Garrett Parkes (Byron Bay, NSW/AUS) advanced through his heat at the Burton Toyota Pro at Surfest, Newcastle this morning. Pic ASP/Will H-S
MEREWETHER, Newcastle, NSW/Australia (Friday, February 22, 2013) - Stormy seas tested all surfers competing in the ASP 6-Star rated Burton Toyota Pro with rapidly increasing two-to-three meter (6 to 8 foot) surf.
Conditions became so wind blown that organisers were forced to put the event on-hold after eight heats were completed.
Julian Wilson (AUS) surfed a great heat in the morning, posting 16.08 to win through to the Round of 24 but was relieved when the event was postponed just before his next heat was to surf.
“It was manageable in the morning but now it’s extremely stormy and unsurfable so I’m relieved that we’re off” said Wilson.
“The swells big and hopefully tomorrow it clean’s up a little because it could be epic.”
Experienced ASP World Championship Tour surfer Damien Hobgood (USA) won the final heat of the day and summed up the conditions well.
“I think the call to stop the event for the day was correct even though I won the heat and I actually really enjoy surfing in conditions like this,” said Hobgood.
“It’s you against the ocean out there, you don’t see your fellow competitors and you’re focused on how to win against the ocean and get the best waves available – It’s tough and I was more worried about not being able to get out the back at all!”
Bino Lopes (BRA) also advanced in the final heat today.
“The currents and rips were very hard” said Lopes.
“I was lucky to make it out the back and find some waves – it’s too stormy.
Organizers were deep in discussion about tomorrow’s surf trying to plan how to surf in such extreme conditions.
Finals of the Hunter Ports Women’s Classic and the remaining five heats of the round of 24 Burton Toyota Pro are scheduled to run tomorrow. Finals of the Men’s are scheduled for Sunday.