**Above: **Former CT competitor Mitch Crews took out his opening Round Heat at the 2018 Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres. by D'Blanc.
**Images:** Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW
BOOMERANG BEACH, GREAT LAKES (Wednesday, February 7, 2018): The Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres. by D'Blanc got off to a flying start today with the opening rounds of the men and women revelling in the punchy three-foot conditions at South Boomerang Beach.
Excited by the potential for decent sections, Mitch Crews (QLD/AUS) forgot to screw in his fins prior to the start of his Round One heat. Despite the fact his fins could have fallen out of his board at any minute, the former Championship Tour (CT) competitor executed a barrage of mammoth turns to post two excellent wave scores in excess of eight-points. This put his fellow competitors into a combination situation (needing two scores) leaving Crews out in front. Crews’ fins finally gave way in the dying moments of the heat, when he lost the middle fin on his final wave of the heat and it was revealed only one side fin was screwed in the whole time.
“I did a lot of the QS 1,000 rated events this year to have fun competing and to gain momentum for the 6,000 rated events that are coming up shortly,” said Crews. “I forgot to screw my fins in for that heat though, but thankfully they held until in place the final wave of the heat. It wasn’t until the final wave that I felt it fall out and my board, maybe I have a little luck on my side (laughs).”
2017 Vissla Great Lakes Pro runner-up and top-seed Philippa Anderson (AUS/NSW) made her intentions clear when she attacked her round one heat. Anderson remained patient over the duration of the affair, locking in 6.50 wave score early and then opted to sit with priority for the next 15 minutes until she was able to muster up a modest 5.00 wave to gain the upper hand against her opposition.
“I think I may have sat off the peak a little bit over the middle of that heat,” said Anderson. “I just tried to remain calm over the course of the heat as the clock counted down. If you let your nerves get to you in those situations, then it can all fall apart. I’m just stoked to be here, it’s a lovely day and the waves are fun.”
Having spent the five weeks in Australia following the World Junior Championship, Alyssa Spencer (USA) used her knowledge of Australian beach-break conditions to her advantage to take a convincing win in her opening heat. Spencer nailed a chain of backside turns and snaps to post an impressive 13.85 two-wave heat total and cement her spot in the second round.
“It was really fun out there. It was tricky but if you found them, it was good, I did definitely get flogged on a few,” said Spencer. “This is my first time to Boomerang and the place is beautiful. I’m loving it here, the beach-breaks are really fun, so hopefully, I can keep getting through a few more heats.”
Don't forget to check out our other up and coming events:
**Vissla Sydney Surf Pro,**
February 24th – March 4th, 2018
**Vissla Central Coast Pro pres. by Slimes,**
March 7th – 11th, 2018
The Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres. by D'Blanc will commence each day from 7:30 am with the call for the day's schedule and location confirmed via the event hotline at 6:45 am. The event hotline number is **0458 247 212** which will leave a voice recorded message each morning of the event.
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 2018 NSW Pro Surf Series will be not only proudly supported by Vissla but also the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series will also be proudly supported by Randwick City Council, Central Coast Council, Destination Tweed, Mid Coast Council and Tourism, NBN, Toyota, Coastalwatch, World Surf League and Surfing NSW. #visslanswprosurfseries