Zaffis pipped at the post; best finish at home
SURFING: Angourie surfer Chris Zaffis has kick started his quest to breach the top 100 surfers in the World Surf League qualifying series in a big way at the Carve Pro.
Making his way through the early heats with ease, Zaffis narrowly missed out on his first QS quarter-final berth in Australia by a mere 1.20 wave score.
It almost appeared like he had done enough, pulling off a massive air reverse in the toothless swell, but it was not enough for the judges.
"That air right at the end was awesome, but it didn't quite score as much as I would have hoped," he said.
"It was close, but no cigar this time around.
"It is still my best finish in an Australian QS event and I am very happy to kick the year off with that."
Zaffis showed what he could do when the swell is up in the early stages, but as the competition wore on into days four and five, the tide took its toll on the surf.
The event at Maroubra was Zaffis' first competitive surf in almost five months after he was injured towards the end of last year's series.
Zaffis' time out of the surf in 2017 saw his qualifying ranking slip out of the top 150, but he is ready to put that in the past.
"It was tough taking time out of competition but it felt really good getting back into the swing of things last week," Zaffis said.
"I have spent a long time training and getting myself ready for this. I felt like I just reached 100 per cent going into it.
"I was still pretty nervous though. I knew I had done everything I could, but it is a lot different going from free surfing at home to surfing in a competitive environment."
With a good result already on the board, Zaffis is ready to keep the train rolling as he aims to finish even stronger.
It is a ride that will see him stop off at the 2018 Flight Centre Burleigh Pro Surf Festival this weekend.
While excited for the chance to surf against some of the best in the world on a hefty point break, it will mean Zaffis misses out on one of his favourite events, the Pippi Beach Classic.
"I am spewing, this has happened two years in a row now and it sucks to miss out," he said.
The Classic will run from January 26-27.