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**ABOVE:** Former World Championship Tour surfer Matt Banting (Port Macquarie, NSW - pictured) and former US Open of Surfing Champion Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) and engaged in one of the most exciting heats seen over the duration of the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series so far.

**IMAGE CREDITS:** Ethan Smith / Surfing NSW

BOOMERANG BEACH, GREAT LAKES (Friday, 9 February 2018): The Vissla Great Lakes Pro pres. by D'Blanc shifted to North Boomerang Beach for day three of competition where competitors were greeted with exciting two-foot shorebreak peaks.

Recent Mothernest Tweed Coast Pro Champion Jackson Baker (Merewether, NSW) continued to build on his WSL Qualifying Series campaign, nailing a solid victory in his round three heat today. Baker performed an eclectic mix of snaps and aerials to post an excellent 16.50 two-wave heat total to post a spot in the fourth round.

�I really want to back up the result at Cabarita with a good finish here,� said Baker. �I�ve spent quite a bit of time up here freesurfing and shooting photos and I really love the area. With any luck, we�ll see a little spike in swell tomorrow and Sunday for the finals.�

Former US Open of Surfing Champion Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) and former World Championship Tour surfer Matt Banting (Port Macquarie, NSW) engaged in one of the most exciting heats seen over the duration of the Vissla NSW Pro Surf Series so far. In what was the first heat of the year for both surfers, both Banting and Ohhara went toe-to-toe over the course of the heat with the lead pin-balling back-and-forth between both surfers. However, Ohhara was able to gain the upperhand thanks to posting an excellent 8.00 scoring wave in the final minutes of the heat to claim the victory. Both surfers will make their next appearance in the fourth round. The heat was Banting�s return to competition after a pelvic injury ruled him out of competition for the last 15 months.

�This is my first contest for 2018, so it feels good to start with two excellent scores,� said Ohhara. �I saw all the surfers freesurfing this morning and how well they all surfed and I knew it would be hard to get through. The waves are so fun here, so I�m stoked to win that heat.�

�My last heat was at Sunset in 2016, so it�s a big contrast in waves and conditions from today,� said Banting. �Even though I was injured it was good to have that time off to refresh my brain. I didn�t have my first surf back until October last year, so I had close to 10 months out of the water. This was pretty similar to the waves at home, with really punchy and dredgy little peaks on offer, so I�m excited to keep building on the momentum.�

Davey Cathels (Narrabeen, NSW) showed why he was a former World Championship Tour surfer, dominating the peaks on offer. Cathels executed a mix of giant turns to claim his heat with a decent 13.85 heat total.

�First heat of the year is always good to get out of the way,� said Cathels. �I�m really using this event to get a few heats under my belt before Manly and Newcastle and hopefully I can get a bit of a rhythm going. �

Following on from the same momentum that saw him post the highest heat total of the event yesterday, Shane Holmes (Shelly Beach, NSW) took his surfing to the same level when he notched up an 18.05 two-wave heat total to take out his third round heat. Holmes will go into the fourth day of competition having posted the two highest heat totals and two highest wave totals of the event so far.

�The waves are so fun out there,� said Holmes. �I haven�t really had the results I�ve wanted at Maroubra and Cabarita so I hope I can get to the pointy end of competition here at Boomerang Beach. My boards have been feeling great and I hope a good result will prepare me for the upcoming Australian Boardriders Battle next weekend.�

Check out our other up and coming Vissla events:

**Vissla Sydney Surf Pro**, Manly Beach February 24th � March 4th, 2018

**Vissla Central Coast Pro pres. by Slimes**, Avoca Beach 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.

More information on accommodation and the event series will be housed at [](

The 2018 NSW Pro Surf Series will be proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. The series will also be proudly supported by Vissla, Randwick City Council, Central Coast Council, Destination Tweed, Mid Coast Council and Tourism, NBN, Toyota, Coastalwatch, World Surf League and Surfing NSW. #visslanswprosurfseries