Image: Billy Stairmand (NZ) Pic: Paul Danovaro
(Dixon Park beach, Surfest Newcastle Australia, 10 March 2019)
KIWI Billy Stairmand and Israel’s Anat Lelior have won the Burton Automotive Pro International Trials at Dixon Park as part of Surfest 2019.
Stairmand, from New Zealand’s Raglan Bay, has been chipping away on the QS for around a decade and today showed he still has plenty in the tank reserved for competitive surfing.
He defeated 18 other competitors from countries including Peru, Hawaii, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, the USA, France, Japan, South Africa, French Polynesia and Uruguay in small clean waves at Dixon Park beach just north of Merewether beach.
The 29-year-old natural-footer dropped off the QS a couple of years ago after losing sponsors, but says he now has the hunger back and has missed the high pressure environment of the QS that brought out the best in his surfing.
He said years on the QS has helped him determine tactics in the small waves on offer today.
“It was small but clean and the sandbank was very attractive to get waves that were running for quite a bit,” he said.
Stairmand said he felt really good in the final when he edged past Aussie Kalani Ball to win a place in the round of 144 in the World Surf League’s QS 6000 Burton Automotive Pro commencing tomorrow at Merewether beach.
Anat Lelior, the 2018 WSL Europe Pro Junior runner-up, today won the women’s trials and secured her place in the round of 84 in the World Surf League’s 6000 QS Holmes Civil Developments Womens Pro also commencing tomorrow at Merewether beach.
The 18-year-old goofy-footer from Tel Aviv, who is making her first trip to Australia, defeated 15 other surfers from countries including France, Japan, Indonesia, Brazil, Canada, USA, South Africa, Canary Islands, Colombia, the Netherlands and Australia.
Lelior, whose previous best result in a QS was a 2nd at the 2018 Cabreiroa Las America Pro in Tenerife, has been on the Gold Coast training with surf coach Andy King. She said she was excited with today’s result and being catapulted into a QS 6000.
“I managed to catch a couple of waves, but it was pretty tough in the final. It was way more consistent in the earlier heats,” she said.
“Feels great to be in a QS 6000. It’s quite a challenge when you will see CT competitors in here and they are amazing surfers,” she said.
“I haven’t come with much expectation but will just take it heat-by-heat. It’s just amazing to be in Australia,” she said.
The Burton Automotive Pro and the Holmes Civil Developments Women’s Pro commence at Merewether beach tomorrow morning at 7.30am.
Watch the events live on www.surfest.com