Event Organiser Sally Fitzgibbons with Coco Ho. Photo WSL/Bennet
Day 1 of the inaugural Sydney International Women’s Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 has been completed in fun 2-to-3 foot clean peaks at Cronulla. It was a big day of action seeing all 12 heats of Round 1 completed. The event is the brainchild of current world No. 8 Sally Fitzgibbons who will be competing from Round 3.
Ren Hashimoto. Photo WSL/Smith
The action was on from the opening heat of the day with Japanese ripper Ren Hashimoto putting on an epic display of forehand and backhand surfing to progress through her heat into Round 2.
“I have spent quite a bit of time here so feel pretty confident,” Hashimoto said. “I just had to wait for the good ones which allowed me to surf the way I wanted to. I’m so excited to make it to the seeded round and really hope I can surf against a CT surfer — that would be amazing.”
Sarah Baum. Photo WSL/Smith
After trailing for the majority of her heat, South African Sarah Baum snagged a long left-hander going completely vertical on two turns to nail mid range score and take the lead with only moments left.
“Those little lefts were so fun,” Baum said. “I haven’t surfed an event in ages so I’m glad to get that first heat out of the way and shake off some of the nerves. This is my first time back to Cronulla in ages, so I’m stoked to be back.”
Rubie Reents. Photo WSL/Smith
Rubie Reents was another was left needing a solid score to progress. Staying patient eventually paid off when Reents was gifted a set wave which offered her a couple of sections to tear apart. Reents got the nod from the judges dropping an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) to win the heat and progress. “I was just going with the flow,” Reents said.
“I didn’t want to over think it and worry too much about the score which seemed to work. I’m glad to make it and have the opportunity to surf again because the waves are really fun.”
Felicity Palmateer. Photo WSL/Smith
Western Australian charger Felicity Palmateer took command of her Round 1 heat from the get go dropping a 7.83 on her opening ride with two massive forehand gouges. She backed it up with another left for a heat total of 13.13 (out of a possible 20). “I had a final out here as a junior and have surfed in a few events here and love being back,” Palmateer said.
“This event is amazing, I’m so inspired by all the work Sally (Fitzgibbons) and her team have put in. She is really giving back to surfing which is good to see, I’m happy to be apart of it.”
Peony Knight. Photo WSL/Smith