PHILLIP Island’s World Championship Tour representative Nikki Van Dijk, currently sitting 10th on the world rankings, is using the last QS event of the year at Port Stephens this week as a bit of a safety buffer before the CT heads to Maui.
Van Dijk might end up relying on her QS ranking to remain on the CT in 2019 but she’s not on her own being in that situation.
Nikki found a good rhythm at Birubi to take a comfortable win and progress into round four.
“The waves were so fun out there and I kind of wish I had another heat today,” Van Dijk said.
“I’m here to win this contest and set myself up to re-qualify. I’m currently re-qualifying through both the CT and QS but with so many good surfers on both tours, I want to put my fate in my own hands and guarantee myself a spot on tour next year.”
Sage Erickson is another CT competitor who is unexpectedly on the verge of being relegated to the QS if she doesn’t find a result either here or at Maui. Having won the QS twice before, Erickson doesn’t seem too fazed about this prospect.
The Californian took a step in the right direction today, winning her opening heat at Birubi convincingly, despite a strong sea breeze putting significant texture on the wave faces.
“It definitely wasn’t the most optimal conditions for that heat,” Erickson said.
“At this stage of the year, you have surfed every kind of conditions so you should be expecting to get anything and surf your best. I’m not thinking too much about the qualification situation at the moment. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy this year trying to manifest results and performances and it hasn’t really worked out. I’m just thankful that I still have an opportunity and that I get to live this life. Whatever happens, happens, and if I come back onto the QS next year that’s fine. I’ve won the QS twice before so I’m cool with doing it again.”
Other competitors in the hunt for qualification who progressed through to round four included local hopeful Philippa Anderson who snuck through her heat along with India Robinson. Brisa Hennesy also progressed in second behind a fired-up Kirra Pinkerton while Aussie hopeful Holly Wawn won her opening heat ahead of Chelsea Tuach.
Dimity Stoyle, Isabella Nichols, Freya Prum, and Leilani McGonagle all progressed into round four as well.
The 2018 Port Stephens Toyota Pro runs from November 8–13.