Top Seed Domination on Day 3 of Competition at The Burton Automotive Pro QS 5,000

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Competition has continued today at the Burton Automotive & Speaking in Colour Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000 with the men’s Round of 64 bringing with it the men’s top seeds. With only a couple of Challenger Series hopefuls falling on Day 3 of competition, the door is well and truly open for movement on the rankings as the top seeds marked their territory in clean two-to-four foot surf at Merewether Beach.

Top Seed Domination on Day 3 of Competition at The Burton Automotive Pro QS 5,000 -
Billy Stairmand was looking sharp on Day 3. – WSL / DARREN ANDERSON

Japan’s Roi Kanizawa (JPN) made his intentions clear on Day 3 of the competition as he posted the event’s second-highest heat total. Kanizawa earned a 14.34 two-wave combination for his fast, critical snaps and fins-free approach. Kanazawa is sitting in 11th on the Asia regional rankings. Still, with several competitors sitting above him already dropping out of the draw, Kanazawa has a chance to rocket up the rankings and into contention for Challenger Series qualification.

“You have to be in the right place for the right waves today, and I fill like I ended up in the right place for both of my waves,” Kanazawa said. “A lot still needs to go my way in terms of the rankings but I just indeed to do what I can and if the rest works out that will be a bonus.”

Top Seed Domination on Day 3 of Competition at The Burton Automotive Pro QS 5,000 -

Central Coaster Joel Vaughan (AUS) was a standout performer at Merewether on Day 3, posting one of the highest two-wave totals of the event so far, a 14.16 (out of a possible 20), for his well-rounded approach. Vaughan requires a massive result here in Newcastle if he is to find his way back onto the Challenger Series.

“That was definitely a confidence-building heat win,” Vaughan said. “I’ve had a few good results in the last few weeks, and I want to keep the role going and keep building confidence with another result here. I’m going to need a good result if I’m to move up the rankings. I know what I need to do to get back on the Challenger, but I’m just focusing on the small wins at this stage. I feel like I’m surfing at home here, so hopefully, that comfort can keep me going winning heats.”

Reigning event winner and local favourite Jackson Baker (AUS) is one competitor not too concerned with the regional rankings but with warming up for the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. The Championship Tour competitor is in his second season at the elite level and is looking for a significant result if he is to survive the mid-season cut. Baker built masses of confidence with a win at his home event in 2022 and hopes to do the same with some heat practice here in 2023.

“I’m not going to lie – I was a lot more nervous than I thought I would be once I paddled out,” Baker said. “That is kind of why I’m doing this, though – to get used to the pressure and enjoy it – revel in it. On the CT, you don’t get to surf that many heats, so this is all about getting time in the jersey, so to be here on home turf and surfing with this sort of pressure is great practice.”

Top Seed Domination on Day 3 of Competition at The Burton Automotive Pro QS 5,000 -

Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) posted the highest two-wave total of the event so far, with a 14.44 in the second to last heat of the day. Ohara looked to be the man to beat as he continued his run of form in 2023.

The 2023 Burton Automotive and Speaking in Colour Pro WSL QS 5,000 event will run from March 20 – 26, 2023.