Jan Juc local Xavier Huxtable is heading back to Bells Beach to compete in the 2023 Rip Curl Pro for the second time as a wildcard.
Huxtable, alongside Tweed Heads’ Kobie Enright, snagged the two remaining wildcard slots yesterday (April 1) in the Rip Curl Pro Trials at Bells Beach.
In solid two-metre (six-feet) surf, both Huxtable and Enright posted superb scores in their respective finals capping off a dominant day of action.
Local favourite Huxtable showed onlookers why he will be a dangerous surfer at this year’s Rip Curl Pro.
“I am certainly better prepared to face the world’s best and in my home waters in front of family and friends is such a great experience.
“I’ll give it my absolute best.”
Huxtable notched up a tidy 14.47 in his final heat, knocking over Willis Droomer (Jan Juc), Tully Wylie (Jan Juc) and Willem Watson (Mornington Peninsula) in the process.
Huxtable last made an appearance on the Championship Tour pre-COVID as a pro junior surfer in 2019, where he almost toppled heavy favourite Kelly Slater in his Round Two heat.
Four years on since his last wildcard acquisition, Huxtable has grown into a more powerful surfer on the qualifying tour.
Huxtable will square off with fellow Australian and world number 1 Jack Robinson, and arguably the greatest surfer of all time, Kelly Slater (USA), in a blockbuster Round 1 heat.
For Enright, her win yesterday concluded an amazing week for the emerging surfer.
She placed third in last week’s qualifying event in Newcastle, where she finished the Australian region’s top ranked Qualifying Series surfer.
As a result, she also qualified her for the international Challenger Series.
Enright opened her final heat with a tremendous 8.8 ride, bolstered by another excellent 7.8 ride.
Late in the final, USA surfer Alyssa Spencer found a strong scoring seven-point ride to finish runner-up in a final, but only the winner took the prized wildcard.
Read full Surf Coast Times story here.
Xavier Huxtable is heading back to the Rip Curl Pro after winning the Trials event yesterday (April 1). It will be his second event appearance as a wildcard. Photos: STEVE ROBERTSON