Molly Picklum and Matt Banting have taken top honours at the 2021 Sisstrevolution and Vissla Central Coast Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 rated events at Avoca Beach with finals day delivering the biggest surf of the week with six to eight foot surf bombing the outer banks.
A strong local crowd enjoyed the women’s final with two Central Coast locals clashing and in a close and high scoring final that saw multiple lead changes, it was Picklum who secured the win with two strong rides of a 7.53 and 7.43 and a final total of 14.96 defeating Macy Callaghan on 14.74.
This was a victory full of merit for 18-year-old Picklum having defeated perennial World Title contender Sally Fitzgibbons in the semi-finals along with Championship Tour surfer Callaghan in the final.
“I feel great right now, it’s been so exciting surfing against Championship Tour surfers like Macy and Sally and to win in front of my home crowd is just the best,” said Picklum.
Macy Callaghan’s runner-up result was also a good warm up for her upcoming Championship Tour events as she sets her goals this season on a top ten global ranking.
“I’m hurting a little right now by not winning but I’m also satisfied making the final,” said Callaghan. “This was a great warm up leading into the CT event at Newcastle and it’s also great for two Central Coast surfers to make the final. Molly’s very talented and has a great future.”
Sally Fitzgibbons and Freya Prumm both finished the event in equal third going down in their semis to Picklum and Callaghan respectively.
The Vissla Central Coast Pro final saw West Australia’s Jacob Willcox open in the first minute with a strong 7.4 ride which set him up to control most of the final, but the determination of the defending event champion Matt Banting shone through when the Port Macquarie former Championship Tour surfer found a wave in the final two minutes which required a high score and he delivered with a 7.9 to take the win.
“That was an amazing final and I knew I had to fight hard to get ahead of Willcox after he opened so well,” said Banting. ”The final wave lined up nicely for me and I just had to push hard because I knew I needed a close to excellent score. It’s a fantastic feeling to win here again.”
WA’s Jacob Willcox felt right at home in the waves at this event and today’s runner-up result sets his season up very well.
“I would have loved to have won obviously but that’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s been a great event and the waves have been fantastic so I’m happy,” said Willcox.
Equal third placings went to Reef Heazlewood who went down to Banting in a very close semi final while Byron Bay emerging talent Kyuss King went down to Willcox in an equally close semi.
WSL professional surfing will now look forward to the WSL Championship Tour kicking off at nearby Merewether Beach in Newcastle on April 1st.
The live broadcast of the Vissla Central Coast Pro and Sisstrevolution Central Coast Pro began on Thursday, 4 March 2021 and was streamed live on Surfing NSW website and Facebook.
The elite six-day World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 rated event formed the final of four stops on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series and took place in Avoca from Tuesday, 2 March 2021 to Sunday, 7 March 2021.
The four-event series saw three QS1000 rated events (Maroubra, Great Lakes and Port Stephens) and one men’s and women’s QS3000 (Central Coast).
In 2020, the WSL revealed a new format for 2021, which included creating distinct seasons between the QS (the regionalised development tier), the Challenger Series (the global battleground for Championship Tour qualification) and the Championship Tour (the world’s best surfers competing for the World Title).
The new tour structure will provide a more streamlined and affordable career pathway for WSL athletes by allowing up-and-coming surfers to develop closer to home without financially overleveraging themselves. Athletes will compete on their regional QS tour in hopes of qualifying for the Challenger Series (CS), and ultimately the Championship Tour, which will reduce the economic pressure on surfers and their sponsors, as well as provide increased opportunities to celebrate local stars.
The QS will run from January through to July 2021 and determine who has qualified for the CS, which will run from August through to December 2021. Each region will have an allocation of surfers that can qualify for the CS through their regional tour. Athletes will be able to roll over points from 2020 QS events into the current season. Australia/Oceania will receive an allocation of ten men’s and eight women’s spots onto the Challenger Series based on the regional QS rankings.
2021 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series Event Schedule
Event 1: Great Lakes Pro, Boomerang Beach, Tuesday 16 – Friday 19 February 2021.
Event 2: Port Stephens Pro, Birubi Beach, Sunday 21 – Tuesday 23 February 2021.
Event 3: Mad Mex Maroubra Pro, Maroubra Beach, Friday 26 – Sunday 28 February 2021.
Event 4: Vissla Central Coast Pro, Avoca Beach, Tuesday 2 – Sunday 7 March 2021.
The 2021 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series will be proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series will also be proudly supported by Vissla, Randwick City Council, Central Coast Council, Mid Coast Council, Port Stephens Council, Mad Mex, Sisstrevolution, Middle Rock Holiday Park, Moby’s Beachside Retreat, Avoca Beach Hotel, WSL and Surfing NSW.