Liam carv­ing up com­pe­ti­tion

Burleigh Board­rider into top 100

Tweed Daily News - - SPORT - AN­DREW MCKIN­NON

BURLEIGH Board­rider Liam O’brien has been on the rise in 2018.

The 21-year-old pow­er­ful nat­u­ral footer hasn’t put a foot wrong, claim­ing three World Qual­i­fy­ing Se­ries wins to crack the top 100.

“A goal of mine was def­i­nitely to crack the top 100, I didn’t ex­pect to end up with three vic­to­ries though,” O’brien, the mod­est pro­fes­sional who has been con­sis­tently climb­ing the rat­ings lad­der, said.

This time last year he reg­is­tered his first WQS win at the Port Stephens Pro to set up a huge year of trav­el­ling in 2018.

His WQS cam­paign started in Hawaii, where he is now fin­ish­ing the year, un­lucky not to progress from round two in over­head surf at Sun­set Beach for the HIC Pro.

“It was good fun out there,” O’brien said af­ter fin­ish­ing at 92 in the top 100.

“I man­aged to get one good ride at the be­gin­ning of the heat but ended up snap­ping my board on my sec­ond wave.

“It was pretty un­for­tu­nate but I guess that’s how it rolls some­times.

“I’m still grate­ful to be where I am and to have had the chance to surf a heat at Sun­set.”

While he was dis­ap­pointed to lose, he had some pos­i­tive take­aways from that heat.

“From an ed­u­ca­tional per­spec­tive I think I just needed to find my­self a bet­ter backup early on in the heat so as to not leave my­self need­ing a small score at the end,” he said.

“Hav­ing said that, I still feel like I surfed a fairly well-struc­tured heat but was just un­lucky to snap my board on my sec­ond-best ride.”

O’brien trav­elled the globe this year, from Hawaii, the east and west coasts of Aus­tralia, In­done­sia, the Philip­pines, Ja­pan, South

Africa and Bar­ba­dos, com­pet­ing in 17 WQS events.

His plan for 2019 is to keep chip­ping away at the WQS.

“Hope­fully I’ll get into the higher-rated comps and have the chance to com­pete at the next level,” he said.

“My ul­ti­mate goal would be to qual­ify for the world tour but it’s a long road. If any­thing I just want to keep en­joy­ing what I’m do­ing.”

O’brien is a proud mem­ber of the Burleigh Board­rid­ers Club and, not sur­pris­ingly, his favourite break is Burleigh Point.

When not surf­ing, he likes play­ing video games.

A cool, con­sum­mate com­peti­tor with a big fu­ture, O’brien has been coached by well-known su­per coaches Mark Richard­son and Burleigh’s for­mer world tour com­peti­tor Jay Thomp­son.

His surf­ing hero is Dane Reynolds and he loves watch­ing his videos.

O’brien is full of praise for his par­ents, spon­sors and Burleigh Board­rid­ers, who he says are the back­bone of his surf­ing en­deav­ours.

“They are re­ally sup­port­ive of what I do and I wouldn’t be where I am with­out them,” he said.

My ul­ti­mate goal would be to qual­ify for the world tour but it’s a long road. If any­thing I just want to keep en­joy­ing what I’m do­ing.

— Liam O’brien

PHOTO: WSL

IM­PRES­SIVE YEAR: Burleigh Board­rider Liam O’brien has had a huge year in the World Qual­i­fy­ing Se­ries, win­ning three events to crack the top 100.

PHOTO: WSL/TIM HAIN

Liam O’brien is chaired up the beach by his mates af­ter win­ning the West Sum­bawa Pro, In­done­sia.

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