Keely Andrew stands tall with rivals on world stage
AUSTRALIA'S top coach has issued an ominous warning to the world's surfing elite as the Sunshine Coast's Keely Andrew continues her march towards a maiden world tour berth.
Andy King believes title contenders Stephanie Gilmore, Carissa Moore, Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright should be on high alert as the talented 18-year-old prepares to confront them on the world stage.
"She's going to put them on notice," King said.
"She will just burst on to the tour and have an instant impact."
Andrew has established herself as one of the world's top prospects in her first full year on the World Qualifying Series.
She made the quarter-finals in three of the four six-star events leading up to this week's stop in France, where she was expected to compete for a quarter-final berth last night.
ASP number cruncher Al Hunt wrote in the lead-up to the event that Andrew was on track to become one of the six WQS surfers to gain entry into next year's world tour.
Deep runs in the draw in France and the six-star event in Portugal should clinch her that spot and then Andrew will really get the opportunity to shine, King believes.
"Once she gets on the better waves on the WCT, that's where you will really see her make an impact," he said.
"And she's got so much to learn because she really only busted on to the scene when she was 17.
"Right now she's getting by on natural ability and there's so much room for development that it's scary.
"She has massive amounts of the things you can't teach - the flow, the timing, the positioning - but her strategic side is nowhere near the other girls' because she didn't follow that usual pathway."
KING said Andrew was largely unknown before last year because she did not compete in as many of the international junior events as other top prospects.
"We really convinced her to go around it (the WQS) last year and she almost qualified with about half the events," he said.
"This year she's had a full go around and she's just been phenomenal."
King said Andrew reminded him of Buderim's Dimity Stoyle, the world tour's top rookie with four events remaining.
"They are both eager to learn and don't have egos," King said.
"You saw Dimity come on to the tour this year and instantly make an impact. I would expect nothing short of that from Keely."