Whangamata surfer Ella Williams has claimed her maiden World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) victory of the year, taking out the Women’s division at the 2019 Mothernest Great Lakes Pro in heavy four-to-six foot surf at Tuncurry, NSW, yesterday.
Williams ability to consistently post decent scores on longer running lefts proved to be an advantage as she moved past Cannelle Bulard, of France, in the Semifinals and Zahli Kelly, of Cabarita, NSW, in the final. The Kiwi goofy-foot performed a mix of powerful forehand snaps in the final against Kelly, posting a decent 13.50 two-wave heat total to claim her third career QS victory. Ella previously won the Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro in 2016 and the Boardmasters Roxy Pro in 2017.
“It feels totally uplifting and amazing. This feeling is what I work so hard for and makes all that hard work worth it. It’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together.”
“This is a fantastic feeling and so exciting,” said Williams. “The waves were pumping out there and I couldn’t be happier to get this win. The lefts came into my favour as I could use my forehand predominately. Where I’m from in Whangamata is a lefthand sandbar, so I was quite comfortable out there.”
As she came in from the final Williams was grinning from ear-to-ear.
“It feels totally uplifting and amazing,” she told New Zealand Surf Journal afterward. “This feeling is what I work so hard for and makes all that hard work worth it. It’s a beautiful thing when it all comes together.”
Her win is certainly a great way to start her 2019 World Qualifying Series campaign.
“Really, it just gives me a whole lot more to smile for,” she offers. “I can enjoy the rest of the season knowing that I already have a win for the year.”
Despite moments of brilliance in the final, Kelly was unable to find the necessary seven-point ride required to top Williams.
“That feels like a good start to the year and definitely got the momentum going heading into the next events,” said Kelly. “I wanted to go out there and get the bigger waves that had corners on them so they didn’t close out, I just don’t think I got the opportunity to get the waves I wanted and when I did, I wasn’t holding priority.”
Two more Kiwis swarmed the semi-finals in the Men’s event today with Te Kehukehu Butler and Billy Stairmand both narrowly missing a finals berth. Both finished in third and boosted up the International QS rankings as a result to sit at 73rd and 85th respectively. This is a solid start to the 2019 QS season for New Zealand.
The Mothernest Great Lakes Pro is a five-day QS 1000 rated event and forms the second of three stops on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series.
2019 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series Event Schedule
Event 1: Carve Pro QS1,000, Maroubra – January 23 – 26
Event 2: Mothernest Great Lakes Pro QS1000, Boomerang Beach – February 20 -24
Event 3: Vissla Central Coast Pro QS3000, Avoca Beach – February 27 – March 4