ARUGAM BAY, Sri Lanka (Saturday, September 28, 2019) – The 2019 So Sri Lanka Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3000 at has seen a phenomenal day of surfing at Arugam Bay. The competition ran through the remaining heats of Round 3, plus all of Round 4 and 5 in building and improving surf, to set the stage for an epic finals day to be held tomorrow.
Growing up cutting his teeth at Snapper Rocks with his cousin Joel (Parkinson) and other world-class surfer mates, Mitch Parkinson’s (AUS) surfing suits the waves at Arugam Bay extremely well. The Gold Coaster’s performance on Day 4 of competition was the standout of the event so far. Mitch surfed through three rounds, posting excellent scores in every heat he surfed, including a 9.30 in one, and a perfect 10 in the next. Parkinson’s first 10.00 point ride gave him the highest heat total of the event so far, an impressive 18.40 (out of a possible 20) and sees him progress into the Quarterfinals where he’ll match up with fellow Aussie youngster Callum Robson (AUS).
“It’s just like a devil wind day out at Snapper today so I feel right at home,” Parkinson said. “That was actually my first 10.00 point ride in a WSL event so I’m so stoked. I’ve had plenty of 9.00’s but never a 10.00 so it definitely gives me a bit of confidence moving forward. I needed some solid scores to get through that heat in the last six minutes, I got two excellent scores so It shows you should never give up. I’m exhausted now but hopefully, I’ve still got another three heats to win tomorrow.”
Kiwi upstart Te KehuKehu Butler (NZL) guaranteed his best ever result in a QS event, booking himself a spot in the Quarterfinals with another solid performance at Arugam Bay. The teenage natural footer posted a solid heat total of 15.37 for a strong show of front side power surfing.
“The waves are pumping out there and it’s so much fun,” Butler said. “We don’t have many long right-hand point beaks like this back at home so I was just making the most out of it, getting lots of waves while no one is out. This is going to be my best result in a QS event so I’m over the moon. I just need to keep it going into Finals Day and see if I can go all the way.”
Brasilian QS warrior Victor Bernado (BRA) was in blistering form, carving tight turns, ditching his fins and throwing big aerials to move through the field with solid scores. The dynamic natural footer will be one to watch on Finals day as he looks to climb back up the rankings and into the QS10,000 events.
French due Leo Paul Etienne (FRA), Paul Cesar Distinguin (FRA) surfed their way into the Quarterfinals with great poise and precision in the long walls of A-Bay. Each will have their work cut out for them as Distinguin comes up against Indonesia’s Oney Anwar (IDN) and Etienne against the in-form Victor Bernado (BRA).
All eyes were on the water for Heat 16 of Round 3 as 1999 World Surfing Champion and sporting Icon Mark “Occy’ Occhilupo (AUS) paddled out at Arugam Bay for his first heat of the event. It was one of the first real looks surf fans got of Occy this week as the legend had been busy hanging with locals and enjoying what Arugam Bay has to offer. Once he did hit the water, Occhilupo was in competition mode, hunting waves up and down the point and ripping in with his trademark top to bottom backhand surfing. Occhilupo was unable to progress through the heat but was still able to show glimpses of his iconic and powerful backhand, much to the delight of both the fans and his fellow competitors.
“I had so much fun out there,” Occhilupo said. “To pull on a competition jersey for the first time in a long time felt good. We were all having a lot of fun out there talking and laughing which was cool. It’s been such a great week and really busy – I’ve done so much, from visiting a safari park to visiting local villages and surfing with the locals. I even had a surf class with some Muslim women the other day, which was amazing. It’s been an incredible experience all round. I’m stoked I came to Sri Lanka, the waves are so fun and the people are so warm and welcoming it’s a beautiful country. I’m disappointed I didn’t make it through my heat but the waves today were tough. It was smaller and a bit bumpy on the face but it’s all good because I had so much fun.”
Tune in tomorrow as we crown our event winner for 2019.
The So Sri Lanka Pro 2019 Men’s WSL QS3,000 will run from September 25-29. To watch all of the action live head to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the Free WSL App.
Click here for more information on the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.
The So Sri Lanka Pro 2019 is supported by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Jeep, SriLankan Airlines, Dialogue Telecommunications, LSR, Surfing Federation of Sri Lanka.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.