men’s event and the completion of the pro junior men’s and women’s.
Head to www.australianopenofsurfing.com for the live webcast.