March 24 - 30, 2019: Issue 398


2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro Goes off!

Jordy Lawler of North Narrabeen WINS!!!

Jordy Lawler wins! photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Jordy Lawler Wins 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro. at Manly Beach - being presented with trophy by James Griffin, MP for Manly with NBC Mayor Michale Regan in attendance - photo by Ethan Smith/ Surfing NSW

Narrabeen's Jordan Lawler (AUS) booking himself a spot in the Quarterfinals at the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro. this week. Photo by Matt Dunbar/Surfing NSW - WSL


Sunday, March 24, 2019 

Jordy Lawler (AUS- NARRABEEN!) and Alessa Quizon (HAW) have claimed victory at the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro and Sydney Women’s Pro presented by Sisstrevolution World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6000 event. Manly Beach provided another day of super clean two-to-three foot surf for some of the world’s best to put on a show for thousands of fans that lined the sand at one of competitive surfing’s most iconic beaches.

WSL events at Manly have seen an array of the sports biggest names claim victory but only once in recent history has a Northern Beaches local taken the win (Laura Enever 2015). This year, the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro saw the winner’s trophy return home as North Narrabeen local Jordy Lawler claimed the biggest win of his young career in front of huge crowds at Manly. After a few years of poor results and niggling injuries, Lawler could be on the brink of career-best form as he rockets to fourth on the QS rankings.

“I’ve worked my whole life to be standing here on this stage right here so to be doing it now feels surreal,” Lawler said. “Winning an event of this size and gaining 6000 QS points is so good but to win down here at Manly with everyone from North Narrabeen here is incredible. Surfing an event so close to home is so sick but winning one is amazing. I don’t even know what to say to be honest. I feel like I’m dreaming. This has done a heap for my confidence and all I want to do now is to qualify for the CT and now I really believe I can.”

After falling off the elite Championship Tour in 2016, Alessa Quizon has taken a step back from competition and has focussed less on re-qualifying for the CT. The young Hawaiian has been hand picking events and taking it heat-by-heat, trying as much as possible to surf without pressure on herself. This new, more relaxed approach seems to be working as Quizon took out the first major QS event win of her career. Alessa will now have to reassess her plans for competition as she sits in fourth place on the WSL QS rankings.

“I can’t really believe this is happening,” Quizon said. “I was mainly coming to Australia to support my husband (Caio Ibelli - pro surfer) and maybe surf a few events and just see how I would go. Newcastle wasn’t the best result and then I came here and kept making heats and then I ended up in the final. I wasn’t really planning on chasing the QS this year and going for re-qualification but I might have to rethink that. It was cool to share it with Bella and I’m so excited to see her doing well. This is all so surreal I just need to let it all sink in.”

Alessa Quizon- photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Former WSL World Junior Champion Isabella Nichols has been building momentum all season, starting the year with an equal third on the Central Coast, then backing it up in Newcastle with a second and now another final appearance in Manly at the Sydney Women’s Pro presented by Sisstrevolution. Although Nichols fell just short of the win for the second time in a week, The Sunshine Coast local is over the moon that she has had the best start to the QS season of her career and is now leading the QS rankings at the end of the Aussie leg.

“Obviously I wanted to come here and win the event but to make another final at a QS6,000 is so good - I’m so stoked,” Nichols said. “I’ve never started my season well so to be leading the QS is so amazing and I feel like it’s all coming together for me. I’m really happy for Alessa, she is a great friend of mine and an incredible surfer so I’m stoked to see her do well. Although I want to shift my focus on to the next events and make sure I keep my roll going, I just want to soak this up as it’s a really amazing feeling right now.”

Similar to Isabella Nichols, Jadson Andre found himself in his second final in a week having finished runner-up in Newcastle as well as today at Manly. Andre, like Nichols was hoping to go one better this week, but after a QS6,000 win last month in Brazil and now two finals appearances in Australia, Andre is way out in front on the QS rankings. With this in mind, he can head to the first CT event at Snapper Rocks next week feeling comfortable that he has already secured a spot on tour in 2020.

“It’s so crazy to think my major season has not started yet but this is my third final,” Andre said. “I can’t help but be a bit disappointed that I didn’t finish first at these last two events but to be in such a strong position on the rankings will be awesome for my confidence as The CT season starts again. There was so many Brazilians on the beach supporting me which was so awesome. It’s been such a great week in Manly and now it’s time to shift my focus to Snapper which starts next week.”

The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 rated events featured some of the world’s best surfers as they looked to kick their 2019 competitive campaigns into gear prior to the start of the 2019 Championship Tour (CT).

The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is a collaboration between World Surf League and Surfing NSW to run Sydney’s largest surfing event at the iconic Manly Beach. 

For more information and 2019 highlights, check out The live broadcast was available on

The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is proudly supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. The event is also proudly supported by Vissla, Sisstrevolution, Northern Beaches Council, Hotel Steyne, WSL, KeySun Zinke and Surfing NSW.

Jordan Lawler and North Narrabeen Boardriders congrats at  the 2019 Vissla Manly Surf Pro at Manly Beach, NSW, Australia. Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Left to right: Jadson Andre BRA, Isabella Nichols AUS, Alessa Quizon HAW, Jordy Lawler AUS Finalists at the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro QS6,000-  photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL 

2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro

Massive crowds have been lining the shores of Manly Beach this week to watch 11-time WSL World Champion Kelly Slater hit the water and compete at the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6000 event.

The greatest surfer of all time didn’t disappoint on Wednesday, taking out his opening heat against QS warriors Vincente Romero, Ramzi Boukhiam and Victor Bernardo. 47-year-old Slater made light work of the small conditions on offer at Manly, speeding through turns and slicing sections to overcome his opponents.


Kelly Slater at Manly this week - photos by Matt Dunbar/Surfing NSW/WSL

“I haven’t surfed a QS event in so long especially in small waves like this so I was really aware that anything could have happened today,” Slater said. “There is not a lot of separation between surfers when the waves are like this. It really comes down to who gets the best waves, but I also knew that the three guys I was up against are really talented and super competitive. Arriving at the beach today was pretty crazy with all of the people -- I could really feel the energy being focused on me, especially because I haven’t surfed here in so long.”

Slater, who once resided at Avalon Beach for half the year during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s was over the moon to return to such a familiar place to get his 2019 competitive season underway. The last time he competed in Sydney was in 2004 when he won the Australian Open at Maroubra.

“The last time I was here I won in Maroubra and then went to Newcastle and won there so let’s hope I can get that kind of a roll on again,” Slater continued. “It is really cool to be back in Sydney though, I love flying in over the Harbour and just the feeling of being in a big city that still has beautiful beaches and great surf. It’s a really unique and special place.”

After winning the heat, Slater progressed into Round 3 where he would surf in Heat 5 against three of the QS’s inform surfers including Alex Ribeiro, who is fresh off a win in Newcastle last week, CT competitor Jesse Mendes and Frenchman Charly Quivront.

Also on Wednesday, four-time World Champion Australian surfer Mark Richards was announced as the second recipient of the Surfing  NSW Midget Farrelly Lifetime Achievement Award.

The award, which honours surfing legend Bernard ‘Midget’ Farrelly, was presented to Richards by 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater.  

Kelly presents Mark with the award, Beverlie Farrelly to Kelly's left - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Richards is only the second recipient of the prestigious award, following Layne Beachley who was bestowed with the inaugural honour in 2018.

The criteria for the award is “a New South Wales surfer of origin who, through performance in the water and wider contribution to the sport, has become an integral part of Australian surfing ad culture”. 

The award recognises Richards’ extraordinary achievements as a competitor, as a board shaper and for the immense contribution he has made to surfing throughout his career.

“I’m very honoured to receive this award. I have tremendous respect for Midget Farrelly and his contribution to surfing,” said Mark Richards.  

“Surfing has been a major part of my life since I was a teenager, both as a competitor and a shaper.  I am grateful to be a part of the Australian surfing community,” said Richards. 

“On behalf of the Farrelly family, I want to congratulate Mark Richards as the more than worthy 2019 recipient of the Midget Farrelly Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Harry Hodge, Chairman of the Awards Committee, Deputy Chairman Surfing NSW and founder of Quiksilver Europe. 

“Mark and Kelly are the two most successful surfers of all time, with 15 world titles between them, so to have them together in the same room is a rarity. I was on the north shore of Hawaii in 1976 when Mark was the standout surfer and he then went on to dominate competitive surfing in the late 70s and 80s.”

The Midget Farrelly Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by Surfing NSW as part of the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro event staged in Manly, where it has special significance for the strong surfing community on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. 

As a Northern Beaches local, Farrelly is considered to be one of the most influential surfers of all time, winning the inaugural world surfing titles in 1964 at Manly Beach in front of a massive crowd and defeating the more favoured Americans, Mike Doyle and Joey  Cabell.  Farrelly was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 1985 and into the Surfing Walk of Fame at Huntington Beach USA in 2007.  He passed away on 6 August 2016, aged 71. 

After he presented Mark Richards with the esteemed award, Kelly Slater went into the water at Manly’s North Steyne to compete in his first heat of the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro.

On Thursday the 11-time WSL World Champion struggled to find a rhythm in the low-tide small conditions and was eliminated from competition but was thrilled to be back surfing in Sydney.

“I couldn’t really find a decent wave out there,” Slater said. “There were some good ones out there because Jesse (Mendes) and Alex (Ribiero) got a few but I just struggled to be in the spot. It has been great to be back here and I’m looking forward to surfing down here at Manly over the weekend but a shame it won’t be in the competition. It’s been a little bit overwhelming having such massive crowds on the beach but definitely cool to have that support. I just wish I could thank everyone personally but there are too many people to get around to.”

Although Slater has been eliminated from competition, he was at the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro on Saturday, surfing in an expression session with 2-time World Champion Tom Carrol along with surfboard shaping demonstrations and other interactive activations.  

Using his lethal backhand attack, Jacob Willcox (WA, AUS) proceeded to destroy the tiny righthanders on offer in his round two heat. Willcox nailed an array of mammoth snaps and carves in the heat to post a giant 8.50 score that allowed him to gain the upper hand over current Championship Tour surfer Soli Bailey (Byron Bay, NSW) who also progressed in the runner-up spot.

Young Californian goofy-footer Cole Houshmand (USA) took one of the biggest scalps of his up-and-coming career taking a huge victory over 2019 Championship Tour debutant Seth Moniz (HAW). Houshmand played the patient game over the course of the heat, just posting small scores until he was able to drop a respectable 7.00 wave score that rocketed him straight into the lead and cemented his spot into round three.

“The conditions definitely started to slow down before my heat and I got a little worried,” said Houshmand. “I just wanted to start out busy as you didn’t know what would deliver a score. That being said I was pretty stoked to be out there on the lower tide as I know it would be really slow when the tide was higher.”

Having won a QS6000 in Manly back in 2012 in similar conditions, Matt Banting (Port Macquarie, NSW) knew what it would take to post impressive scores when he tackled his round two heat. Banting - who is currently sitting in third position on the QS rankings - used his lightfooted approach to positive effect in the heat, throwing down a series of giant air-reverses and tail wafts to walk away from the heat with a respectable 11.50 two-wave heat total.

“Yeah, it’s pretty similar to what we surfed in 2012,” said Banting. “I’m just excited to be down here at this event, there’s always such an amazing vibe down here and it was awesome to see it packed for Kelly’s heat. It felt a bit like that finals day in 2012 and the whole vibe and culture down here really pumped me up.”

On Friday (March 22nd) a large contingent of Aussie surfers progressed into Round 5 including Matt Banting, Liam O’Brien, Jordan Lawler, Stuart Kennedy, Nicholas Squires, Jacob Willcox along with Bronte Macaulay, Keely Andrew and Isabella Nichols.

Other standout performances came from a widely international field that included Ian Gentil (HAW), Thiago Camarao (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Alyssa Spencer (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Gabriela Bryan (HAW).

On Saturday the stage was been set for what is sure to be an epic Final Day of the 2019 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro and Sydney Women’s Pro presented by Sisstrevolution, World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6000 events. Manly continued to deliver the goods with more super clean 2-to-3 foot waves on offer for some of the world’s best surfers. Competitors made good use of conditions, posting some of the biggest scores of the event so far.

Round 5 of the Sydney Women’s Pro presented by Sisstrevolution saw some of the strongest and most consistent performances on the entire event with excellent rides being posted in almost every heat. Former CT competitor Keely Andrew (AUS) was the standout of the round with her two-wave combination of 16.76. Keely was looking sharp on her forehand as she looks to regain her spot at the elite level on the Championship Tour.

“It’s definitely good to win that heat and feel like I’m building some momentum,” Keely Andrew said. “I want to get back on the CT and it’s not going to happen without putting on performances like that. My surfing is feeling good and so is my equipment, so I’m excited to surf more heats tomorrow on Final’s day.”

Northern Beaches native Jordan Lawler (AUS) is a surfer whose talent hasn’t translated into results in QS6,000 events with the exciting young goofy-footer struggling to progress through the early rounds. Today, in front of massive crowds and plenty of local support, Lawler put on an epic performance to book himself a spot in the Quarterfinals at the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro.

“This is such an amazing feeling,” Lawler said. “I’ve never made it through heats at a big QS event like this so I’m so over the moon. To do it so close to home and with so many friends and family cheering me on from the beach has been incredible. I want to try and stay relaxed and keep focused and see how far I can go on Final’s Day, but I do want to soak it up as I’ve guaranteed my best ever result.”

Japanese competitor Hiroto Ohara (JPN) put on a polished performance for the huge weekend crowds, boosting and carving his way to a 17.27 heat total to dominate Ian Gouveia in their Round 5 match-up. Ohara is sitting in a solid position on the QS having finished just before the Quarterfinals in Newcastle and Brazil, with Manly set to be the best result of his 2019 so far.

“I knew I could relax a little after that 8.77,” Ohara said. “I backed it up with a good score and then worked on building towards another excellent wave. I’m stoked to be into the Quarterfinals and having a go at winning this event. I love the big crowd here and all of the fans -- I had people coming up and saying Hi to me on the beach which I didn’t expect so that was pretty cool.”

Former CT surfer Matt Banting (AUS) continued his solid run in 2019, taking another heat win at Manly. Banting will join fellow Aussies Nicholas Squires (AUS) and Stuart Kennedy (AUS) in the Quarterfinals along with CT surfer Jesse Mendes (BRA), Alonso Correa (PER) and Jadson Andre (BRA).

Former World Junior Champion Mahina Maeda (JPN) had 2018 CT Rookie of the Year Caroline Marks (USA) on the ropes from her first wave as she posted an 8.83 for a series of huge frontside gauges. Marks fought hard to get back, but the damage was done as Maeda looks to make 2019 her year to qualify.

“I was feeling really confident after I started my heat like that,” Maeda said. “Caroline is one of the best in the world and I knew I was going to need to start big -- so it all went to plan I which is always good. I’ve struggled to string a few results together so I’m really excited with this position I’ve found myself in. I want to qualify this year and this result will go along way to helping me so I just want to keep this roll going.”

Other winner’s in Round 5 of the Sydney Women’s Pro presented by Sisstrevolution included Sara Wakita (JPN), Malia Manuel (HAW), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Alessa Quizon (HAW) and Isabella Nichols (AUS).

A Vissla Expression Session served as an interlude to Round 5 action with 11-times WSL World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), two-time World Champion Tom Carroll (AUS), NRL Immortal Andrew Johns, surfers Toby Mossop, Cam Richards, Koda Killorn and surfboard shaper Donny Brink. All competitors spent 30 minutes in a fun and lighthearted session in front of thousands of people that lined the shore at Manly.

T.C. gets amongst it - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

Andrew Johns heading out - photo by Ethan Smith/Surfing NSW

The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 6,000 rated events will feature some of the world’s best surfers as they look to kick their 2019 competitive campaigns into gear prior to the start of the 2019 Championship Tour (CT).

Event directors will return to Manly Beach tomorrow and make a call for the competition which will likely start at 8:00 AM AEDT with the event winner's being crowned by days end. 

The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is a collaboration between World Surf League and Surfing NSW to run Sydney’s largest surfing event at the iconic Manly Beach.

For more information and 2018 highlights, check out The live broadcast is available on

The Vissla Sydney Surf Pro is proudly supported by the NSW Government via its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW. The event is also proudly supported by Vissla, Sisstrevolution, Northern Beaches Council, Hotel Steyne, WSL, KeySun Zinke and Surfing NSW.

Report by World Surf League and Surfing NSW

Vissla Sydney Surf Pro 2019 

Saturday action - Photo by Matt Dunbar/Surfing NSW - WSL