Soli Bailey: right on, mate

The Australian Open of Surfing has opened its waves to a crowd of surf fans wishing to see tough battles in the 1-2-foot (1 meter) punchy rides of Manly Beach, Sydney.


The fleet of junior surfers is out in the water first and Wade Carmichael is on a roll, fresh from a win at the Billabong World Junior Championships 2 weeks ago. Carmichael posted the highest wave score of the day, a 9.00 (out of a possible 10), in the inaugural day of the new Australian Open of Surfing.

"I was just lucky to be in the right spot when that good wave came through," Carmichael said. "I rode it all the way in and was able to do some turns and got a 9.00, so I'm wrapped. I'm feeling confident after a few good results lately, but this is the important time of year with a couple of comps back-to-back, so you just have to keep it going."

Mitch Parkinson won the first heat of the day and in the process eliminated hometown hero Cooper Chapman. Parkinson's smooth style saw him carve up a score big enough to be safely into the next round.

"It's pretty crazy having a junior event with such a massive set-up," Parkinson said. "I was in the first heat of the contest and I'm pretty stoked that I got through. The waves aren't too bad either, 1 to 2 foot and if you pick off the right ones they're pretty fun."

Tim Macdonald was one of the standout surfers of the day, managing to find a couple of waves that stood up from out the back all the way to the shore.

"I've done ok in a few comps lately, except the one at home last week," Macdonald said. "I just tried to catch a the waves that allowed for a couple of turns out the back. The surf is small, but it's fun. It's great for the juniors to have a comp on this scale, we're loving it."

Conner Coffin posted some big scores thanks to his trademark smooth but powerful surfing. The young Californian is in both the Junior and the 6-Star divisions of the Australian Open Of Surfing, and is looking to post big results in both.

"This is busier than the first day of US Open usually is, so I can't wait to see what it's like at the end of the week," Coffin said. "The Australasian Pro Junior events are super hard, so I'm stoked to make the heat. We don't have a lot of Junior events in North America so I decided to stay over here and have a go and I'm really enjoying it"

The Australian Open Of Surfing at Manly Beach will see the ASP 6-Star men's and women's divisions, from Monday through to next weekend.