Usher Cup and Contest Director Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew couldn’t be happier with the conditions at Rainbow Bay.
“Well it’s pretty much a carbon copy of yesterday, we’re just in this weather pattern where it’s just offering up pretty similar conditions”
“I couldn’t be happier with the conditions for the competitors, lots of waves”
While there was some controversy with local wildcard Jay Occhilupo eliminated from the contest, despite appearing to top his heat score, the son of surfing great Mark the centre of a judging panel discussion, before being relegated to 4th position.
“There was a real upset there where Jay Occhilupo got an interference call, he was winning that heat, so that was a bit of a shame for Jay, he just, there was a competitor behind him with priority and Jay just didn’t quiet look back and that was a bit of a disaster for Jay.
While there was disappointment, the contest has already thrown up its fair share of surprises, none bigger than Duranbah’s Callum Robson who recorded the day’s highest heat score of 9.17.
“We have had some fantastic performers, young kid from Evans Head, surfing for Duranbah, Callum Robson, just in the last heat, probably the stand out of the day so far, that was an exceptional performance”
The Mad Huey’s sponsored Gold Coaster playing it safe as he cruised through to the next round and a step closer to the five thousand dollars on offer for the contest winner.
“I knew it was a pretty good wave, so I didn’t want to over surf it, it would have been pretty easy to fall off, so I surfed it pretty safe, but I knew it was a pretty good wave”
“It’s definitely a good confidence booster, but I will just take it one heat at a time, but it would be awesome to take out this comp, I would be stoked for sure”
While todays standard was amazing, Rabbit is confident Sundays finals day will be epic, especially if the predicted swell arrives and allows organisers to finish the inaugural event at Rainbow Bay.
“As we move into round two and that’s where we meet the second lot of seeds, the really higher seeds, those guys who dominated today are going to come straight up, head-to-head against that, so round two is going to be just a killer, it’ll be so good”
Head Judge Ty Conaghan, in total agreeance with the Contest Directors analysis, saying the standard has been particularly high.
“The standards been really good, especially in round two. With those seeded surfers in round two the level has stepped up big time, so all those guys that got through in round one will really need to step their game up to compete against these round two guys.”
“Callum’s performance for this contest, especially in round two we’re pretty much using a QS 3000 or 5000 scale so it’s right up there with professional surfing standards. I think he’ll have a lot of confidence from that, now he’s got that score and he’s gotten in the water and his feet in the wax.”