Dion Atkinson: en route to the Dream Tour? | Photo: Smith/AOS

Dion Atkinson and Nikki Van Dijk have conquered the 2016 Australian Open of Surfing, held at Sydney's Manly Beach.

Atkinson traveled all the way from Seaford, in South Australia, to defeat Italy's rising star Leonardo Fioravanti in the final of the prestigious event. The former Dream Tour surfer, 29, used his experience and power surfing to get his career back on track.

"If someone told me that I would win this comp a few weeks ago I probably wouldn't have believed them. I feel like I put together a good comp and was able to build momentum through the week. I just can't believe it," expressed an ecstatic Dion Atkinson.

"This event is always so daunting with the huge crowds. You can hardly think out in the water with everything going on, so I'm pretty stoked with myself to keep it together. Last year I got pretty close to re-qualifying right at the end of the year so getting a win like this early in the year is huge for me."

In the women's competition, Australian powerhouse Nikki Van Dijk surfed a near-perfect heat. She scored a total of 17.93 points and left Malia Manuel in a combination situation.

"I'm so over the moon to win here at Manly. The waves were really fun today I felt like I was surfing a rip-bowl at home. Malia was surfing really well all event, so I‘m stoked to get the win. There are so many people down here it's such an amazing atmosphere on the beach. I've had the best week!" concluded Van Dijk.

2016 Australian Open of Surfing | Finals

1. Dion Atkinson (AUS), 14.66
2. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), 5.10

1. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), 17.93
2. Malia Manuel (HAW), 13.73

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