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AVOCA BEACH, CENTRAL COAST (Sunday, March 11, 2018): Shane Holmes (Central Coast, NSW) and Sarah Baum (ZAF) have taken out the 2018 Vissla Central Coast Pro pres. by Slimes Boardstore, following a day of exciting action in clean three-to-four foot waves at Avoca Beach.

Central Coast native Shane Holmes fulfilled his goal of winning an elite Qualifying Series (QS) event, taking out the men�s final. Holmes seemed to hit his peak over the duration of the final notching up two excellent scoring waves � 8.50 and 9.15 to amass an impressive 17.65 heat total. Holmes executed a barrage of giant backside snaps to get the win over Jordin Watson (Culburra, NSW) who was left chasing a two-wave combination to take away Holmes� lead. After finishing in second position in multiple QS events over the years, Holmes is stoked to finally get the monkey off his back.

�This is the best feeling,� said Holmes. �I�ve been doing the QS for a few years now and have come second in events in the past, but I haven�t been able to get myself a win. To claim a victory at a beach that�s only 20 minutes away from where I live feels insane. Hopefully, I can get a few more decent results in the next six months or so to help my seed going into the back end of the year.�

Following a several year hiatus from competition, Jordin Watson made his mark on the 2018 Vissla Central Coast Pro pres. by Slimes Boardstore. Having got the backing of his local Culburra Beach Boardriders following their victory at the nudie Australian Boardriders Battle, Watson returned to competing at Avoca and proceeded to turn heads with his lightning-fast snaps and carves, which he used to positive effect over the course of the entire event. Enroute to the final, Jordin even shared a semi-final with older brother Ty to seal a position into the final.

�This event really was a bit of a dream,� said Watson. �It was originally going to be a bit of a comeback event, but I ended up sharing some pretty special moments like having a semi-final with my brother and making the final. I�m definitely pretty stoked with how it all went.�

After impressing the judges and spectators with powerful forehand snaps, Sarah Baum proceeded to go from strength-to-strength as she attacked the final with a combination of technical snaps and carves. Baum was able to gain the upper hand against local surfer Kirra-Belle Olsson thanks to a decent 7.25 wave score for a chain of strong forehand snaps. The victory has been Baum�s biggest win to date.

�I�m feeling so stoked right now,� said Baum. �We had such good waves over the course of the event and I felt like I was surfing pretty well in most of my heats. This is definitely one of my biggest results to date for sure and to have pretty good waves for the final day was definitely the cherry on top of an awesome week.�

Being able to sleep in her own bed and ride a bike to the event each day proved to pay dividends for Avoca local Kirra-Belle Olsson (Avoca, NSW) as she worked her way into her first QS final. Olsson remained busy over the course of the final exchange with Baum, catching 11 waves, but struggled to find the required 6.51 needed to knock her opposition from the top spot.

�This is my first final in a QS event, so I�m pretty happy right now,� said Olsson. �It�s nice to be able to have an event like this so close to where I live and I think I was able to keep a good routine over the course of the event. My parents were here supporting me over the week as well which makes the result so much better.�

The elite five-day World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 rated competition took place from 7 � 11 March 2018.

Over 200 male and female surfers competed in the event, which saw over 18 different countries represented in both divisions.

Previous event champions include CT surfer and local Adrian Buchan, former World Championship Tour surfer Justine Dupont (France) and former US Open of Surfing champion Hiroto Ohhara (Japan).

Local Central Coast competitors in the event included Lennox Chell (Avoca), Caleb Tancred (Avoca), Shane Holmes (Shelly Beach), Troy and Jamie Skillin (Norah Head), Kirra-Belle Olsson (Avoca) and Molly Picklum (Shelly Beach).

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 created 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 was supported by Vissla and the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series was also 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

*Words and Imagery: Ethan Smith*