The 2015 Hurley Australian Open of Surfing champion is 20 year-old Californian Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, CA, USA) who today defeated a relative unknown from Tahiti, 19 year-old Mateai Hiquily (PYF) to take out the Hurley Australian Open of Surfing Men’s QS6000.

Mother nature saved her best for last at Manly this week, dishing up solid, consistent 1-2m waves and sunny skies to provide the ultimate final’s day for surfing fans. Predicting an outcome in such a big event, with such a huge field could almost be considered an impossibility, but as the second highest seed, current world number 11, Andino, was always going to be a contender for the top spot.

Andino defeated Aussie Jack Freestone in the Quarters this morning, then another Aussie Stuart Kennedy in the semis, before taking down Hiquily in the one heat that counts most.

Andino’s first wave in the final was a near-perfect 9.73. He completely destroyed a left hander, then basically used his remaining time to seek out a good back up score – text-book competition surfing.

Meanwhile Hiquily’s early momentum deserted him. He beat number one seed Mick Fanning twice in this event and has impressed everyone with his air-game, but in the final he was forced to wait, wait and do more waiting … but couldn’t find any wave that really enabled him to show his stuff.

Andino won $25,000 and takes way 6,500 QS ratings points and the international WSL ratings lead. NSW Premier Mike Baird and Manly Mayor Jean Hay were on hand to help with the podium presentation.

“I wanted to win the event and I did it. I’m stoked. It’s a long event, a big week and you have to take it heat by heat, I’ve had some momentum and hope I can keep it going, stay on the roll, build confidence and keep it going into Snapper,” said Andino.

Given the incredible number of surfers in the event, the regions represented (17 countries in the men’s) the fact Hiquily, a relative unknown from the small island of Tahiti, made the podium is a fantastic effort. He is a bit shorter on his English than he is with his huge moves, but Mateai was very grateful to be standing up there next to Kolohe.

“This is the best week and the best day of my life,” said Hiquily. “Thank you to my friends for letting me stay with them, thanks to everybody watching and to everyone in Australia who helped me get here.”

Men’s Semi-Final 1 was an awesome showdown between Hiquily and Ryan Callinan (Merewether, NSW, AUS). Both guys are pretty evenly matched – they are goofy foots, have exciting air games, a similar approach to waves and by reaching the semis achieved personal best results. Their clash didn’t disappoint.

“To have my first Semifinal in years and to lose with some solid scores means that Mateia must have been going pretty good out there,” said Callinan. “It was close. I’m just glad we got to put on a bit of a show and I got a good result to get my year going.”

Stuart Kennedy (Lennox Head, NSW, AUS) was in with a very good chance to make the final over Andino. The Aussie took it to the Californian, going to town on a nice overhead lefthander to secure the highest scoring ride of the match-up. Andino fought back with two mid range scores, while Kennedy did what most surfers would do – he waited patiently for a second good score. With two minutes to go however, he held priority and caught the only possible wave he could find – but it closed out on him.

“That was a bit frustrating,” explained Kennedy afterwards. “But what can you do? That’s surfing. I’m happy, third is a good result and Kolohe was ripping on the waves he caught.”

Finishing in equal fifth today were Jonathan Gonzalves (CNY), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Fred Pattachia (Haw) and Michael Rodriguez (BRA).

Local Laura Enever Wins Australian Open of Surfing Women’s Final!

It has been a huge, huge week and even bigger final day for local Narrabeen surfer Laura Enever (Narrabeen, NSW, AUS). Today she claimed her first win in more than four years when she defeated current world number 2, Tyler Wright (Culburra, NSW, AUS), to win the Australian Open of Surfing Women’s division.

Making it even more special for Enever was doing it in front of a hometown crowd. Cheering her on were a bunch of her close friends from up the road at Narrabeen, as well as her brother Chris, mum Sarah and dad Phil. Enever held back tears as she was chaired from the water’s edge.

“It’s been such an amazing contest for me with everyone in it, all the top girls competing this week and to win at home with all my friends and family is amazing. I think more than ever I’ve been enjoying my surfing so much, I’ve been putting everything into it so it feels amazing to get such a good result,” said Enever.

Finishing the 2014 season ranked second in the world, Wright is particularly strong in peaky, wedgy waves similar to what Manly offers and was the favourite to win heading into the final

However, Enever’s wave choice was impeccable and she surfed a relatively mistake free 35 minute final. Wright had her chances, keeping herself in the game right to the final ride. With just a couple of minutes to spare, she found a nice overhead left and pulled off a long, backhand floater then looked to pull a second move but was beaten by the lip. She needed a 7.00 and scored a 5.9. The consensus was if she had made that second turn, she would have taken the title.

“That’s the way it goes. I’m glad Laura won. It’s always good to see a local do well and I know how much this means to her. She’s been ripping all week. She beat Steph (Stephanie Gilmore) yesterday and surfed really well in the quarters and semis today. I’m stoked for her.”

Finishing equal third today were Tatiana Weston-Webb (Kauai, HAW) and Nikki Van Dijk (Phillip Is. Vic, AUS).

Weston-Webb went down to Enever in Semi-Final number 1. The 18 year-old secured her place among surfing’s elite, with an impressive run in the closing stages of 2014 – finishing in the finals of four of five QS events. Enever may have had her number today, but Weston-Webb’s strong result here at Manly shows her roll is definitely continuing. She leaves Manly with 3550 valuable ratings points and plenty of confidence heading into her first CT event beginning later this month on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

“It’s always tough to lose, especially being so close to the Final. I’m a little let down because I really thought that I’d make the Final so it’s disappointing, but Semis is still a great result,” said Weston-Webb.

Van Dijk couldn’t find the spark she needed against Wright in Semi Final 2. Wright has been one of surfing’s most dominant forces the past few years and today even called on her air-game to help shut the door on Van Dijk.

Nikki’s best two waves were average scores of 6.67 and 4.93 – not enough to beat Wright who was beating her own path to the final.

Bowing out in the morning’s quarter-finals were Malia Manuel (HAW), Georgia Fish (AUS), Bronte Macauley (AUS) and Sage Erickson (USA).

RESULTS

Best trick – Rob Loriface (USA)  – Kickflip over the hip to backside 50/50

Surf Dive ‘n’ Ski Highest Air – Jono Schwan  - (10ft)

FINAL RESULTS

PRO:

1st Jono Schwan (Colarado Springs, USA) - 166.6pts 2nd

Alex Sorgente (Lake Worth, Fl, USA) - 165.2pts 3rd

Pedro Barros (Fl, BRA) - 160pts 4th

Sam Beckett (Norwich, ENG) - 156.2pts 5th

Joshua Rodrigues (CA, USA) - 155.4pts 6th

Kalani David (Haleiwa, HAW) - 152.8pts

7th Tom Schaar (Cardiff, CA, USA) - 150.4pts

8th Ivan Federico (ITA) - 131.4pts

MASTERS

1st Bruno Passos (BRA) -158.2pts 2nd

Sean Goff (UK) - 144.2pts

3rd Pat Ngoho (USA) -144.pts

4th Brian Patch (USA) - 143.2pts

5th Lester Kasai (USA) - 126pts

6th Adam Luxford (AUS) - 124pts

7th Chris Patton (USA) - 118.6pts

8th John Gray (AUS) - 117.4pts