|After causing big upsets as a wildcard on the Gold Coast, Aussie youngster Reef Heazlewood caught the attention of event organizers and was an obvious choice to replace Sebastian Zeitz (HAW), who pulled out of the event for the upcoming birth of his first child. Heazlewood once again made the most of his opportunity, putting on a dynamic performance to take down 2019 CT Rookie Mikey Wright (AUS) and Jesse Mendes (BRA). Heazlewood looked comfortable on the big stage, accruing a two-wave combination of 12.67 (out of a possible 20) to progress. His and Wright’s results eliminated Mendes, who leaves in Equal 33rd place.
“I was actually at home running an event with some groms when the news came through that I’d have a spot in the event,” Heazlewood said. “I rushed to get ready and head to the airport, then my flight got canceled, but I eventually got here so I’m stoked. I have a little bit of experience here at Bells but not a heap. There is definitely a lot of room to grow and learn so I’m really happy to make it through and will hopefully keep making heats.”
Current World No. 1 Caroline Marks (USA) put on a solid display at Winkipop, smashing huge turns on her highly regarded backhand, but surprisingly, it was not enough to win her heat. 2019 CT Rookie Brisa Hennessy (CRI) posted the highest wave score of the women’s event so far, 8.33 (out of a possible 10), taking the win from Marks. Hennessy will move directly into Round 3 where she hopes to take another win and better her result of Equal 9th from Stop No. 1. Marks’ second place will also advance her to Round 3.
“That was a pretty heavy heat, so I was going into it giving it my all and I’m just glad I eventually found some good waves,” Hennessy said. “It’s so special to get underway here at Bells. It was reallycool to hear them play Hells Bells this morning and know I’d be competing. I’m just so happy to be here competing fulltime on the CT and to be competing at such a historical event.”
After a tough Round 3 loss on the Gold Coast, 2019 CT Rookie Soli Bailey (AUS) was close to another dreaded early elimination. The young Byron Bay local was determined to take his first CT heat win and overcome 2018 CT Rookie of the Year Wade Carmichael (AUS) and wildcard Xavier Huxtable (AUS) in their Round 2 matchup. Bailey dominated the heat with a combination of progressive aerial surfing and classic power turns. Bailey moves into Round 3 where he will take on an in-form Conner Coffin (USA).
“It’s all on the line when you’re surfing in those Elimination Round heats,” Bailey said. “I ended up posting a couple of good scores, which was great. After that heat, I was really excited to think about some solid waves coming later in the week but also wanted to stay in the moment and enjoy the feeling of taking a CT heat with some good scores. I’m definitely excited to see what lays ahead with the waves that are on the way.”
2019 CT Rookies Peterson Crisanto (BRA) and Deivid Silva (BRA) also progressed through the Round of 32 as they continue to search for a breakthrough result on their first year on the elite level.