THE World Surf League was back in the water at Cabarita Headland south of Tweed Heads this week and Phillip Island’s Nikki Van Dijk was right in the thick of it, posting some fine scoring waves in a semi-final against the eventual competition winner Tyler Wright.
It was all part of the Tweed Coast Pro, event one of the Australian Grand Slam of Surfing, and Nikki did herself proud in a talented field.
After surfing strongly in Quarter Final Heat 4 when Nikki posted a solid combo of 12.00 to defeat fellow Aussie Molly Picklum 8.94 she progressed to the semis where either Tyler Wright or ‘The Goat’ seven-time WSL World Champion Stephanie Gilmore were waiting.
Nikki drew Tyler Wright, the inform surfer in the field and Wright came out smoking with a 7.33 and an 8.67 double to have Nikki up against it.
But true to her fighting ability, Nikki tracked a good-sized wave for her third-scoring ride and with a fine roundhouse cutback to start, together with a good combination of turns in the middle stages of the ride, got back on the scoreboard with a decent 5.17 score that could easily have been higher.
“There’s Phillip Island’s finest in action,” enthused the commentator describing how Nikki extracted heaps of speed from the wave before reeling off some nice turns.
“That’s pretty good surfing by both girls in difficult, lumpy conditions.”
And so, it continued, Wright in awesome form but with Nikki coming up to take some nice waves on her own, including a slashing 7.20 ride to take the fight right to Tyler with five minutes to go.
It was nervous moments for the 2019 world champ.
Nikki found a late wave but it didn’t quite shape up for her. A late set didn’t amount to much either and Tyler went through – a great finish involving some fine surfing action and some strategic positioning by both girls.
It was great to see pro surfing back in the water.
Sally Fitzgibbon joined the commentary team and was full of praise for what Nikki has been able to achieve, stuck up in NSW on her own, away from her equipment and support team.
“Nikki’s story is very interesting, she came up here for someone’s wedding and hasn’t been able to get home since. She’s been borrowing boards from Tyler and a few of the girls, and everyone’s been helping her out.
“She can’t go home she’s stuck up here.
“But she’s not showing any signs of that and has sailed right on through into the semi-finals,” said Sally.
But ultimately it was Tyler Wright’s day and she went on to a comfortable win in the semi and also in the final later against Stephanie Gilmour.
Tweed Coast Pro Women’s results: Final: 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.67 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.27. Semi-final results: HEAT 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.10 DEF Macy Callaghan (AUS) 10.37. HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.00 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 12.37. Quarter-final results: HEAT 1: Macy Callaghan (AUS) 13.27 DEF. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 5.50. HEAT 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.17 DEF. Zahli Kelly (AUS) 11.16. HEAT 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.60 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.60. HEAT 4: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 12.00 DEF. Molly Picklum (AUS) 8.94.
Check out the action: