And it was Tasmanian surfer Dustin Hollick who showed the rest of the world how these challenging and wild waves should be surfed, achieving a score of 8.33 off an impressive barrel, and that on his third heat in a row.
“I didn’t have a local advantage in terms of knowing the wave,” he said, “because I’m from down south in Hobart, and I only come up here a few times. But maybe in terms of water temperature I had a bit of an advantage, some of these guys were saying it was freezing for them.”
Dustin qualified through the local trials, finishing his first heat then paddling back out again for the trial finals, before heading straight out again for the first heat of the competition where he finished top, in front of Jarrad Sullivan.
Watching and cheering him on from the comfort of the house of Max and Christel – a local couple with a house right on Bluff Reef who have welcomed the entire crew and surfers were his friends, and the rest of the Tasmanian support crew.
“Luckily I was really tired,” he said. “By the time I got to the qualifying round I wasn’t nervous because it was way too quick and I was too tired.”
Although a renowned Shipsterns rider, Dustin is in awe of the level of surfing currently here in northwest Tasmania. “I’m looking forward to going through and surfing the next heat,” he said, “but I’m also looking forward to seeing all the guys surfing these waves. We’ve never had anything like this in Tasmania.”
Among the top surfers here for the O’Neill Cold Water Classic, Tasmania, is former WCT surfer, and legend, Cory Lopez who has been struck by the beauty of this area. “It’s my first time in Tasmania,” he said. “And this place is beautiful, really awesome. It’s amazing to discover this super isolated place with rolling hills and good waves. I’m really looking forward to doing this event.”
Also eagerly looking forward to his heat tomorrow is the only British surfer of this event Sam Lamiroy.
“I’ve been so surprised by the quality of the waves here,” said Sam. “Here at the Bluff is probably as good as you are going to get on the tour. This feels like a real step in the right direction. It’s got raw power and good shape on the right ones.”
“But it’s not just the competition,” he said. “It’s also everything that goes with it, the scenery, the people who are so welcoming, and even the snakes and Tasmanian devils.”