Aussie teenager Ellie Harrison will face seasoned championship tour competitors Sophie McCulloch and Bronte Macaulay in the next round of the Sydney Surf Pro after blitzing her opening heat at Narrabeen on Thursday.
After showing off her forehand in the opening World Surf League challenger series event at Snapper Rocks last week, Harrison, proved she also has a lethal backhand, making some nice turns on her way to a round-high heat total of 14.10.
The 17-year-old will now face Aussies McCulloch and Macaulay along with Californian prodigy Bella Kenworthy in the round of 32.
“I get a lot of chunky beach breaks around my hometown and a lot of lefts so I feel at home in conditions like this,” Harrison said.
“It feels good to get rewarded for my surfing at this level. I’ve always got positive feedback from my team but to get it from the judges and other competitors here means a lot.”
In the men’s draw, local hope Dylan Moffat gave the crowd something to cheer about, taking a strong win in his first appearance at his home event.
Moffat’s local knowledge paid off as he moved south to surf a right-hand bank and secure a mid-range heat total that was enough to see him progress in the top spot.
“Having everyone down here at the beach cheering me on is so sick,” Moffat said. “It makes me so proud to be from here. I really hope the waves turn on later in the week because we all know what it can be like here.”
Last week’s Gold Coast Pro winner Samuel Pupo was eliminated in the final heat of the day and will now leave Australia with a win and a throwaway result as he looks to find his way back to the championship tour.