|Cole Houshmand Posts Event High Total for Career First Win
Cole Houshmand (USA) started his Challenger Series campaign off with a first-round elimination at the Gold Coast and came to North Narrabeen needing a massive result to get his year back on track. The 22-year-old San Clemente local found form early and fed off the energy of his fellow Californians who were cheering him on from the beach all week as he built through the event to book a spot in the Final.
“I’m kind of speechless right now,” Houshmand said. “It all worked out in my favour and all the hard work is paying off so I’m so stoked. This tour is insane, there is so much talent and so many people who deserve to be on tour so to make it this far means a lot. You go into every event wanting to win but it’s not that easy; these events are really challenging so I’m stoked to break away and get my first win.”
Coming up against Jacob Willcox (AUS) in the Final, Houshmand was going to have to put on a strong performance, and that’s exactly what he did, posting the highest single wave score and heat total of the event. Houshmands 18.97 two-wave total included a near-perfect 9.80 which he was rewarded for his committed powerful approach in the chunky beachbreak peaks. The total was too much for Willcox to chase down, leaving Houshmand to take the biggest win of his young career.
“I’ve loved my time here in Narrabeen,” Houshmand continued. “We’ve had pumping waves the whole time and a lot of fun with the local crew and all the boys I’m travelling with. I’ll definitely be coming back.”
Jacob Willcox (AUS) has continued his great start to the 2023 Challenger Series season. The exciting young goofy-footer has narrowly missed CT qualification on multiple occasions but has his campaign off to a flying start with back-to-back Finals Day appearances. Although he fell short of the win today, Willcox’s runner-up finish is the best of his career and has rocketed him to No. 1 on the Challenger Series rankings.
“Getting second is tough but I’m still feeling really good about this,” Willcox said. “After two events last year I had two last-place finishes and today I have a fifth and a second so I’m in a bit of a different spot right now. It was really challenging out there but it was definitely awesome to get some powerful surf. It was good to surf with Cole, he was ripping all week and I’m stoked to be sitting in this position now.”
For highlights from today’s GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented by Bonsoy competition, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.