Friday the 21stof February marked the first day of competition at the 2020 Torquay Wave Nationals with all heats and finals, Friday offered the best day in the forecast, so event organisers were on the front foot to get underway.
The event kicked off at 10am sharp, with Councillor David Bell from the Surf Coast Shire opening proceedings and welcoming all those present to Torquay.
The rider's briefing followed with head judge Andre Cater outlining a revised shortened format to accommodate predicted conditions through the event window.
The action kicked off with the masters out at point danger, with tricky onshore conditions keeping it difficult to get out behind the waves. Despite the wind direction, Brett Croucher (NSW) and Bayside legend Jeff Steele (Vic) lead the charge, with Brett Croucher's combined score of 12.00 eventually proving to be the highest heat total of the event.
Following the masters, the women also performed strongly in challenging conditions, with Louise Bieniara taking out the first heat.
The juniors then took to the ocean with Melbourne rider Woodley Hall's 7.00 just edging past Luca Duffin's 6.93 in a strong showing from all the junior competitors, especially from Ashley Brunette (NSW) who battled it out in back to back heats - competing all day in both the juniors and women's competition.
After some entertaining guest commentary from Queensland charger Nathan Katterns, his interstate status became apparent in the first men's open heat as the Victorian contingent of Aaron Kenny and Jarrod Snow got over the top of him. Although it was the other Queensland rider in Jack Bailey who ripped it up early with two 5-point rides seeing him dominate the heat.
Event organisers ran a significant amount of heats before a dropping tide, the appearance of the reef and the rapidly dwindling supply of fins caused the judges and organisers to move the event 200m down the beach to a stretch better suited for competition.
Although soon after, as the women's semi-final got underway conditions deteriorated. It became quickly apparent the heat would need a restart and the event was put on hold.
It was announced that a final call for the day would be made in a few hours at 6pm, in the hope an afternoon kick in the wind would come through just as it had the day before.
The hours passed, spectators and competitors were kept entertained watching the groms on the beach. Then eventually, just on 6pm the stars aligned. A few kite surfers had taken to the water and proved the organisers suspicions correct of better evening conditions.