IT IS not often in surf comps that the girls are given top priority over the guys but that's what's been happened at last week's Breaka Pro World Qualifying series event at Burleigh Point.
In the old days the girls would get the short end of the stick with the guys heats held in the best waves and the girls held in the worst.
While it's not such a gender equal opportunity change, it's because the women's event is a 6-star with a higher rating than the men's 4-star offering the girls star billing!
Last week the open women's competition took centre stage all day where record crowds amassed all over the famous Burleigh Headland checking some of the best surfing ladies in the world.
In fact 14 of the top 17 had entered the Breaka Pro, taking advantage of a good warm-up on the Points before next month's Quiksilver and Roxy Pro World Tour opening events from March 1 at Snapper Rocks.
On Friday, the women's were back in the water first up to decide the quarter-finalists.
South Africa's unseeded dark horse, Sarah Baum, threw down a huge backhand gauntlet to dominate the opening heat to win from Sunny Coast's Dimity Doyle - both advancing through to the quarters.
Number one seed and two times world runner-up Sally Fitzgibbons was in scintillating form to survive the early rounds and was the highest scorer yesterday to win over Hawaii's Malia Manuel to secure a quarter final birth.
Sally clocked up a 9.57 and 9.27 and managed to drop a 9 to amass a total of 18.84 out of 20 points making her the number one favourite.
The Kiama carver is determined to make 2013, 'her' year to take the world title.
The super fit athlete who is a former track and field star turned professional surfer, has been incredibly busy in the off season taking on a marathon kayak challenge in Tasmania and then working on her "air game", practising aerial manoeuvres in a wave pool at Dubai with her coach and former ASP WCT pro, Dan Ross.
"It's incredible to see so many people here to watch the event and to have a 6star rated event for the women's at Burleigh is fantastic for all of us," said the 22-year-old Fitzgibbons.
"I feel good about starting the season, it's always a little tense before that first heat but I'm fit and ready for a big year and I'm using the Breaka to fine tune myself and my surfboards."
Lennox Head's Tyler Wright, nursing a sprained ankle from dirt bike accident wasn't showing any signs of weakness with a powerful display scoring the single highest wave of 9.67 out of 10 to advance into the quarters with California's Courtney Conlogue.
Meanwhile in the men's 4star, former two times world champ and number one seed Mick Fanning overcame a slow start in his round 5 heat to catch a 8.6 score on his final wave in the dying stages to move from third into first and qualify for round 6.
Other standout winners in round 5 from local surfers were Thomas Woods, Bede Durbidge, Brent Dorrington, Mitch Crews and Lennox Head pair Adam Melling and Owen Wright.
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