Cam Richards (USA) and Macy Callaghan (AUS) have taken out the Carve Pro WSL Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 event at Maroubra in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs. The final day of competition offered the best conditions of the week with clean 4-to-5 foot waves for competitors to rip into in front of the large Sunday Crowd.
The Men’s Final was a thriller that saw South Carolina’s Richards come up against young Aussie Kalani Ball. The two had been putting on outstanding performances all week and the final was no exception.
Richards got off to an incredible start putting Ball in a combination situation early (needing two scores). His heat total of 15.75 (out of a possible 20) came from a solid combination of aerial and conventional power surfing. Richards was sitting pretty until Ball fought back to get himself within striking distance. With less than a minute left, Ball found himself with priority and took off on a right hander, pulling a nice air reverse and a snap. It wasn’t enough and Richards was gifted the biggest win of his career.
“This is all pretty unexpected to be honest,” Richards said. “I haven’t really competed too much and thought I’d have to see how I went on this Australian leg of events. I guess this is a pretty good start. It was a really fun event. Kalani is such a good surfer when I saw him take off on that last wave I was pretty nervous. Luckily he just missed the score. I’m really happy to win and I can’t wait for the next event.”
Richards has humble roots that take him to the city of Garden City, though he now resides as a California transplant. Richards’ first WSL win came on the Junior Tour in 2014, claiming the Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior, followed by a win at the 2015 Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior. But Cam had a tough 2016 as a full-time QS competitor — finishing No. 274 on the rankings though his focus wasn’t completely on competition.
“To come from a place like Garden City to winning a QS on the other side of the world is pretty weird,” Richards said. “But, it was really awesome to see all the support I had from my home town. I come from such an amazing town and everyone is so caring it always feels good to win because at times it’s almost like they are more stoked than I am. So it’s super amazing. I have a place in Orange County but I’m on the road so much it’s hard to call anywhere home. But, South Carolina is and will always be my true home.”
“When I was younger it definitely was something I dreamed of,” Richards continued. “But, recently I was really focused on filming and things like that so me winning a QS was definitely a pleasant surprise. I was happy to get back into the contest mindset. Last year on the QS was a weird one, I couldn’t really make up my mind on what I wanted to like free surf or contest so I was in a weird mind trip. Now, at least for the first half of the year, I’m going to give it a pretty good shot.”
After an Equal 7th at the Shoe City Pro QS1,000 to begin the year, Richards now sits with 1,395 points to start the season as he preps for the continuing string of Australian events — beginning next with the Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro QS1,000 in Cabarita, NSW, Australia February 1 – 5.
Ball surfed an amazing event and was unlucky to come short in the final. His composure under combination was that of a much more seasoned competitor. Needing an excellent score with seconds left, Ball pulled out all the stops but came just short. Getting that close to winning after being on the ropes was almost as good as a win for the gracious Ball.
“I’m just really happy I didn’t finish the final in combo,” Ball said. I knew it was going to be tough when I saw the airs Cam had been doing all event. I knew when I needed a score at the end I was going to have to go big but the wave didn’t offer me too much. At the end of the day it’s a good result, so I hope I can keep this run going.”
The Women’s final was a match up of not only two of surfings biggest future stars but also great friends Aussies Macy Callaghan and Kobie Enright. After Macy finishing first at the recent World Junior Championship and Kobie finishing fifth, the two of them meeting in the final was no surprise.
Callaghan continued her unstoppable role in the final as the young Central Coaster opted for the lefthanders to show off her aggressive backhand attack. Her excellent heat total of 17.00 was the highest of the event and left her opponent in a combination situation. Her first excellent single wave score came from just one maneuver, a vertical reentry that some of the judging panel described as the best of the event.
“This is such an amazing feeling,” Callaghan said. “ it was a really fun heat, after I got that first 8.25 I just relaxed and got in a good rhythm. I knew Kobie is capable of getting perfect scores so I couldn’t really relax until I got that second 8.75. Kobie and I are best friends so we were just out there having fun. We still take it seriously but are able to have a laugh, which is cool. It was great to have few good waves for this contest.”
Enright never gave up until the last buzzer sounded. After being left needing two excellent scores to hit the front, Enright was able to post a solid 8.50 to give her self a chance but unfortunately for her, time was the enemy. Although she just fell just short of the top spot, Enright couldn’t be happier to share a final with her World Champion best friend.
“Getting second to the World Champion is all good,” Enright said. “Macy is my best friend and is always pushing me to surf better and that is never more the case than in a final of a contest. It was a really fun contest and we were lucky to have good waves the whole time. Now Macy and I are off to the Subway Surf Series junior event in Cronulla tomorrow, which will be fun.”
The 2017 Carve Pro Maroubra QS1,000 will run from January 19 -22. It will be broadcast live at www.worldsurfleague.com and on the WSL App. The event will form the first of four stops on the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series. The Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series was developed for Australian and International surfers to gain ranking points and prize money on the WSL Qualifying Series. The Series also creates a NSW coastal road trip for all to explore the variety of waves, visit local communities and enjoy NSW surfing culture.
The 2017 Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series will be proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series will also be proudly supported by Vissla, Randwick City Council, Central Coast Council, Destination Tweed, Great Lakes Council and Tourism, NBN, Toyota, Surfing Life Magazine, World Surf League and Surfing NSW. #visslanswprosurfseries