Great Lakes Pro underway at South Boomerang Beach.

Former Championship Tour competitor Mitch Crews took out his opening round heat at the Vissia Great Lakes Pro at South Boomerang Beach on Wednesday. Photo Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW.
Former Championship Tour competitor Mitch Crews took out his opening round heat at the Vissia Great Lakes Pro at South Boomerang Beach on Wednesday. Photo Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW.

THE Vissla Great Lakes Pro was off to a flying start on Wednesday with the opening rounds of the men and women revelling in the punchy three-foot conditions at South Boomerang Beach near Forster. 

Excited by the potential for decent sections, Mitch Crews (Queensland) forgot to screw in his fins prior to the start of his round one heat. Despite the fact his fins could have fallen out of his board at any minute, the former Championship Tour (CT) competitor executed a barrage of mammoth turns to post two excellent wave scores in excess of eight points. This put his fellow competitors into a combination situation (needing two scores) leaving Crews out in front. Crews’ fins finally gave way in the dying moments of the heat, when he lost the middle fin on his final wave of the heat and it was revealed only one side fin was screwed in the whole time. 

“I did a lot of the QS 1000 rated events this year to have fun competing and to gain momentum for the 6000 rated events that are coming up shortly,” Crews said.

“I forgot to screw my fins in for that heat though, but thankfully they held until in place the final wave of the heat. It wasn’t until the final wave that I felt it fall out and my board, maybe I have a little luck on my side (laughs).” 

The 2017 Vissla Great Lakes Pro runner-up and top-seed Philippa Anderson (NSW) made her intentions clear when she attacked her round one heat. Anderson remained patient over the duration of the affair, locking in 6.50 wave score early and then opted to sit with priority for the next 15 minutes until she was able to muster up a modest 5.00 wave to gain the upper hand against her opposition. 

“I think I may have sat off the peak a little bit over the middle of that heat,” Anderson explained.

“I just tried to remain calm over the course of the heat as the clock counted down. If you let your nerves get to you in those situations, then it can all fall apart. I’m just stoked to be here, it’s a lovely day and the waves are fun.” 

Having spent the five weeks in Australia following the World Junior Championship, Alyssa Spencer (USA) used her knowledge of Australian beach-break conditions to her advantage to take a convincing win in her opening heat. Spencer nailed a chain of backside turns and snaps to post an impressive 13.85 two-wave heat total and cement her spot in the second round.

“It was really fun out there. It was tricky but if you found them, it was good, I did definitely get flogged on a few,” Spencer said.

“This is my first time to Boomerang and the place is beautiful. I’m loving it here, the beach-breaks are really fun, so hopefully, I can keep getting through a few more heats.”