MEREWETHER BEACH, Newcastle, Australia (Friday March 18 2011) - Surfers excelled in the small but building wind-swept waves at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star Men’s World Tour Burton Toyota Pro at Merewether Beach in Newcastle with high 8 and 9 point rides common place as the event introduced the high seeded surfers.
Veteran Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) surfer Tom Whitaker schooled emerging newcomer and current ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone in the opening round of the round of thirty-two.
Whitaker’s experience saw him select superior waves and he caught the two required waves posting a strong 7.17 opener and backed it up late in the heat with a 5.87 to eliminate Freestone who caught plenty of waves but found few decent sections to show his potential.
Coff’s Harbour pair Heath Joske and Jayke Sharpe were the days standouts.
Joske posted two excellent high 8 point rides in his demolition job on Mitch Colborne while Sharpe was equally impressive scoring the highest single wave of the event so far with an outstanding 9.5 ride to smash Sydney’s Nick Riley.
“These waves are good” said a confident Sharp after his win.
“The swells starting to build, the sand bank is great and I can’t wait to surf the next rounds in solid waves – the weekend will be exciting with swell and crowds to surf in front of.”
International surfers were also prominent today.
South Africa’s Chad Du Toit proved too good for Davey Cathels while fellow Sth African Travis Logie showed Casey Brown from Hawaii the exit door from this event.
Current event champion Glenn Hall from nearby Central Coast showed he’s here to defend his title by easily eliminating Nick Coghlan.
“As the event champ I want to do well again here and win – you feel the event is still yours and you want to hold onto the title so there’s added motivation for me here – these are sort of my local waters, I feel right at home surfing here and I’m ready for a big weekend” said Hall.
The event draw card is clearly current ASP world number 2 ranked surfer Taj Burrow and while many were anticipating he would surf today, organizers opted to pull the pin on the event early afternoon to let this new swell fill in.
Taj will be action in tomorrow when he is expected to surf around midday and will face Indonesia’s best in Dede Suryana and with a good swell expected to maintain throughout the weekend the action should be spectacular.
Legendary Pacific Coast Pro in association with Commonwealth Bank Women’s Pro are down to their final 12 surfers and the girls had the day off today so will be absolutely primed for their finals tomorrow – The final expected run early afternoon tomorrow in front of massive crowds!
The event is live webcast via www.aspaustralasia.com/live/2011/surfest and all results and heat draws across both men’s and women’s can be found on this site.