Gisborne’s Korbin Hutchings has started his 2023 QS campaign with a superb Round of 96 heat at the 2023 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro held at Kingscliff yesterday. The event also sees the return of Ricardo Christie to WSL competition.
The QS 5,000-rated event is off and running with the opening two rounds of men’s competition. Competitors battled blustery conditions with strong onshore winds accompanying the two-to-four-foot surf, with cleaner conditions expected for the remainder of the event window.
The standout performer in the tough conditions was Kiwi competitor Korbin Hutchings. Korbin found two double-up runners amongst the chop and lay down a series of super quick rail turns and snaps to earn the highest combination of the day. He claimed the win with a two-wave total of 13.23 (out of a possible 20) and moves into the Round of 64.
“It was definitely hard work out there,” Korbin said. “I was heading out there just trying to think positive thoughts and focus on having fun. Once I got that first seven-point ride, I felt pretty comfortable and knew I wouldn’t need too much of a backup. It looks like this is the worst day of the window, so the next few days should be really fun, which I’m looking forward to.”
Korbin met Taranaki surfer Daniel Farr in his Round of 96 heat with Daniel finishing second and also progressing.
Ricardo is seeded directly into the Round of 64 alongside the remaining Kiwis in the men’s draw. Ricardo will surf in Heat 8, Korbin is in Heat 3, Daniel is in Heat 4, Billy Stairmand Heat 5 and Kehu Butler in Heat 11.
Elliot Paerata-Reid won his opening round match up, but, in a shock upset, he was eliminated in the Round of 96. He had been one of the favourites going into the heat.
The Women’s Round of 64 has not yet started. New Zealand has two athletes representing with Paige Hareb in Heat 1 and Gisborne’s Saffi Vette in Heat 6. Paige currently leads the Australia/Oceania QS rankings with Saffi in 22nd. The Top 4 plus a wildcard in the Women’s will join the Challenger Series (CS). In the Men’s the Top 7 plus a wildcard will join the CS. Billy is currently ranked 7th (with points from only two of five events).
The 2023 Oakberry Tweed Coast Pro will run from February 10-16.