Zaffis to lock boards with former World title contender
SURFING: Angourie surfer Chris Zaffis has booked a tough second-round showdown with former World Tour hopeful Matt Wilkinson at Manly.
Zaffis fought his way through a series of small waves to advance through the first round of the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro qualifying series event yesterday.
Zaffis pulled out enough stops in the surf at Manly to see off willing competitors Hawaii's Noa Mizuno and rising Australian talent Kalani Ball in the opening round.
But his task in the highly-competitive QS6000 event has not been made aqny easier as he squares up against 2016 Bells Beach champion Wilkinson.
The one-time world title contender is back on the qualifying series after he came crashing back to Earth, and off the world tour, last season.
Wilkinson went from back-to-back fifth-placed finishes on the world circuit in 2016-17 to falling out of the required top-22 ranking last year.
But it was a fall from grace which has helped reignite his competition hunger to be back on top of the world.
"I'm not finished yet," Wilkinson told The Daily Telegraph. "Don't write me off just yet.''
Now the 30-year-old is plotting his return to the top echelon, via the rough and tumble world of the qualifying tour where he will come up against desperate and dangerous youngsters chasing their dream.
And Zaffis, 23, has become one of those youngsters.
The pair will square off in the final heat of the second round, likely to be surfed late this afternoon, against Frenchman Joan Duru and Peru's Miguel Tudela, who sits 5th on the WQS leaderboard.