LAGUNDRI BAY, Nias, Indonesia (Friday, September 15, 2023) – Solid, wind-affected, four-to-six foot surf was pumping into Lagundri Bay today as competition continued at the 2023 Nias Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 event. The remaining ten heats of Men’s Round of 64 were completed, along with Women’s Round of 32.
Defending event winner Paige Hareb (NZL) opened her campaign with a statement-making 8.50 (out of a possible 10) on the back of a critical vertical backhand reentry, right in the pocket of a solid set wave. Backing it up with a 7.83, the Kiwi’s 16.33 (out of a possible 20) heat total was the highest of the day for the women. After injuring her knee during a heat at the ISA World Surfing Games in June, Hareb had been out of the water for three months, today’s heat marking her first return to competition.
“That was such a good welcome back,” Hareb said. “It’s similar to a wave back home, so I’m pretty comfortable in these conditions, but that was another level out there today. I haven’t surfed for the last three months because I injured my knee and I only got like four surfs in at home before I came here, so every surf out here has been a blessing and yeah, loving it. [For the 8.50] I was just trying to hang on in the first drop and trying to get that first turn in and I knew if you can get a second turn out there then you’re going to get a score so yeah, stoked with that start.”
A massive two-turn combo on her backhand delivered 14-year-old Charli Hately (AUS) an 8.33 for the opening wave of her heat against Sara Wakita (JPN), Willow Hardy (AUS) and Charli Hurst (AUS). Despite strong competition from the older surfers, the Burleigh Heads local held her own, guaranteeing progression into the Round of 16 and the best result of her young career.
“I was not really sure what was going to happen, the waves are pretty tricky,” Hately said. “It’s pretty deceiving, they look good, but some of them aren’t. I just tried to wait when all the other girls got a wave. I just waited for one that looked like it had some shape and just went for it. I’m not really worried about the result at the moment, just trying to do my best in every heat and max out on the waves.”
For the second day in a row Tully Wylie (AUS) set the standard for the men, topping his highest-of-the-event numbers from day one with an excellent 17.26 heat total that included the highest single wave score of the day, an 8.93. Wylie’s devastating backhand attack on the long, right walls of Lagundri Bay proved to be the highlight of a day dominated by goofty-footers.
The strong backhand surfing of fellow Australians Jarvis Earle, Ben Lorentson and Jordan Lawler also secured heat wins, as did that of former event winner Jordy Maree (RSA) and Indonesia’s Westen Hirst (INA). Despite being one of the youngest surfers in the draw, the 15-year-old from Lakey Peak, Sumbawa isn’t feeling the pressure of coming up against the big names.
“I know they’re thinking, ‘Oh, I’m not going to make it,’ and they get scared for sure but at the moment I’m still young and I’ve got nothing to lose, so yeah, I feel confident,” Hirst said. “Super-stoked, get to surf Nias with like four guys out, big and fun. I like to hit big lips and I love big waves. Hard conditions at the moment but hopefully it gets better and stoked to make it to the next round.”
Championship Tour (CT) surfer and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Rio Waida (INA) returned to Qualifying Series competition for the first time since the 2022 Krui Pro, where he made the Semifinals. As the top seed and Indonesia’s first CT surfer, Waida carries many expectations, but for this event he’s pacing himself.
“It was very tricky,” Waida said. “There’s waves, a lot bigger than yesterday, so there’s definitely opportunity. I was second heat of the morning. It’s always hard to surf in the mornings, but I got the job done, four and four, and I’m stoked to make it through. I thought I don’t need 8-point or 9-point waves. I thought I just have to get 8-point total and then try to get better, 10-point, 12, and the other guy got higher score but they couldn’t back it up, so I think I had the better game plan.”
All competitors have been asked to be on standby at 7:00 a.m. for a possible 7:30 a.m. start for Men’s Round of 32 and Women’s Round of 16.
The 2023 Nias Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 5000 and Pro Junior events will run from September 11 – 17 at Lagundri Bay, Nias, Indonesia. For more information or to watch the event LIVE, head to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the Free WSL App.
The 2023 Nias Pro is supported and funded by the South Nias Government.