Aussies fighting back at Burleigh

JACK Freestone and Thomas Woods spearheaded an Australian fight back on day three of the Hurley Pro Junior as the event’s top seeds hit the water in the round of 64.

Held in rising one-metre conditions at the primary site of Burleigh Heads on Queensland’s Gold Coast, competitors enjoyed the early signs of a new swell, which is expected to see wave heights dramatically increase into the weekend ahead of a stellar final tomorrow.

Coolangatta’s Freestone, fresh from winning the world junior championship, amassed a 15.25 two-wave score in his heat to move into the round of 32.

His powerful display was the highest heat score of the round so far and was more than five points clear of Harrison Mann (9.55), who came second in the heat.

Woods’ aerial approach also impressed the judges and spectators yesterday as the crowd favourite posted a combined two-wave heat total of 14.40 to account for South Africa’s Beyrick De Vries (11.75), Sol Pereira-Ryan (Snapper Rocks, 10.95) and New Zealand’s Buck Woods (5.95).

“It’s always good to get your first heat out of the way, but I’m not getting too far ahead of myself as there is still a long way to go in the event,” the Burleigh Heads surfer said.

“The forecast looks good into the weekend so we’ll see what the waves are like in the morning, but it’s always nice surfing your home break.”

Another young Australian to impress on day three was Port Macquarie’s Matt Banting, who posted a combined two-wave heat score of 12.50 to defeat Mitchell James (Kingscliff, 8.75), South Australian Khai Adams (7.55) and Soli Bailey (Byron Bay, 7.00).

Meanwhile, Coolangatta’s Noa Deane dropped out of the competition yesterday, taking third place in his heat.

The competition will be called on today, with building swell and more than half of the round of 64 still to be surfed.

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