THE Phillip Island pair of 2018 Ripcurl Pro Trials winner Carl Wright (Cape Woolamai) and young WQS surfer Sophie Fletcher (Cape Woolamai) have claimed the 2019 Victorian Open Men’s and Open Women’s state titles respectively with a strong showing in Round 3 of the Victorian Open Series today at Woolamai beach.
In absolutely ‘pumping’ 3-4 feet surf, Wright and Fletcher gained a prestigious spot in the Ripcurl Pro trials. Wright’s second place in today’s event and Fletcher’s third place was enough to get them into the trials, inching them closer to a Ripcurl Pro birth and a spot in history. It’s a feat that Wright achieved last year and one that Fletcher is keen to achieve after some strong showings of late on the WQS.
With Round 1 winner Cody Robinson (Torquay) getting knocked out of the draw in the quarter finals in Sunday’s event, it left Wright with a great opportunity to capitalise.
All that stood in his way was Todd Rosewall, our Round 1 winner.
Wright’s two second places in the first two events of the series set him up for a red-hot crack at clinching the title however Rosewall put up a good fight making the semi-final but was not able to beat Wright and Billy Harrison (Barwon Heads) in that heat.
This meant Wright’s best results would trump Rosewall’s and the Phillip Island native would capture another Open Men’s title.
Wright has had a whopping five 2nd places over the past two years, arguably solidifying himself as the most consistent competitive surfer in Victoria over this period of time.
“I’m very happy to win the state title down here and get that vital spot in the Ripcurl Pro trials in April”. Wright said.
“I’d love another opportunity to surf in the Ripcurl Pro and to win the trials would be epic”. I think I would treat it a lot differently if I do get another chance by just not being nervous, it was such a new experience last time with the crowds and the lockers, but I think I’ll be better for the long run”.
Runner-up to the state title was Todd Rosewall (Torquay) who surfed very well all weekend and was a consistent top performer throughout the whole series.
Sophie takes it home
After winning Round 2 and getting a third place in Round 1, Sophie Fletcher (Cape Woolamai) was able to get a strong result at Woolamai to clinch the state title with another third place elevating her rating points into first place.
Fletcher takes home another state title after some great results of late on the World Qualifying Series including her first WQS win quite recently. Fletcher’s prowess and heat experience was on show as she surfed maturely allowing her to get the ideal result. A chance at gaining a spot in the Ripcurl Pro.
“I am so happy win at home, especially when the waves were as good as they were today and with all the people that came down to the beach”. Fletcher said.
“I just wanted to stay calm today in my heats, get two good scores and hopefully get the win, which I am stoked to do”.
Coming runner-up in the state title was Bella Wilson (Jan Juc) who was able to claim two second places in Round 2 and Round 3.
In today’s Round 3 event we saw an extremely high level of surfing prowess and skill where most heats had many high scores being thrown for some very committed surfing. With the waves so good, judges were looking for some big manoeuvres in the pocket and some clean finishing on the inside which all surfers did remarkably.
In the early rounds it was Harry Mann (Torquay), Carl Wright (Cape Woolamai), and Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc) who came out with the biggest scores all putting up heat totals above 17.00 points (out of a possible 20 points) and all advancing into the final.
Billy Harrison (Barwon Heads) was also able to put together some amazing heats to set up a final that consisted of himself, Carl Wright (Cape Woolamai), Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc) and after dropping a perfect 10-point ride earlier in the day, Harry Mann (Torquay) also advanced through to the final.
It was Xavier Huxtable who was able to absolutely dismantle the Open Men’s field in the final holding them all in a combination with an 18.00 total out of a possible 20 points. Huxtable’s two highest scores in his totals didn’t drop below an 8.00 ride from his first heat the way to the final which is an amazing feat. Huxtable’s scores came from some highly critical surfing as well as Huxtable’s duress in the air being on display, something that no one in the heat could match.
Coming in second was state champion Carl Wright (Cape Woolamai), third went to Billy Harrison (Barwon Heads) and Harry Mann (Torquay) came in fourth.
The Open Women’s division was hotly contested all day with not just the finalists being undecided for most of the day but the state title up in the air till late in the final. Round 1 champion Lucy Naylor (Point Lonsdale), Round 2 winner and state champion Sophie Fletcher (Cape Woolamai), Ellie Harrison (Barwon Heads) and Bella Wilson (Jan Juc) competed in a gruelling final that saw many big scores thrown in the afternoon sea-breeze conditions. Harrison was able to get two strong scores quickly being an 8.00 and a 7.17 to push a tricky situation for the other ladies in the final.
The total was too hard to catch as Harrison took out Round 3 of the series and ends her Open Women’s campaign on a good note.
The Air Asia Wave of the Day went to young gun Xavier Huxtable (Jan Juc) for an amazing aerial way above the lip in his first heat of the day.
Heat draws and results can be found at liveheats.com/surfingvictoria.
The Victorian Open Series is supported by Coastalwatch, Rocktape, City to Surf Mobile Café and Air Asia.
State Titles Results – Open Men’s winner Carl Wright, runner-up Todd Rosewall. Open Women’s winner Sophie Fletcher, runner-up Bella Wilson.
Round 3 Results: Open Men’s: 1st Xavier Huxtable, 2nd Carl Wright, 3rd Billy Harrison, 4th Harry Mann.
Open Womens: 1st Ellie Harrison, 2nd Bella Wilson, 3rd Sophie Fletcher
4th Lucy Naylor.