LAGUNDRI BAY, NIAS / INDONESIA (Wednesday, June 22, 2022) – The 2022 Nias Pro, a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 5,000 event and Junior Qualifying Series launched today in pristine 3-to-4 foot surf at the world renowned Lagundri Bay on the beautiful Island of Nias in Indonesia.
The women’s QS division kicked competition off early this morning with the Round of 48 completed in picture-perfect surf. Japanese and Australian surfers trusted most advancing positions with a few surprises throughout the round.
One of them was Thailand’s Annissa Flynn. Very few Thai surfers have surfed in WSL events in the past but today Flynn showed us there is a real surf culture emerging from the relatively unknown Thailand region. Flynn surfed the perfect waves at Nias with precision and power to take the heat win over the more fancied experienced surfers from Australia.
“That was a great heat for me,” said Flynn. “The waves are a perfect size and I entered the heat really confident and fortunately I was able to win. I’ll watch all the heats today and learn from this experience seeing all these great surfers competing.”
Flynn lives in the Phuket region where a QS3,000 is planned for her home beach later this year.
“I am very excited that Thailand will host a WSL event later this year,” she continued. “It will be amazing to showcase all our surf beaches to the WSL surfers and I can’t wait to compete and represent Thailand.”
Another highlight from the opening women’s action was Anne Dos Santos (BRA)’s form who slotted into a typically perfect Nias barrel on her backhand and exited it clean in disbelief, posting an outstanding 9.33 to easily take the heat win.
“These are such fantastic waves here at Nias,” Dos Santos commented. “It’s the best waves I’ve surfed for a WSL event and Indonesia for waves is simply unbelievable!”
A light breeze switched on for the men’s Round of 112 and applied texture to the wave face, giving surfers a great canvas for high-performance surfing. The Indonesian crew dominated and qualified eight surfers for the second round of competition on home turf, but the biggest performance was Luke Slijpen (ZAF)’s in Heat 4.
Other standouts include Bronson Meydi (IDN), Made Mahendra (IDN), Connor Lyons (AUS) who all got close to cracking the excellent range of scores to advance through their respective heats.
Competition continued in the afternoon with the first four heats of the women’s Round of 32, including the event’s top seeds and some big names.
Former Championship Tour surfer Paige Hareb (NZL) kicked off her Nias campaign with an excellent performance, applying her signature backhand turns on the best waves of her heat to lock in an excellent 8.00 point ride and take the win.
“My main focus is the Challenger Series and we have one coming up next in South Africa,” Hareb explained. “But I can’t say no to these events, they count for next season and they’re probably some of the best waves I’m going to get all year.”
Giada Legati (ITA) and Kobie Enright (AUS) put up a good battle of big scores as well and both advanced into the Round of 16. Indonesia’s own Kailani Johnson dominated the day’s final heat to take the win and continue on an impressive run of results on home turf.
With a great opening day in the books, surfers turn to an excellent forecast for the remainder of the event’s waiting period, and a serious swell brewing in the Indian Ocean for potential epic surf towards the weekend.
Event organisers will reconvene at Lagundri Bay to make a call on Thursday at 7:00 a.m. local time for a potential 7:30 a.m. start.
The 2022 Nias Pro will run at Lagundri Bay from June 22-28. Be sure to tune in and watch it live at www.worldsurfleague.com or on the free WSL App.