Florence and Slater Focus on Pipeline Win

Source: WSL

John John Florence (HAW) freed up in Haleiwa. Image: WSL / Freesurf / Heff

Current World champion John John Florence (HAW) drew an enthusiastic crowd to Haleiwa Ali‘i Beach for Day 3 of the Hawaiian Pro, a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 event and the first stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. After a heartwarming homecoming and the biggest victory of his career, Florence competes at Haleiwa with no pressure, which made for a highly entertaining performance featuring his signature free surfing style.

Florence has yet to win the Billabong Pipe Masters, but has taken a Vans Triple Crown title in 2013 and 2011, and saw victory at Sunset during the 2011 Vans World Cup. With a strong appetite to win in his backyard, John John is off to a successful start after advancing in first from his Round Three heat.

”Winning Pipe would really top my year off,” said Florence. “Winning the Triple Crown and Pipe would really do it for me. But I’m just taking the whole thing relaxed. I feel like that’s what I did this year, I felt relaxed and focused, finding that balance between the two. Having no pressure and being able to surf these events is really cool because you’re not sitting out there nervous or anything like that. You’re not thinking about falling or anything. I’m just having fun. I’m just going to keep this mindset through Sunset and then get ready for Pipe.”

Florence went up against a fiery heat that included former Vans Triple Crown champion and Hawaiian Pro winner Sebastian Zietz (HAW), talented dark horse Torrey Meister (HAW) and Australia’s Dion Atkinson.

While every surfer has their sights set on a win in Hawaii, nobody tops Kelly Slater (USA) when it comes to seeking a John John upset at Pipeline. Last year at the Billabong Pipe Masters, Florence lost to the 11x World Champion in Round 4.

“More than anything I want to win Pipeline,” said Slater. “Triple Crown is second to that. To me, Pipeline is the one you want to win of any contest in the world, that or The Eddie. That’s going to be where my focus is. But if I can do well in these first two events and then have a shot at Pipe, obviously if you win any of these contests, Triple Crown is in the conversation.”

Slater competed at the Hawaiian Pro for the first time in four years and started his campaign off strong with a 9.00, the highest single wave score of the morning, and the heat win. He had victory earlier this year at the first Qualifying Series (QS) event of 2016, the Volcom Pipe Pro, and then again at the Billabong Pro Tahiti in August, and is hungry for another win.

In the most jaw-dropping performance of the day, Griffin Colapinto (USA) scored a 9.93 in the last second of the heat for a hail mary air reverse on a closeout. Touted as one of the best heat finales ever at Haleiwa, Colapinto catapulted from third to first and knocked Tanner Gudauskas (USA) out of the competition.

“That was such a big heat with so many big guys, everyone was pretty much on the CT in that heat,” said Colapinto. “I thought I was doing good to start and then I needed a big score and then I just made it happen I guess… I’ve got the most confidence in the world right now. I just beat Jordy Smith, he’s one of my favorite surfers, I always love watching him surf before I go freesurf, like in Modern Collective so to beat him at a good wave feels really good.”

With above-the-lip progression, Colapinto, 18, surfed well beyond his years to advance into Round 4.

Another standout in today’s conditions was local boy Keanu Asing (HAW), who took the heat win ahead of Tahitian powerhouse Mihimana Braye (PYF), Yago Dora (BRA) and Alex Ribeiro (BRA). Asing had his first professional victory on the CT in France last month, which shot him up the rankings to No. 23 on the Jeep Leader Board. One step closer to a win on home turf, Asing is already celebrating the Hawaii wins thus far.

“It’s so exciting, just seeing the elevation of our Hawaiian athletes surfing,” said Asing. “It’s just been such a growth and been such a long time coming. Right now we get to celebrate that here in Hawaii at the end of the year. We have a new World Champion and we have a few event winners. There’s no better feeling than to celebrate that. There’s a lot for Hawaii to be proud of. For me, it’s very exciting to be celebrating with everybody, it is so enjoyable.”

Finals day at the Hawaiian Pro looks likely for this Friday, November 18 as the waves are forecast to rev back up for a solid NNW swell in the 10-15ft. range.

World Champion Surfer Heads for Vans Triple Crown

Source: WSL

john john, surfing
John John Florence at the Met Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Image: WSL/Cestari/Poullenot

After claiming the 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Title and event win in Portugal on October 24, Hawaii’s newly crowned World Champion John John Florence is home to compete in all three events of the 34th Annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

The series of events runs  from November 12 – December 20. and Florence, 24, will be looking for a continuation of his recently unstoppable form heading into the Hawaiian winter of events. Florence has previously claimed the esteemed Vans Triple Crown title in 2013 and 2011 and looks extremely polished after his most successful campaign in six years on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour.

2011 marked a winning year for Florence, as he also took the event victory at the Vans World Cup, the second gem of the Vans Triple Crown. He has yet to claim a win at the Hawaiian Pro in Haleiwa however, and the highly coveted Billabong Pipe Masters title still eludes him as well.

The first two events of the series are the highest rated on the WSL International Qualifying Series (QS) tour and the final stops for surfers looking to complete their year-end rankings with a solid result. The Billabong Pipe Masters concludes the WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour, is the third gem of the Vans Triple Crown, and happens to be Florence’s backyard break. The industry is positioned to witness what could be the most historical year ever for Hawaii surfing during the 2016 Vans Triple Crown.

Florence has returned the world title to Hawaiian soil after a twelve-year hiatus since the late Andy Irons won it in 2004. The win comes at a pivotal turning point for Hawaii surfing, as the WSL region has recently opened doors on a brick and mortar building and accomplished its first year under new leadership. Jodi Wilmott, General Manager of WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui and Executive Director of the Vans Triple Crown has taken the region to new heights and sees John John’s win as the beginning of a new era for professional surfing in Hawaii.

Destined for greatness, Florence, was the youngest competitor ever to compete in the Vans Triple Crown at the age of 13 in 2005.

The Hawaiian Pro QS10,000 is in its 32nd year of running this November and kick starts the surf series at Haleiwa Ali‘i Beach Park. Noted as a WSL specialty event, the Vans Triple Crown will determine seven winners over a span of 39 days and boasts a total prize purse of more than $1.1 million.

2016 also marks 40 years of the professional world surfing tour, which began in Hawaii in 1976 by surfing visionaries Fred Hemmings and Randy Rarick. Over the last four decades, the world tour has grown and spread around the globe to now encompass eleven tour stops, eight different countries and five continents.

This year will see the highly anticipated arrival of homegrown hero and native Hawaiian surfer Ezekiel Lau, who returns to Oahu after competing in Brazil for a QS6,000 and a year of international events. In strong contention to join the elite 32 surfers on the 2017 Championship Tour (CT), a good result at the Hawaiian Pro could mean a monumental leap in Lau’s professional career. After a third place finish in the 2015 Hawaiian Pro, Zeke is focused on finding another good result at the challenging Vans Triple Crown venue.

“Being able to compete in front of a home crowd is always a great feeling,” said Lau. “The energy this time of year is electrifying. I’m looking to embrace it all and enjoy every second of it.”

Lau has been laser focused on the QS tour for four consecutive years and recently placed runner up at the Azores Airlines Pro QS6,000 for a significant bump up in ratings points.

“My ultimate goal is to win,” continued Lau. “That’s my goal every time I put on a jersey. The only thing that changes is that I sleep in my own bed and wake up and compete in my backyard.”

Of the 128-man field confirmed for the Hawaiian Pro, 21 of the world’s best surfers will compete from the CT, including world No. 3 Jordy Smith (ZAF) and No. 4 Matt Wilkinson (AUS).

Other local contenders like Maui’s Dusty Payne (2014 Hawaiian Pro winner) and Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz (2012 Hawaiian Pro winner) will be familiar faces among the international crowd, while Italian standout Leonardo Fioravanti will put his progressive surfing to the test and defending event winner Wade Carmichael (AUS) will work to regain a second title.

Succeeding the Hawaiian Pro is the Vans World Cup of Surfing (November 24 – December 6) at Sunset Beach, followed by the Billabong Pipe Masters (December 8 – 20), which concludes both the CT and Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The infamous surfing trilogy highlights Hawaii’s most revered waves but more importantly, recognizes the athletes who risk it all to be the best.


The 2015 Billabong Pipe Masters drew the largest American surf audience ever with 1 million+ fans watching live, many who used the WSL app, which is on track for its 2 millionth download by the end of the Hawaii leg, 2016.

2-Days until Big Wave Surfing Starts in Maui

Source: WSL

Greg Long tackles Pe’ahi. Photo: WSL/BWWT

On Tuseday, the World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) placed the Pe’ahi Challenge in Haiku, Hawaii on Green Alert to potentially commence at 2pm (local time) on Thursday, November 10, 2016 with a projected 30-foot-plus swell heading towards the region.

“We have been tracking a storm from the Pacific Northwest and anticipate a promising swell to deliver for our first BWT event of the Northern Hemisphere season,” said Peter Mel, WSL BWT Commissioner. “We are calling the Pe’ahi Challenge ON for a possible start on Thursday afternoon, 2pm call, with swell expected to hold through Friday. We expect 30-foot-plus waves with favorable winds and tides.”

The Pe’ahi Challenge will be contested by 24 men, led by current rankings’ leader Grant Baker (ZAF), reigning BWT Champion Greg Long (USA), and defending event winner Billy Kemper (HAW).

For the first time in WSL Big Wave Tour history, the world’s best female big wave surfers will compete at Pe’ahi with 12 individuals vying for the maiden women’s title.

“We’re incredibly proud to be introducing a women’s event this season,” Mel continued. “These ladies as some of the most dedicated, passionate and talented big wave surfers on the planet. It will be phenomenal to witness them tackle Pe’ahi.”

Pe’ahi, known as “Jaws,” breaks off the northern coastline of Maui with the ability to produce waves in excess of 60 feet. The event premiered on the BWT last winter with exceptional performances in epic conditions. All eyes will be on this venue this year to see the top ranked BWT surfers take on the monstrous conditions.

Surfline, official forecasters for the 2016/17 WSL BWT season are calling for:

Another strong winter storm is currently sliding across the Bering Sea/Aleutians, packing a good fetch for Hawaii with wind speeds up to 35-50kts. Meanwhile, the same storm that pushed out the current NNW pulse is still holding a fetch aimed at the Islands, but now located up in the Gulf of Alaska.

The Pe’ahi Challenge will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com and on the WSL app.

For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com.

Environmentally Friendly Paddleboard Event set for Fiji

Source: ISA

Paddleboard, Fiji
Through a partnership with Starboard, the ISA aims to set a new standard for sustainable practices and offset carbon footprint of the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship. Photo: Namotu

The International Surfing Association (ISA) and the Local Organizing Committee for the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship, Tourism Fiji, have set a new standard in sustainable practices by aiming to make the competition, which will take place from 12-20 November, carbon neutral.  

To offset the carbon footprint created by the Championship, 4,000 mangroves will be planted to absorb up to 4,000 tons of CO2 over the next 20 years thanks to a new partnership with the Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park in Myanmar and Starboard.

Mangrove climate parks are the latest natural tool to be developed in the fight against climate change and work by filtering pollutants to protect sea grasses and corals. They are also a living bioshield against storms and tsunamis and a critical food source for sea life.

At the 2016 Fiji ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championship, the world renowned wave of Cloudbreak will host the SUP Surfing and Technical Races along with the start of the Distances Races, which will traverse 18 kilometers past the islands of Tavarua and Namotu, culminating in a scenic finish at Musket Cove.

The Team Relay Races will be held on the west coast of Fiji’s main island, Viti Levu, at Port Denarau.

StandUp Paddle (SUP) is a core discipline of the ISA and it is one of the world’s fastest growing watersports. SUP was part of the ISA’s submission for Olympic inclusion at Tokyo 2020.

Fernando Aguerre, ISA President, said:

“The ocean is our playing field and it is vital that as the world governing body for Surfing and SUP we lead by example and do everything we can to protect and nurture the aquatic environment and its eco systems. This is a very important matter for the ISA and we are thrilled to agree a landmark partnership with Thor Heyerdahl Climate Park and Starboard. We look forward to working together to ensure we play our part in defending our planet from carbon emissions and climate change.”

Svein Rasmussen, Chief Innovator at Starboard, said:

“The oceans where we practice water sports regulate the climate and house 99% of the biosphere, controlling the weather and providing oxygen for every breath we take. We are excited to see the ISA involved in the efficient mangrove planting program and look forward to reviewing all the participants’ flights and emissions for the total calculation to ensure that the mangrove planting will balance the emissions. Mangroves have a vital role in protection of lives and properties in vulnerable coastal communities from tsunamis and extreme weather. Mangroves increase sea food stocks up to 50% and have several important features that help curb climate change.”

ISA Website

Riders get ready for the 2016 IWWF Cable Wakeboard World Championships in Mexico!

By Gerti Ring

Wake boarding
Julia Rick in action. Image: IWWF/Daniel Fetz

The world’s best wakeboarders and wakeskaters will fight for the world championship titles at Morelos Acuaski Action Park, Mexico, from November 4 to 12, 2016.

The Cable Wakeboard World Championships of the International Waterski & Wakeboard Federation (IWWF) are held every two years and will take place at Tequesquitengo in the Mexican state of Morelos and thus held in the PANAM Confederation for the first time ever. The strong field features 200 riders from 25 nations, including most of the top riders of the world ranking such as Lior Sofer (ISR), Timo Kapl (AUT), Julia Rick (GER), and Victoria Sosulina (RUS). .

Image: IWWF/Daniel Fetz

Thrilling competition, demanding course and wakeboarding’s cream of the crop show their hottest trickery on kickers and rails: the 9th Cable Wakeboard World Championships promise wakeboarding action at its best. The warm weather and the fresh water of Lake Tequesquitengo make the region a watersport paradise.

“Teques” looks back to a long history of waterskiing and wakeboarding, breeding the best athletes of the country. Situated not far away from the world-famous ruins of Xochicalco, spectators can expect lots of exciting high-class competitions. Morelos Acuaski Action Park provides a 5-tower cable park with a stunning set-up featuring several funpark elements such as 2 kickers, funbox, flat bar and pipe rail.

The opening ceremony of the 9th Cable Wakeboard World Championships will take place on Friday, November 4, 2016. From Saturday to Tuesday, the qualification rounds and finals of the wakeboard Boys & Girls, Juniors, Masters and Veterans
categories will follow. The qualifications and semi-finals in the wakeboard Open Men and Women as well as the Seated categories will begin on Tuesday, November 7, with the finals taking place on Saturday, November 12. Accordingly, wakeskate competitions will be held in the Juniors and Open Men and Women categories.

The field boasts the world’s leading cable wakeboarders, including reigning world champion Lior Sofer (ISR), reigning German champion and current third of the world cup ranking, Miles Töller (GER), vice world champion, San Im (KOR), as well as Ariano Blanik (GER) and Philipp Turba (AUT) who are both currently sitting on fifth place of the world cup ranking level on point.

At the Open Women category, favourites include vice world champion and current leader of the world cup ranking, Julia Rick (GER), and the second of the world cup ranking, Victoria Sosulina (RUS).

For up-to-date information and the exact dates of the live webcast, please, click here.

Mahina Maeda Claims Surfing Win on the North Shore

Source: WSL

Maeda in action at Turtle Bay. © Heff/WSL

In the final, most anticipated Pro Junior event of the season, Noa Mizuno (Kuliouou, Oahu) and Mahina Maeda (Sunset Beach, Oahu) captured the win at the Turtle Bay Resort Pro Junior, the last World Surf League (WSL) Junior Qualifying Series (JQS) of the year. Today’s success saw Mizuno advance past Cody Young (Makawao, Maui) for the Regional Junior Champion title, while Brisa Hennessy (Kailua, Oahu) grabbed the title in the women’s division and runner-up place behind Maeda. Mizuno and Maeda’s performances catapulted them into the qualifying slots for the World Junior Championship in Australia this January.

With so much at stake during this event the upsets were inevitable, but ultimately 8 surfers stood atop the podium to be awarded with checks, leis and scholarships. Joining Mizuno, Maeda, Young and Hennessy in January’s World Junior Championships are Noah Hill (Maui), who placed third in today’s event, and Christopher Bluthardt (Oahu).

Hennessy was a standout during the event and talked about what it means to secure the Regional Junior Champion title: “It feels so good. It was kind of stressful going into this event knowing that there’s so many amazing surfers trying to qualify so I was kind of nervous, but it feels so good to come out on top.”

The Men’s Final saw a nail-biting back and forth battle between Mizuno and Young, while the coastline crowd cheered and whistled as 4-6ft. sets marched through the lineup. Mizuno dropped the highest single wave score of the heat, a 9.15, and backed it up with a 6.20 to take the lead over Young, who stayed equally busy but ultimately fell short by a point.

Turtle Bay Resort provided an epic venue for the final stop on the JQS Hawaii tour. Image: WSL/Freesurf/Keoki
Turtle Bay Resort provided an epic venue for the final stop on the JQS Hawaii tour. Image: WSL/Freesurf/Keoki

“I’m just stoked, I worked hard for this,” said Mizuno. “This is my first big win and to just take the regional title and go to Australia as the top Hawaii contender is probably one of the best feelings for me. I’m just stoked how this day turned out because a lot of hard work was put into this and it’s good to know it paid off.”

The women’s Final saw four out of the top five ranked junior women battle it out for the title, but Maeda’s backhand proved unbeatable in the challenging conditions. Hennessy, Summer Macedo (Maui) and Zoe McDougall (Oahu) fell to the former WSL World Junior Champion in second, third and fourth place respectively.

“The final was really intense and the girls that I went up against were the team that I traveled with back in Azores, so it was kind of like a Hawaii surf team class, it was just super fun,” said Maeda. “All of us were pushing each other and Brisa just came back from the Azores as the ISA World Junior Champion, so she was definitely the one person to beat. I’m just really glad I redeemed myself in that heat.”

Maeda had the strongest wave of the Final, an 8.0, and backed it up with a 4.75, however Hennessy nipped on her heels with a 6.90 and 5.50, only .35 points behind Maeda. Macedo showed true grit in the lineup after injuring herself a day prior to the competition. Although her performance was not enough to take the win, this was a personal victory for the event.

Finn McGill (Oahu) threw down the highest heat total of the event, a near perfect 19.00 in the first round after nailing a 9.75 and backing it up with a 9.25. McGill missed out in the Semifinals, but will go on to surf in the next WSL Hawaii event, the HIC Pro, Presented by Vans, October 27 – November 9. This event will see many of the juniors from today compete against the world’s best and is the official regional qualifying event into the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, November 12 – December 20.

Surfers listed from 1st through 4th, all surfers from Hawaii unless otherwise noted.

1st – Noa Mizuno, (Men’s Regional Champion)
2nd – Cody Young
3rd – Noah Hill
4th – Barron Mamiya

1st – Mahina Maeda
2nd – Brisa Hennessy (Women’s Regional Champion)
3rd – Summer Macedo
4th – Zoe McDougall

Website: World Surf League

Justine Dupont Unleashes Surfing Fury in Costa Rica

Source: WSL

Justine Dupont (FRA) unleashed the highest single-wave score of Rounds 2 and 3 of the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 with an 8.93 in Round 3 Heat 1. Image: WSL/ Johan Pacheo

A massive day of competition got underway at the World Surf League (WSL) Essential Costa Rica Open Pro Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000. The Pacific Ocean provided a new swell that offered competitors excellent scoring potential at the exotic beachbreak of Esterillos Este. Quarterfinal draws are set for both the men and women after men’s Rounds 5 and 6 were completed alongside women’s Rounds 2 and 3.

Top seeds made their debuts in Round 2 of women’s competition and proved to be nearly too much for fellow competitors with brilliant performances throughout the day.

Former CT competitor and current WQS No. 10 Justine Dupont (FRA) edged her way out of her Round 2 debut, but found her form in Round 3 with a blistering 8.93 (out of a possible 10) on her forehand to close out the heat. The French competitor looks to drop her lowest result, an Equal 17th in El Salvador, for a chance to find herself back in the qualification picture heading into the final events of 2016.

“I felt like I was in good form during my free surfs, but that first heat was tricky to find a good one and didn’t surf so well,” Dupont said. “This heat was going that same way until the last minutes when I found that really good one which was great to show my surfing. My strategy was to stay active at the beginning with it being a little slow and to get two scores — once I found those I was able to be more selective.”

“A few of these girls here are on the hunt for points coming to the end of the year and this is a really important start toward that,” Dupont continued. “It’s coming down to just a few events to get qualification points so we’re all hoping for a big result. Looking forward, it’s all going to come to the end and last contest, but I have to stay focused on the task at hand.”

Dupont will take on Round 2 standout Mahina Maeda (HAW) in Quarterfinal Heat 1.

Fellow Frenchmen and current No. 8 Pauline Ado (FRA) is hunting for a place back on the CT and boasted an even more electrifying performance with an excellent 16.43 (out of a possible 20) heat total. After a close Round 2 heat, Ado came back firing on all cylinders and looked unstoppable posting an 8.83 as her opening score with powerful turns in the critical sections of the wave. Despite winning the Pro Zarautz, Ado’s 1,000 points for that victory will need to be forgotten if she is to make her way back to the CT.

“The first heat is always a bit tricky and I was feeling a bit nervous so going into the second round I just wanted to find a good rhythm,” Ado said. “It ended up being really fun and I found a really good one in the beginning which gave me a lot of confidence in that heat. I wanted to be patient, but after that first heat of waiting I just needed to get a back up right away — it’s good when your strategy goes well. This is a unique event with the CT happening at the same time so it opens up some opportunity and my goal is always to improve my points.”

Ado will face Anali Gomez (PER) in Quarterfinal Heat 2. Silvana Lima (BRA), Paige Hareb (NZL), Alyssa Spencer (USA), and Brianna Cope (HAW) all advanced into the Quarterfinals.

Fireworks followed the women’s Round 3 action with an onslaught of excellent scores coming from Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Vasco Ribeiro (PRT).

Ewing began the heat with a near-perfect 9.50 on his backhand with numerous, critical maneuvers until finishing the wave off — backing it up with 8.73 by the end of the heat for Round 5’s highest heat total of 18.23. Vasco had a hefty lead throughout the heat with an 8.00 and 7.00, but ended up comboing the field with his last wave, an 8.33, to earn runner-up.

“It was just so fun out there, I looked at that first one and let Miguel [Tudela] go on it and the one after that was just perfect,” Ewing said. “That was a wave that I didn’t even try to over surf and just connect the dots, made sure to finish it — it was just amazing. After that I settled down a bit and looked for another good one which ended up coming my way.”

Ewing will face off with Fredrico Morais (PRT) Quarterfinal Heat 2.

“Not getting the results I needed in Europe took a toll on my confidence so to come here and get those scores really help going forward,” Ewing continued. “Especially coming up against Noe Mar [McGonagle] in his home country, that was pretty sick. This is my first time in Costa Rica and it’s amazing here. Now I’ll rest up tonight and I’m super excited for tomorrow.”

Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) lit up Esterillos Este in front of a home crowd full of Costa Rican spectators to open up Round 6 of competition. Taking on Ewing, and Round 5 standouts Luke Dillon (GBR) and Tomas Fernandes (PRT), McGonagle took care of business right away with a 16.33 heat total on his first two waves.

“It was really nice to get some fun waves today and stoked to get those two eights right away,” McGonagle said. “We’ve been having a few big events here with ISA a few months ago and it’s really exciting to see surfing growing as much as it is here. I really have no experience on this wave until a few days ago and it’s differently tricky, but there’s some really good ones out there. Just really stoked and hoping I can bring home a win for the home crowd.”

McGonagle will face 17-year-old Jordy Collins (USA) in the opening Quarterfinal match ups, someone who has been playing spoiler throughout the event for some of the fellow contest’s standouts — and top tier QS competitors. Dispatching current WQS No. 4 Deivid Silva (BRA) in Round 5, Collins continued that steam and eliminated former World Junior Champion Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) and No. 29 Santiago Muniz (ARG).

“I’m just so stoked right now, this is my best result on the QS and whatever happens tomorrow happens — I’m just enjoying it all,” Collins said. “It really doesn’t even feel like I’m surfing heats with it being so fun out there. There’s really good sections that form up and with that little bit of wind chop at low tide, it’s just so fun. I’m favoring my forehand just being so used to surfing lefts back home and really can’t wait for another heat.”

Olamana Eleogram (HAW), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), Dimitri Ouvre (BLM), and Timothee Bisso (GLP) all earned spots into the Quarterfinals.

Spectacular SUP Showcases on the Horizon

Source: Waterman League

Image: Waterman League

After five years of spectacular events hosted at the beautiful Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s Fabled North Shore, the World Series Finals has moved for 2016, to create a new home on the Valley Isle of Maui not only for this year, but as a minimum, for the next three years.

The principal reason for this move is that there is no doubt that Maui has established itself as a global racing epicenter, with incredibly consistent tradewinds and ideal conditions for downwind paddling that have made the ‘Maliko Run’ one of the World’s Premier downwind courses.

In addition, Ho’okipa Beach Park provides the ideal arena for one of the most spectacular sprint racing courses imaginable, where a dynamic ‘M’ course will take the athletes in and out through the surf towards the Point for one of the most dramatic Sprint eliminations yet.

Finally, the nature of the Downwind run in particular opens up the opportunity for significant growth in the Pro-Am and Amateur level competition, where Turtle Bay has traditionally been a more exclusively elite event given the nature of the conditions and variables involved.

We are excited to open up this event to the world, with a mix of the very best athletes in the world battling it out for the World Championship Crown and enthusiasts taking on one of the world’s most popular and consistent downwind runs as we create our new home for the World Series on Maui.

Read more

Big Day of Surfing for World’s Best in France

Source: WSL INTL

Filipe Toledo (BRA) put on a stunning performance today with a Perfect 10 to win his Round 4 Heat 2 battle against current World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW) and Stuart Kennedy (AUS) at the Quiksilver Pro France. Image: © WSL / Poullenot

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, Stop No. 9 on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), resumed in excellent four-to-six foot (1.2 – 2 metre) surf at Culs Nus. The Quiksilver Pro ran through the all-decisive Round 3 as well as the three-man non-elimination Round 4 to decide the event’s first four Quarterfinalists. The women also powered through Round 3 to determine the first four Quarterfinalists of the Roxy Pro.

The World Title race kept everyone on their toes as John John Florence (Haw) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) managed to stay alive in France while their direct competition Matt Wilkinson (AUS) joined the long list of top seeds failing to maintain a good rhythm in Hossegor.

A thrilling battle played out between World No. 1 Florence and Filipe Toledo (BRA) in their Round 4 matchup as the two aerialists kept pushing each other towards bigger maneuvers, lighting up the crowds every time they paddled for a wave. Both Florence and Toledo started with an excellent barrel ride each, then went to the air to send massive punts, Toledo leading the show with a Perfect 10 point ride for the win.

“I did not even know that I was needing a huge score, I just heard that John [Florence] had a 9.40 and I had an 8.50,” Toledo explained. “In a heat against John and Stuart [Kennedy] you have to go big because they have been ripping in the whole event. Round 4 is a good round to try some big airs and crazy stuff. That left came perfectly to me and it was amazing to beat John and go straight to the Quarters.”

Florence will have another chance when competition resumes, facing Adriano de Souza (BRA) in Round 5. Previous to that incredible show, Florence had already had a close call in Round 3 against rookie Ryan Callinan (AUS). In a similar scenario, Florence and Callinan did battle in the air with a slight edge this time for the Hawaiian.

“That was a super fun heat and I’m so stoked to have a heat with Ryan [Callinan],” Florence said. “He really pushes me and makes me want to do airs too. That was an interesting one and a real battle. The battles feel really good when you finish it, win or lose. It feels good to wear the Jeep Leader Jersey. I’ve surfed a few heats and I’m getting back into my rhythm.”

Gabriel Medina (BRA) barely escaped a treacherous matchup with giant killer Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) in Round 3. Medina had a strong start, but it was a patient Fioravanti who found an absolute gem in the lineup to navigate a great barrel and punctuate the ride with a snap for an 8.57, the heat’s biggest score. Ultimately Medina stayed in pole position for a mere 0.44 to defeat the wildcard. The 2014 WSL Champion, fighting for his second Title this season, went on to dominate his following matchup to advance directly into the Quarterfinals and apply pressure on Florence.

“Of course you get fired up when someone’s surfing really good, I’m stoked to get to the quarters,” Medina said. “France is special to me, every time I go to the water I feel good and confident. I tend to get nervous before every heat, but when I’m out there everything goes my way. I love the support here. Everyone comes down the beach to support us and it gives you more energy. You want to show them some good surfing.”

Kai Otton (AUS) played the spoiler twice today, eliminating current No. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in Round 3 before sending Julian Wilson (AUS) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) to Round 4 as the Australian veteran built confidence and momentum to reach the Quarterfinals for the first time this season.

“I did not really care about Wilko [Matt Wilkinson] at all in that heat to be honest,” Otton admitted. “I was just all about me. I need to make some heats if I want to stay on Tour. I just want to win. I do not want to go out losing in the third round all year and that was a really crucial heat for me. I am rooting for Wilko to win the Title, but I have to win my heats when they come.”

At the top of the Jeep Leaderboard for the first half of 2016, Wilkinson’s early efforts are going to waste with a string of bad results in the last four events, unable to produce his best surfing and select the right opportunities past the third round.

“The plan was to sit on the back of that little rip,” Wilkinson analyzed. “At the start I moved down. When Kai [Otton] had priority, I moved off of that and I nearly got to a couple wide ones that ran off, but they did not end up turning out. Kai got the best wave of that heat. I probably should have stuck to the plan a little bit. I felt like my surfing was great but I just could not get a wave in that heat.”

Adriano De Souza (BRA) confirmed his new found form following two mediocre results in Tahiti and California as the reigning WSL Champion overcame rookie Conner Coffin (USA) to advance into Round 4. De Souza who was unable to capitalize on the following round will have a chance to redeem himself when he faces Florence in Round 5.

“For me it’s been such a tough year,” said De Souza. “I’ve had a lot going on this year outside of surfing which has taken me out of the water. All the champions have the same challenges and I’ve never been a champion before so I didn’t really know how to deal with it. I have to keep going even though I’m out of the World Title race this year. I’m cheering for Gabriel Medina, the whole country is cheering for him.”

Today’s competition also saw Keanu Asing (HAW) put on a good show in the opening men’s heat of the day and surfed his way to a 14.50 total to eliminate Adrian Buchan (AUS) from competition. Asing unleashed his powerful surfing to move past Round 3 for only the second time in 2016.

The Roxy Pro France, Stop No. 9 of the Women’s Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), resumed as well and continued to deliver exciting action as the world’s best surfers enjoyed rippable peaks in their non-elimination Round 3 encounters.

Tyler Wright (AUS), the current World No.1 wearing the Jeep Leader Jersey, continued her path towards a maiden World Title by advancing into the Quarterfinals of the Roxy Pro France. The Australian stayed busy in the lineup and surfed numerous waves to lock in two good scores and dispatch compatriot Laura Enever (AUS) and Sage Erickson (USA).

“I was happy with how that heat went, I had a plan and just had to stick to it, it’s a rip bowl on my backhand which is kind of new territory for me,” Wright stated. “Working with Micro [Glenn Hall] this year we’re like a team, you have Wilko [Matt Wilkinson], Laura [Enever] and I and we’re kind of rocking around together and it’s great. Being away from home for most of the year, it’s good to have that familiarity with people where you can relax and do things with them.”

Courtney Conlogue (USA), current World No. 2, did not let the immense pressure of the WSL Title race battle with Wright get to her, and negotiated a tricky Round 3 win over Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) to make her way into the Quarterfinals as well.

“Conditions were so tricky on that high tide, on my first wave I was hoping to finish that last turn and not making it kind of put me against the wall,” Conlogue admitted. “I’m stoked to get into the quarters and hopefully I get a few more waves than that. I knew I needed to bring my A-game in that heat. Sally [Fitzgibbons] is a really smart surfer that strategizes a lot and Nikki [Van Dijk] also, so I’m happy to make it through this one.”

Six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) blasted through the final heat of the women’s third round with an inspiring performance in the day’s most-exciting exchange against three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) and Coco Ho (HAW). While all three competitors opened their account with a high 8, Gilmore was the only surfer able to back her highest score with another excellent wave for an impressive 17.37 heat total and a spot in the Quarterfinals.

“I could be surfing a lefthand pointbreak and I’ll still keep my eyes open for a right,” an amused Gilmore commented. “I saw a couple of rights appear and disappear so I just kept them in mind and it worked out. You always have to be ready to adapt here, it’s lefts then it’s rights, it’s rip bowls then it’s huge hollow chunky waves so you just have to be ready for anything. I haven’t won an event in a while and that’s what it’s all about so I’ll do my best and we’ll see what happens.”

Last season’s Rookie of the Year Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) bounced back from an unlikely stumble in her opening matchup in Hossegor, and took control of the first heat of the day, relegating crowd favorite Johanne Defay (FRA) and Alessa Quizon (HAW) to Round 4 while she will advance straight to the Quarterfinals. The Hawaiian found two excellent lefts and displayed her trademark snaps in the power sections of the wave for an excellent 8 point ride backed up with a 6.00.

“It’s kind of chilly here in the morning so you have to work hard to get up early, I think I was the third person out in the lineup but I only really did one turn before my heat,” Weston-Webb said. “You have to select the ones that stand up through the channel on the inside, and to be in that position you need to maintain your paddling because the rip is taking you out. They’re hard to get but when you do they’re super fun waves.”

Event organizers will reconvene at 8 a.m. local time tomorrow morning to assess conditions and make the next call.

Surfline, official forecasters for the World Surf League (WSL), are calling for:

Fun to mid size WNW swell continues Sunday with favorable wind for much of the day. Smaller, but still fun size, WNW swell early next week as wind remains favorable. The latest model trend is for an increase in swell for the end of the waiting period (Thur-Sat), although wind may prove to be somewhat problematic.

Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.00, Johanne Defay (FRA) 11.00, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 9.53
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.37, Sage Erickson (USA) 10.10, Laura Enever (AUS) 8.46
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.30, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.14, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6.10
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.37, Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.66, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.64

Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.40
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.50 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 12.80
Heat 3: Matt Banting (AUS) 9.16 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8.80
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.93 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.53
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 11.06 def. Nat Young (USA) 10.76
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.80 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.34 vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.90
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.23 vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.90
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.93 vs. Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.83
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.93
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.66
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.60 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.43

Heat 1: Matt Banting (AUS) 14.43, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.76, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.53
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.50, John John Florence (HAW) 18.47, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.03
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.17, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.13, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.74
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.50, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.30, Julian Wilson (AUS) 2.33

Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)