BACK ON TOUR:  Freestone reaches the semis at Sunset Beach, Hawaii, in Vans World Cup to requalify for next year's WSL World Tour.
BACK ON TOUR: Freestone reaches the semis at Sunset Beach, Hawaii, in Vans World Cup to requalify for next year's WSL World Tour. Kelly Cestari/WSL

Freestone nabs spot on WSL tour

SURF SCENE with Andrew McKinnon

COOLANGATTA'S Jack Freestone has blasted his way into requalifying on the World Surf League tour for 2017 courtesy of a scorching run to the finish line in the last two big WQS events in Hawaii for the year.

It was do or die for the tall natural footer who exuded power and grace at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. These locations suit Freestone's big manoeuvre surfing and he didn't disappoint with a quarter final place at Haleiwa and then more importantly securing a semi-final showing at Sunset that counted big time.

Moving from 17th on the WQS prior to Sunset, Jack nabbed the last qualifying spot in tenth place to requalify for next year's 2017 WSL World Tour. It was one of the most exciting finishes yet in Hawaii for the cut-off and Freestone did what he had to do to stay on tour.

Freestone now faces Hawaii's Sebastian Zietz and Brazil's Italo Ferreira in the opening round of the Billabong Pipeline Master at the Banzai Pipeline, the last World Championship Tour event for 2016 from December 8-20.

The most consistent performer in the first two Hawaiian Triple Crown events was Portugal's Frederico Morais who scored runner-up places to new world champion John John Florence and number three Jordy Smith.

Morais has been knocking on the door for some time and as a wildcard into the CTs has knocked over the likes of Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning.

Despite John Florence and Kelly Slater's intentions of winning this year's Triple Crown, it is Morais leading by a country mile. In a further boost to his chances and as the first European surfer to win the prestigious Hawaiian Triple Crown title, Morais has been awarded an injury replacement spot for this year's Billabong Pipe Masters. This gives the Portuguese powerhouse a better chance of defending his lead in this year's race for the Vans Triple Crown. Thanks to that lead, the commissioner's office awarded him the main event seed left open by injured Brazilian CT surfer Alejo Muniz.

Meanwhile, 1980s Bondi-based professional surfer Matthew Ellks, now living in Bali, has written a couple of entertaining books about surfers' lifestyles and their survival antics to maintain the surfing way of life. His first book, Scum Valley, was all about the Bondi scene and how it changed from the 1980s to the 1990s.

It's a first-hand account of living, working and socialising in Sydney's most famous city beach. Ellks managed a surf shop at Bondi with a little help from his mates and the challenge of competing against a rival surf shop owned by new elite millionaires of the Eastern suburbs.

His second book, Bondi, Bali and Beyond, will, I'm sure, be another riveting read that takes you on a path of Ellks' new life in Bali and his environmental and business endeavours.

It will be launched at Cafe D'Bar Art Gallery from 11am (NSW) on December 20 by Snapper Surfriders Club president Jay Phillips.



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