SURFING: Zaffis hanging in ten in Aussie qualifiers
SURFING: Angourie surfer Chris Zaffis is riding a wave of momentum into the final Australian event of the World Surf League qualifying series at Port Stephens today.
Zaffis, who sits in the top 10 qualifiers in Australia/Oceania, is running hot after a quarter-final finish in the Phillip Island Pro at the weekend.
With 1000 points up for the grabs at Port Stephens, there is still a chance he can take out the regional qualifying series.
"I have definitely made a late push to make sure I'm considered for the big qualifying events next season," he said.
"If I can pull off the win at this final event, I am definitely within striking distance of the top end which is a position I haven't been in before."
It has been a whirlwind year for Zaffis, who has managed to juggle his competitions with the final year of an electrician's apprenticeship, and still found time to travel to Indonesia for competition.
He was almost unstoppable in qualifying events in Indonesia, finishing third in the Simeulue Pro before backing it up with a final berth, and ultimately second placed finish, in the West Sumbawa Pro.
The form followed him back home as was evident in his strong effort at Phillip Island, which included back-to-back heat wins.
"I am really stoked to come away with another quarter-final finish," he said. "I came close to getting into the semi-finals as well. I only needed a wave score of 5.5 and managed to get priority for the final few minutes of the heat but the ocean just went flat on me.
"It is a shame but that is part and parcel with competition. Sometimes it cranks for you, and other times it goes cold."
IF there is anything Zaffis knows, it's that you need to take advantage of when it is cranking, which is why the surfer made a stop off at the famed Bells Beach on his way back up the coast.
"I actually drove to Victoria to have a bit of time to catch waves on my way back," he said. "We lucked out so hard at Bells, the waves were awesome. They were rolling in around 6-8ft and we just stayed in the water all day."
The extra practice should help Zaffis as he aims to earn his maiden qualifying series victory on an Australian break this weekend.
"I am definitely confident in the way I have been surfing, and I just haven't been as nervous going into events,.
"Maybe I have finally grown up a bit in the last year. I have gotten a little bit older, a little bit stronger and I am more consistent with making the right wave choices."
Zaffis will not be alone at Port Stephens with Wooli supergrom Carly Shanahan taking on the women's QS6000 event ahead of the New South Wales state titles.