Keely Andrew is looking forward to the World Surf League Championship Tour starting in Hawaii on Saturday. Picture: Patrick Woods
Keely Andrew is looking forward to the World Surf League Championship Tour starting in Hawaii on Saturday. Picture: Patrick Woods

Sunshine Coast surfers prepare for Maui Pro

Mooloolaba surfer Keely Andrew is set to hit the waves in Hawaii with the women's 2021 World Surf League Championship Tour due to kick off on Saturday.

The Maui Pro will mark the first competition for the world's top women surfers in almost a year after the tour was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew said she was looking forward to getting back into it.

"I'm excited for the tour to restart," Andrew said.

"For me personally the last couple of years have been a roller coaster ride with injury and requalification, so to get the season started again with my body at 100 per cent, I'm really looking forward to it."

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The 26 year old said she felt prepared despite a lack of competition in 2020.

"Once it was all called on there wasn't a lot of time to get everything sorted," she said.

"However, I was able to get a solid block of training done in the gym and surf leading up to the season.

"It was my first time at home for winter in seven years so it was a very different experience and I was able to get into a routine which kept things going smoothly.

"We got some really good waves throughout the year at home and it was nice to take a step back and really appreciate how incredible the Sunshine Coast is."

The tour will be different this year for men and the women with the finals set to take place at Lower Trestles.

The top five men and top five women at the end of the regular season will go head to head for a one-day, winner-take-all shot at the title.

The Mooloolaba surfer was not fazed by the changes though.

"We've known for a few years now that the World Surf League were wanting to change the schedule of events, so for it to finally happen wasn't a surprise at all," Andrew said.

"I think it's a good change and a challenging way to start the year."

Isabella Nichols celebrates winning the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast on October 7. Picture: Kelly Cestari
Isabella Nichols celebrates winning the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast on October 7. Picture: Kelly Cestari

Andrew will be joined on the tour by fellow Sunshine Coast surfer Isabella Nichols.

"I've watched Isabella surf from when she was a little grom so it's great to see her graduate to the tour," she said.

"It'll be fun to see the tour through fresh eyes again."

Andrew will meet Lakey Peterson from the US and Australian Nikki Van Dijk in her first heat.

Nichols will have her first taste of competition against American Caroline Mark and returning Aussie Tyler Wright.