Jesse Mendes and Malia Manuel have taken the victory in the 2017 Australian Open of Surfing held at Manly in pumping surf conditions deemed the best ever seen in the event history. Manly beach pumped 2-3 foot waves all day long on finals day.
The Brazilian goofy-footer, Jesse Mendes, who took a runner-up finish at the recent Newcastle Surfest took his game to the next level and got a better result. He has been a standout all-week long and eliminated hungry QS competitors on his way to the finals where he faced his biggest challenge, Julian Wilson. Wilson, currently ranking 8th in the Championship Tour and the number one seed of the event posed a big threat all throughout the event.
Julian started strong in the opening minutes of the final, posting an 8.37 single wave score with his tail high reverse maneuver. He backed up his score with an almost perfect 9.33 to make a total of 18.00. With only a few minutes left in the heat, Mendes looked like he was going to get another runner up finish for the second week in a row, but he did not give up. Jesse paddled on a long-walled left-hander, giving a hundred percent effort on every turn he took to earn a score of 9.40, giving him a slim margin of 0.13 points, enough to take the victory from Wilson. Mendes is now sitting at the top of the Qualifying Series rankings after this win.
Julian Wilson previously finished runner-up in the 2014 Australian Open of Surfing and he looked poised to grab the victory all week long in this year’s AOS. Unfortunately, Mendes nabbed the victory from him in the final minutes. But Wilson has built a good momentum heading into the upcoming opening event of the 2017 Championship Tour at Snapper Rocks.
The Finals of the Girls Make Your Move Women’s Pro had a similar situation where Malia Manuel was face to face against Johanne Defay. Defay established an early lead and kept it going up until the middle of the heat. Manuel tried both lefts and rights but could not get enough points to take the lead. But her consistent effort paid off when she eventually found a long right-hand wave. Malia gave it her all, working hard while slicing through the waves on her rail maneuvers and earned an excellent 8.57 to take the lead. She ensured her victory by backing up her score with an almost-perfect 9.30 putting pressure on Defay who needed 9.54 to catch up. But time ran out and Defay was unable to get the score she needed and Malia Manuel took the victory.
Defay, who currently ranks No. 5 in the world tour has started the season with massive results. She already made an appearance in two QS finals this year. Although she did not get back-to-back wins, she has earned significant points while enjoying the experiences.