Courtesy of WSL – World Surf League
Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast/QLD (Saturday, January 28, 2017)
After falling off the elite Championship Tour at the end of his rookie year, New Zealand’s Ricardo Christie has been fighting to reclaim his spot ever since. Christie is using the Flight Centre Burleigh Pro as a warm-up for some of the bigger QS events later in the year. He kicked off his 2017 campaign perfectly by squeezing himself into Round 5 on Finals day.
“It’s great to be surfing an event at Burleigh,” Christie said. “On the QS we get dealt conditions similar to this all the time I just look at it as good practice. My aim is to get back on tour so my season starts here at Burleigh. It seems to be going well so far and I’m feeling good.
Another former CT surfer who snuck into Round 5 was Maroubra local Blake Thornton. The Powerful natural-footer showed his experience in the testing conditions only catching a few waves to post his heat totals.
“I’m not sure if the experience helps for wave choice or more for just staying relaxed in tough heats like that,” Thornton said. “A lot of the younger boys try and catch heaps of waves where I’m happy to chill and wait for the sets. That’s what I did in both of todays heats and it worked so I’ll just keep doing that I suppose.”
One of the shock upsets of the entire event came in Round four heat 4 when Championship Tour veteran Bede Durbidge was eliminated by young up and comers Kalani Ball and Timothee Bisso. Durbidge, who has just comeback from a year of recovering from a horrific accident surfing in Hawaii looked to be in good form but couldn’t quite match it with the light-footed surfing of Bisso and Ball.
“It is such a shame the waves are so small,” Durbidge said. “The sand at Burleigh is perfect at the moment so with a bit of swell it would have been amazing but it wasn’t the case. I’m really stoked to be back competing and especially kicking it off at home. I have seen Tim and Kalani over the years in Hawaii and know how good they are so I knew it would be tough, they rip. It is great to be surfing heats again, my body is feeling great and I’m really excited for the season ahead.”
Ball just came from a second place finish at the Carve Pro in Maroubra last weekend continued his searing form, posting an excellent heat total of 16.50 (out of a possible 20). Although slightly daunting, beating a CT star like Bede was massive achievement for Ball.
“It’s really exciting to come up against guys like Bede,” Ball said. “Competing against one of the world’s best is a great challenge. I’m really happy to have won that heat as Bede was surfing really well and Tim had a 9.00 so I’m stoked. My boards and body are feeling really good at the moment so I’m really happy.”
The 2017 Flight Centre Burleigh Pro is proudly supported by Flight Centre, Tourism and Events Queensland, Telstra, City of Gold Coast, 90.9 Sea FM, Health Insurance Fund, Australian Skin Cancer Clinics, World Surfaris, Coastalwatch PLUS, Pages, Queensland Government, World Surf League and Surfing Queensland.
|About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels.
Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com