Cole Houshmand Weaponizes Powerful Diff To Bank 18.97 Points In North Narra Final - Stab Mag
Cole, diff engaged. Photo by WSL

Cole Houshmand Weaponizes Powerful Diff To Bank 18.97 Points In North Narra Final

Issy Nichols gets a w, Aussies lead the Challenger Series.

news // May 22, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 3 minutes

I was trying to mind surf North Narrabeen this morning and couldn’t figure out what to do. And I rip at mind-surfing. 

Pretty classic conditions for a Sydney beachy in a South swell. Punchy and disorganized with the odd diamond in the rough. Cole Houshmand managed to pocket two diamonds in the final, posting 18.97 points to combo Jacob Willcox and win his first ever Challenger Series event. Took seven 2%ers taking turns to carry his muscly diff up the berm. Outstanding.

Kolohe, Cros and some heavy cargo. Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League


  • Cole Houshmand posts 18.97 heat total in final, claims maiden CS victory
  • Issy Nichols defeats Sally Fitzgibbons in all-Aussie final
  • Jacob Willcox and India Robinson lead the CS rankings
  • Jett Schilling and Cole Houshmand earn wildcards in Lemoore CT

Men’s semi-final

Only four forty minute heats today. A quick one. 

Jackson Baker vs Cole Houshmand got SF1 started at the highly specific time of 10:17. Two powerful surfers with opposed stances. Goofs had the advantage with their face to the wall, lots of tricky sections/unpredictable angles you wanted to keep an eye on.

Jacko found two scores in the mid-six range, neither had quite the same venom Cole struck with. “Stoked to get a third after giving these guys a head start in Snapper. Looking forward to requalifying for the CT where I feel I belong,” said the Bakehouse post heat. 

Marco Mignot looked out of sorts against Jacob Willcox in SF2. The Frenchman picked a few duds and his turns were a little weak and two-staged. Tough gig trying to beat the West Australian in anything over four feet. The 7.87 to 13.13 heat totals reflected that. 

Women’s final

Going into the lip proved to be the unlock in the women’s final. Issy Nichols was awarded an 8.17 for a downcarve to lip bash that sealed the heat. Sal opted for mid-face turns on foamy mid-size sets with a compressed stance. Post-victory Issy told Stace, “Came into this event in a bad headspace honestly. I Wasn’t sure if i was going to surf. But I’ve hung around good people this week who lifted me up.” 

Sal and Issy now sit at #2 and #3 respectively on the Challenger Series rankings. 

Irukanji cheer. Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

Men’s final

The men’s final was the best heat of the day by a mile. Cole immediately struck gold finding a six foot left that allowed him to squeeze in four turns. The 6’3” San Clemente didn’t leave any meat on the bone and was rewarded with a 9.17 within the opening five minutes. 

Jacob responded with two waves in the mid-six range, the first for a big single turn, the second for a short but critical tube. After picking off a closeout he handed priority over to Cole, who completed two Gabriel Medina spec finners on a dredging left. 

One judge went as far as giving him a perfect 10. It averaged out to a 9.8. 

Heat over.

CS Rankings update

  • Aussies currently hold the number #1 spot on the men’s and women’s Challenger Series.
  • Australian females hold top 3 positions
  • Ladybird Bella Kenworthy sits just outside bubble in 7th
  • Three 2%ers sit inside top 10 on men’s rankings


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