Spanish Surfer Shines at praia de baia


Source: WSL


2017 Junior Pro Espinho
Tomas Zarra (ESP) was the standout surfer on Day 1. © WSL / Lodin

The Junior Pro Espinho launched today in clean waves in the two foot range at praia de baia. Competition started early and went on hold around the high tide mark before resuming this afternoon to complete a long first day with men and women’s rounds 1 in the books.

 

The event’s lowest seeds made the best of the small conditions on offer and displayed good surfing to earn their spot in the second round of competition.

 

Tomas Zarra (ESP), 15, belted the day’s strongest combined heat total, an impressive 14.67 given the conditions, including the only excellent score of 8.50 on the opening day of competition. The young Spaniard started on one of the best waves of the day and performed spectacular surfing that impressed everyone on the beach all the way up in the judges tower.

 

“It’s been really fun I caught two really good waves and had a lot of fun,” Zarra stated. “I did two good turns at the start on the set and a nice finish for that 8.50. It was a really good wave and I was lucky enough to be in the right position. I’m here with my coach Aritza Saratxaga and his advice was simply to choose the right wave and do my thing which is mainly big turns.”

 

Frenchman Titouan Canevet (FRA), 16, came a close second for the day’s best wave with a solid 7.50 earlier this morning. The Brittany resident continues the string of excellent results of surfers hailing from the wave-rich French northwest region.

 

“Waves were a bit small but I found a nice option a little outside the main peak and it worked out for me,” Canevet said. “My best result is a four-man quarter in Biscarrosse so the goal coming here is to try and better it hopefully. Ian Fontaine who’s here coaching us compared the wave to one we have at home so it helped me visualize the opportunities better which was very helpful.”

 

After a whole day’s worth of waiting, women surfers finally hit the water around 7 p.m and completed their own first round of competition in fun conditions.

 

Vahine Fierro (PYF), 17, reached the finals of four events out of the five she entered so far this season, and judging by her performance in Round One she’s keen to secure another big result in Europe. Fresh off her final school exams back home in Tahiti, the powerful goofy foot destroyed the little lefts of praia de Baia and claimed the women’s highest single-score of 8.00 points.

 

“I found two pretty fun waves and won my heat so I’m happy with that start!” Fierro said. “After my first decent score I decided to move further down the beach to a different peak which looked like it had a really good left, that’s where I got the 8. I usually like to surf on my backhand better, so I was hoping to surf the North bank but that’s fun too.”

 

Francisca Veselko (PRT), 14, was one of only two Portuguese female surfers to advance through Round 1 tonight, and represents a strong chance of a home country title come finals day. The young surfer from Cascais already claimed an impressive third place in her second event ever, and looks to even further improve on that result rather sooner than later.

 

“It’s my first time surfing here, I usually stay further down the coast around Lisbon and Ericeira,” Veselko admitted. “Waves were a little tough but I made the most of it. I train in all conditions so I was prepared.”

 

Contest officials have called the men at 6:30 a.m Friday for a potential early start while the women are welcome at 8:30 a.m.

 

The Junior Pro Espinho is scheduled from June 22-25, 2017 Espinho, Portugal.

 

UPCOMING JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO WOMEN’S RD2 MATCHUPS:
Heat 1: Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), Ainhoa Leiceaga (FRA), Mikele Beato (EUK), Lucia Machado (CNY)
Heat 2: Mafalda Lopes (PRT), Illona Goasguen (FRA), Belen Botin (ESP), Mariana Brandao (PRT)
Heat 3: Maddi Aizpurua (EUK), Eveline Hooft (NDL), Lili Termeau (FRA), Laura De Los Reyes (CNY)
Heat 4: Juliette Lacome (FRA), Sara Urresti (EUK), Elisa Cazenave (FRA), Nerea Donaire (ESP)
Heat 5: Maelys Jouault (FRA), Violeta Sanchez (ESP), Julia Dufrechou (GLP), Francisca Veselko (PRT)
Heat 6: Neis Lartigue (FRA), Melania Diaz (CNY), June Del Campo (EUK), Mae Demanez (GLP)
Heat 7: Uhaina Joly (FRA), Isabel Gundin (ESP), Ozvan Masseron (FRA), Vahine Fierro (PYF)
Heat 8: Ellie Turner (GBR), Karla Fodor (FRA), Nahia Milhau (FRA), Hina-Maria Conradi (FRA)

UPCOMING JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO MEN’S RD2 MATCHUPS:
Heat 1: Olivier Cassaigne (FRA), Cristian Portelli (SWE), Paolo Giorgi (CNY), Joseph Morris (GBR)
Heat 2: Aurelien Buffet (FRA), Nestor Garcia (ESP), Renan Grainville (FRA), Seth Morris (GBR)
Heat 3: Noa Dupouy (FRA), Manuel Teixeira (PRT), Patrick Langdon-Dark (GBR), Tom Goasguen (FRA)
Heat 4: Joao Vidal (PRT), Noe Ledee (FRA), Edoardo Papa (ITA), Rodrigo Garcia (ESP)
Heat 5: Kike Suarez (ESP), Sean Gunning (ESP), Youri Conradi (FRA), Titouan Veschambre (FRA)
Heat 6: Sam Piter (FRA), Saul Da Silva (ESP), Mattia Migliorini (ITA), Enrique Fernandez (ESP)
Heat 7: Thomas Ledee (FRA), Tomer Linivker (ISR), Titouan Canevet (FRA), Rodrigo Lebre (PRT)
Heat 8: Joaquim Chaves (PRT), Noah Biersack (GBR), Ander Idarraga (ESP), Juan Gorostidi (ESP)
Heat 9: Salvador Couto (PRT), Dorian Gomez (FRA), Stanley Norman (GBR), Nicolas Paulet (FRA)
Heat 10: Gonçalo Vieira (PRT), Jonathan Cohen (ISR), Diego Garcia (ESP), Ricardo De La Hera Suarez (ESP)
Heat 11: Dean Vandewalle (BEL), Borja Malvar (ESP), Gabriel Ortiz (ESP), Taylor McCarthy (FRA)
Heat 12: Issam Auptel (FRA), Gabriel Ribeiro (PRT), Tomas Zarra (ESP), Joao Caldeira (PRT), Jose Champalimaud (PRT)
Heat 13: Sebastião Ramirez (PRT), Arnau Martinez (ESP), Martim Paulino (PRT), Maximilian Hudson (GBR)
Heat 14: Iker Amatriain (ESP), Marco Teichner (DEU), Willoughby Masterman (GBR), Louis Tabere Allamelou (FRA)
Heat 15: Bryan Picon (FRA), Egor Volkov (RUS), Jose Maria Bruschy (PRT), Selyann Zouhir (MAR)
Heat 16: Tomas Ribeiro (PRT), Adur Amatriain (EUK), Neil Aboufiras (MAR), Lucas Desmoucelles (FRA)

JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO WOMEN’S RD1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Lucia Machado (CNY) 9.17, Mariana Brandao (PRT) 8.33, Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 8.17
Heat 2: Laura De Los Reyes (CNY) 7.14, Nerea Donaire (ESP) 6.07, Matilde Antunes (PRT) 5.07
Heat 3: Francisca Veselko (PRT) 7.84, Mae Demanez (GLP) 3.44, Beatriz Macedo (PRT) 3.43
Heat 4: Vahine Fierro (PYF) 13.00, Hina-Maria Conradi (FRA) 6.40, Manon Alda (FRA) 5.94

JUNIOR PRO ESPINHO MEN’S RD1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Paolo Giorgi (CNY) 9.07, Seth Morris (GBR) 8.64, Kepa Housset Ezponda (FRA) 7.00, Luan Nogues (FRA) 3.30
Heat 2: Renan Grainville (FRA) 6.57, Joseph Morris (GBR) 3.97, Jakub Kuzia (POL) 3.54
Heat 3: Patrick Langdon-Dark (GBR) 9.70, Rodrigo Garcia (ESP) 6.50, Txomin Lizarraga (EUK) 3.37
Heat 4: Edoardo Papa (ITA) 5.80, Tom Goasguen (FRA) 5.20, Norman Peuron (FRA) 4.67
Heat 5: Youri Conradi (FRA) 9.30, Enrique Fernandez (ESP) 5.73, Joao Caldeira (PRT) 5.37
Heat 6: Matteo Migliorini (ITA) 10.17, Titouan Veschambre (FRA) 9.34, Hugo Merand (FRA) 4.74
Heat 7: Titouan Canevet (FRA) 13.90, Juan Gorostidi (ESP) 12.67, Jose Ribeiro (PRT) 6.73
Heat 8: Ander Idarraga (ESP) 10.60, Rodrigo Lebre (PRT) 9.17, Giulio Caruso (ITA) 6.93, Maksymilian Michalewski (POL) 4.84
Heat 9: Stanley Norman (GBR) 9.00, Ricardo De La Hera Suarez (ESP) 6.53, Carlito Casadebaigt (FRA) 5.20, Mathis Azam (FRA) 5.13
Heat 10: Diego Garcia (ESP) 10.47, Nicolas Paulet (FRA) 8.63, Michael Conlan (PRT) 6.94
Heat 11: Gabriel Ortiz (ESP) 8.30, Jose Champalimaud (PRT) 8.30, Lucas Buatois Figueroa (ESP) 6.47
Heat 12: Tomas Zarra (ESP) 14.67, Taylor McCarthy (FRA) 7.27, Diego Alejandro Pulido (ESP) 5.57
Heat 13: Martim Paulino (PRT) 7.97, Louis Tabere Allamelou (FRA) 7.20, Amar Cayam (ISR) 6.67
Heat 14: Willoughby Masterman (GBR) 9.70, Maximilian Hudson (GBR) 7.70, Matteo Calatri (ITA) 3.70
Heat 15: Jose Maria Bruschy (PRT) 8.97, Lucas Desmoucelles (FRA) 8.57, Paco Peruzzo (ITA) 4.66
Heat 16: Neil Aboufiras (MAR) 13.43, Selyann Zouhir (MAR) 11.73, Nolan Poirier (FRA) 7.77, Andres Mondo Prados (ARG) 5.53

Massive Day Unfolds at Barbados Surf Pro


Source: WSL


Nomme Mignot (FRA) – Image: WSL / Masurel

A vital day of action unfolded at the World Surf League (WSL) Barbados Surf Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 with both men and women’s Quarterfinal draws decided in improved conditions at Drill Hall Beach. Women’s Round Four, along with men’s Rounds Four and Five, were completed as competitors posted more near-perfect scores and terrific performances. The final day of competition is locked in and two champions will be crowned by tomorrow afternoon for Barbados’ historic, first-ever QS event.

Holly Wawn (AUS) annihilated the line up at Drill Hall Beach with a massive 9.77 (out of a possible 10) for the highest single-scoring wave of the women’s event. The Australian has found her groove throughout this contest, posting an 8.33 in her opening Round Two heat and continued to show that form today in Round Four.

“It was really fun and I definitely got fortunate with a couple of waves under priority with Tia [Blanco] making that first mistake where I got my seven,” Wawn said. “The next one I thought Philippa [Anderson] had and then I just snuck in which ended up being my 9.77 so it’s good to just be paying attention, as well as know the situations. It’s important out there with it being smaller on a break like this to have that mindset and just stay with it. It’s great to make a Quarter, but I really want to make a Final and get those bigger points to set myself up for a good run this year.”

Chelsea Tuach (BRB) has been relentless at her homebreak and posted an 8.50 in her stacked Round Four bout alongside Round Three standout Tessa Thyssen (BLM), French competitor Maud Le Car (FRA), and wildcard selection threat, Kirra Pinkerton (USA). Tuach has already claimed a win earlier this year at the Shoe City Pro QS1,000 and has found her rhythm once again.

“I just had to be aware out there and stay busy since it was a little trickier this morning, but I got a good wave to start and that gave me some confidence,” Tuach said. “I’m feeling really good and it feels great to be moving through rounds with big scores — the nerves are gone and now I’m just excited. This momentum is so key and it’s going to be an action-packed day tomorrow that won’t be easy, every heat is just stacked which is what makes it so exciting. Just like at the Shoe City Pro, I needed to find that momentum through rounds and here I know I can make it all the way — I just have to stay focused.”

An in-form Alessa Quizon (HAW) looked dangerous once again with another heat win to advance through to the Quarterfinals. The Hawaiian needs a result here after two early exits at the QS6,000s Australian leg, but could be on her way to a 3,000-point jumpstart here in Barbados with her 2017 outlook dialed in.

“I haven’t made a finals day this year so far which is nice to break that curse, no matter what the points are it’s just nice to make it to the last day,” Quizon said. “It definitely helps knowing what waves you need to look for since the smaller ones lined up better in that heat, so I’ll be cautious of that in the next one. I almost forgot what it was like to surf on my forehand and I know I’m faster on it than my backhand — it’s nice to find that speed and it’ll all come back to me.”

Also, Chelsea Roett (BRB), Tessa Thyssen (BLM), Brisa Hennessy (HAW), Caroline Marks (USA) and Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) join the action in tomorrow’s Quarterfinals.

A massive day of men’s action followed with the completion of Rounds Four and Five — and big performances followed to set up stacked Quarterfinal bouts.

Sydney, Australia’s Shane Campbell (AUS) ripped apart a heavyweight Round Five matchup with top QS performer Bino Lopes (BRA), and two of the event’s standouts Mateus Herdy (BRA) and Peterson Crisanto (BRA). Campbell has his goals set for 2017 and a big result here would put him on track to attain them, but now must endure a big finals day in Barbados.

“I don’t know if it’s the size, but it seemed to be bowling up a bit better and we had heaps of waves in that heat so I’m stoked,” Campbell said. “I saw that heat before I went in and every one of them is stacked here, you look at who’s left and there hasn’t been an easy heat all event — I was looking forward to it actually. After my Round Four heat I told myself I wanted to get above a sixteen-point heat total because I knew that’s what it takes to win these later rounds. To get that 9.23 just gave me a lot of confidence and I can’t wait to get it going tomorrow for my first finals day this year.”

Nomme Mignot (FRA) finished off Round Five with an electric performance over a massive heat including yesterday’s near-perfect surfer Evan Geiselman (USA), Round Four standout Flavio Nakagima (BRA) and the powerful Weslley Dantas (BRA). Mignot’s strong forehand outmatched that of runner-up Geiselman as both advance to tomorrow’s Quarterfinals — the first finals day of Mignot’s 2017 and one he doesn’t want to go to waste.

“It feels so good to be in the finals day again after over a year of waiting and to make it a QS3,000 is an amazing feeling,” Mignot said. “I’m really happy to have won this heat and make it to man-on-man tomorrow, I feel much more comfortable to only have one other guy out there instead of hassling with four guys who all rip. I know I can do well if I just stay positive and just surf as good as I can, but it will come down to who can find the best waves and just perform.”

An in-form Rafael Teixeira (BRA), alongside fellow Brazilian Bino Lopes (BRA), former CT competitor Keanu Asing (HAW), and local Barbadian Josh Burke (BRB) joing Mignot, Campbell and Geiselman in the Quarterfinals.

Event organizers will reconvene for tomorrow’s 7:30 a.m. EDT call to determine an 8:00 a.m. start for either men’s or women’s Quarterfinal draws.

Upcoming Barbados Surf Pro QS3,000 Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Shane Campbell (AUS) vs. Santiago Muniz (ARG)
QF 2: Bino Lopes (BRA) vs. Rafael Teixeira (BRA)
QF 3: Josh Burke (BRB) vs. Evan Geiselman (USA)
QF 4: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Nomme Mignot (FRA)

Upcoming Barbados Surf Pro QS3,000 Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) vs. Chelsea Roett (BRB)
QF 2: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Holly Wawn (AUS)
QF 3: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) vs. Tessa Thyssen (BLM)
QF 4: Brisa Hennessy (HAW) vs. Chelsea Tuach (BRB)

Barbados Surf Pro QS3,000 Women’s Round Four Results:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 14.50, Caroline Marks (USA) 13.90, Mikaela Greene (AUS) 10.66, Brittany Penaroza (HAW) 8.20
Heat 2: Holly Wawn (AUS) 17.10, Chelsea Roett (BRB) 15.17, Tia Blanco (USA) 14.60, Philippa Anderson (AUS) 14.60
Heat 3: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 13.93, Brisa Hennessy (HAW) 12.10, Mahina Maeda (HAW) 11.10, Bailey Nagy (HAW) 6.07
Heat 4: Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 16.17, Tessa Thyssen (BLM) 13.60, Maud Le Car (FRA) 8.27, Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 5.40

Barbados Surf Pro QS3,000 Men’s Round Five Results:
Heat 1: Shane Campbell (AUS) 17.23, Bino Lopes (BRA) 16.43, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 13.34, Mateus Herdy (BRA) 12.17
Heat 2: Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 15.74, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 11.17, Soli Bailey (AUS) 10.66, Seth Moniz (HAW) 7.50
Heat 3: Josh Burke (BRB) 15.70, Keanu Asing (HAW) 15.66, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 12.90, Daiki Tanaka (JPN) 12.43
Heat 4: Nomme Mignot (FRA) 16.03, Evan Geiselman (USA) 14.93, Weslley Dantas (BRA) 14.83, Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 13.77

Barbados Surf Pro QS3,000 Men’s Round Four Results:
Heat 1: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 12.87, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 12.36, Victor Bernardo (BRA) 9.80, Hiroto Arai (JPN) 7.10
Heat 2: Mateus Herdy (BRA) 14.60, Soli Bailey (AUS) 15.54, Timothee Bisso (GLP) 13.54, Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.64
Heat 3: Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 17.00, Shane Campbell (AUS) 14.33, Andy Criere (ESP) 11.57, Tomas Fernandes (PRT) 11.50
Heat 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) 15.83, Bino Lopes (BRA) 13.66, Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 12.17, Mikey Wright (AUS) 9.30
Heat 5: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.84, Nomme Mignot (FRA) 10.83, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 10.66, Michael Dunphy (USA) 10.36
Heat 6: Daiki Tanaka (JPN) 11.97, Weslley Dantas (BRA) 11.60, Bruce Mackie (BRB) 10.60, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 2.23
Heat 7: Evan Geiselman (USA) 15.70, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 15.50, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 14.50, Luel Felipe (BRA) 9.33
Heat 8: Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 15.63, Josh Burke (BRB) 15.50, Robson Santos (BRA) 15.03, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 14.83

Gilmore and Wright Win on the Gold Coast


Surfer makes inspiring return


Owen Wright
Owen Wright (AUS) celebrates winning the Quiksilver Pro Gold Cast as he is chaired up the beach by brother Mikey and sister Tyler. Credit: WSL/Cestari

Owen Wright (AUS) and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claimed victory today at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, the opening stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), in four-to-six foot (1 – 2 m) waves at the world-famous Snapper Rocks. An incredible finals day delivered two Australian event champions, and both Wright and Gilmore will take the coveted Jeep Leaders’ Jersey heading into the next event on the CT, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.

Wright claimed his third CT victory today by defeating close friend and teammate Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in what was one of the most inspiring comebacks in surfing history. Wright sat out the entire 2016 season due to a career-threatening, traumatic brain injury he suffered on Oahu’s North Shore in Hawaii in 2015 and the Quiksilver Pro marked his triumphant return to the Championship Tour after accepting the injury wildcard for 2017. The win today is his best ever result on the Gold Coast and earns Wright the top spot on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“At the start of February, I was sitting in the doctor’s office and there were question marks on the year,” Wright said. “So to be sitting here right now, we just pushed hard and went hard. I confronted every fear of getting back into it. There were a lot of fears I needed to push through in order to get back into the sport and back into what pretty much took me out and could have taken me out forever. I kept going and kept doing it. I am just so stoked.

“I couldn’t have done it without all the support of my friends and family, including my partner and my little baby boy,” continued Wright. “We just kept going and the team just kept saying, ‘Keep breaking it down,’ and ‘Keep going Owen, keeping getting back there.’ This is what I love. This is what I love doing.”
The Quiksilver Pro final saw Wright take on Wilkinson in a thrilling battle of the goofy-footers. Both surfers went wave for wave, but it was Wright who claimed the win with an excellent 8.33 and 6.33 by showcasing his powerful backhand snaps. Wilkinson, with two 6-point rides, was not able to deliver the required scores to defend his event title.

Defending event winner Wilkinson dispatched world champions Joel Parkinson (AUS) and John John Florence (HAW) en route to his second consecutive Gold Coast Final. With two previous CT wins under his belt, the runner-up finish takes Wilkinson up from 5th to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“To be in another Final here is a dream,” said Wilkinson. “I obviously wanted to win but Owen [Wright] has made me cry about five times this week. To see him last year was one of the toughest things I’ve ever seen and for Owen to be in the this event is one of the most amazing things, but to go and win is incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better person to beat me. He’s inspired me so much and to come back and do this is unreal.

“Coming into the event this year I did have a sneaky bit of confidence but you do think about all the work that the others have put in on the off season,” continued Wilkinson. “Now I guess I feel a lot more confident and I feel like my surfing is the best it’s ever been so I’m really excited to go for the World Title.”

2016 WSL Champion Florence was eliminated by eventual runner-up Wilkinson by a narrow margin of 0.40 in the Semifinals. Florence’s 3rd place finish is his best result on the Gold Coast and most successful start to the Championship Tour season. Florence will go into the next event ranked 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard with the goal of reclaiming the Jeep Leader Jersey from Wright.

“In heats like that, there is isn’t too much that I could’ve done differently,” Florence said. “It is funny because almost the identical thing happened to me last year against Stuart Kennedy, but I am stoked. Third place is the best I’ve done here at Snapper. We’ve got such a long year ahead. Anything can happen and I’m excited. I’m happy. I am going to head over to Margaret River early and try to get barreled before everyone gets there.”

Wright took out 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in an intense Semifinal match-up. Compared to his 13th place result last season, Medina’s 3rd place finish offers a strong start to his 2017 World Title campaign. Medina is now ranked 3rd on the Jeep Leaderboard.

The six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claimed her sixth Roxy Pro title today after defeating Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Final. Today’s win marks Gilmore’s 25th elite tour victory and her first since the Cascais Women’s Pro in 2014. The result will move Gilmore up from 6th to 1st on the Jeep Rankings.

“I can’t believe it, I’ve been visualizing holding that trophy so much,” Gilmore said. “It was so hard against Lakey [Peterson]. I’m so happy to have all the support from everyone here and there’s nothing better than winning at home.”

Gilmore previously dispatched three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Quarterfinals with a perfect 10-point ride and compatriot Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in the Semifinals. Moore, who came into the event ranked third in the world, will move to fifth. Fitzgibbons’ Semifinal berth will see her climb up five places to third on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I haven’t had the yellow jersey for a while and it’s going to feel so good to put that on,” continued Gilmore. “Getting to win an event again was really cool and it feels really rewarding to win. It’s so far from here but I’d love to win another World Title. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to win here, in the greatest place on earth in my eyes.”

The Roxy Pro Final saw Gilmore and Peterson do battle for the win. Peterson got to work early, posting two mid-range scores, but local favorite Gilmore kicked things off with a commanding 7.93 on her opening ride. Gilmore continued to pull out all the stops with big fin-throws and sharp turns to earn an excellent 8.67, putting more pressure on the Californian, who was not able to answer back. This Final marks the pair’s fourth head-to-head match-up, with Gilmore taking the win each time.

Peterson has been on a tear throughout the competition, posting consistently high scores including a perfect 10 in Round 2 and the two highest heat totals of the Roxy Pro. Peterson previously defeated Johanne Defay (FRA) in the Semifinals and reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) in the Quarterfinals en route to the Final.

With one event win so far during her six year career on the Championship Tour, at the US Open of Surfing in 2012, today is her best result at Snapper Rocks, having previously made the Semifinals in 2014 where she was defeated by Bianca Buitendag (ZAF). Today’s result sees her move up from 13th to 2nd place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I can’t complain too much with the result,” Peterson said. “I just missed it by one spot so it keeps the fire lit in me. It stings a little, but I really think I put together a great contest and did my absolute best. It was a really fun time and I’m so stoked the waves worked out as well, we got pumping surf for this event. To compete against Stephanie [Gilmore] here gives me chills and is one to remember.

“Margaret River is a big shift, but I’m excited this year,” Peterson continued. “I feel pretty comfortable in the bigger stuff now so I hope we get some waves. Everyone is surfing so well this year so it’s really fun to be part of it. I want to win the World Title for sure. After sitting on the sidelines and watching Tyler [Wright] dominate last year, I wanted to tap into that and come out guns blazing.”

Reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) was eliminated by Peterson in the Quarterfinals. Wright, with a 9.93 two-wave combined score, could not find the waves to escape Peterson’s near-perfect 9.27 and 7.83. Wright’s 5th place result will move her from first to 5th on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.

“We really missed Lakey [Peterson] on tour last year so it’s amazing to have her back,” Wright said. “She came out hard and put me on the back foot and I never really got back on the front. This is a new year so I’m not going to focus too much on last year. It was tough but all and all I’m pretty happy with how I surfed.”

In their eighth head-to-head match-up, Medina earned his sixth win over 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the all-star Quarterfinal heat. The battle for the win came down to the dying seconds where both put all on the line in their last ride. Medina came away with the win after being awarded a near-perfect 9.17 to Slater’s 7.50. The four-time event winner will be eliminated with a 5th place result to kickstart his hunt for a 12th World Title.

2017 CT Rookie Connor O’Leary (AUS) put up a solid fight against Owen Wright in the Quarters. With a slow start to the heat, the critical exchanges came down to the final minute where Wright got the edge to take the win. As the only rookie to make it this far in the men’s event, O’Leary’s Rookie of the Year campaign is looking strong. He will head into the next event moving up to 5th on the Jeep Leaderboard.

En route to the Semifinals, Florence knocked out Brazilian challenger Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Quarterfinals. Ferreira will earn an Equal 5th place finish, his best ever result on the Gold Coast.

The next stop on the 2017 WSL Championship Tour is the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia from March 29 to April 9.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Owen Wright (AUS) 14.66
2 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.50

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd = 5th):
SF 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.90 def. John John Florence (HAW) 15.50
SF 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.74 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.44

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd = 5th):
QF 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.00 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.37
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 14.86 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.33
QF 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.00 def. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.76
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.34 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.83

2017 WSL Men’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast):
1 – Owen Wright (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8,000 pts
3 – John John Florence (HAW) 6,500 pts
3 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6,500 pts

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.60
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.66

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results (1st, 2nd):
SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 18.60 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.70
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.27 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.86

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd = 5th):
QF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.44 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 9.50
QF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 17.10 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.93
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.00 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 13.63
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.50 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.83

2017 WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Roxy Pro Gold Coast):
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 8,000 pts
3 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 6,500 pts
3 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6,500 pts

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.

Vans World Cup Winner to Be Decided Today


Source: WSL


Conditions look highly contestable for the final day of the Vans World Cup. Image: WSL / Chlala

A new pulse of swell filled in over night and the Finals day at the Vans World Cup of Surfing is ON today in 8-10ft. NW to NNW with light ESE offshore winds at Sunset Beach.

The Round of 32 will get a start at 8am HST, followed by the Quarterfinals at noon, Semifinals at 2pm and the Final at 3:20pm.

“The swell bumped back up a little and Sunset is still firing,” said Travis Logie, Deputy Commissioner. “Very happy to have the QS culminate and careers decided at Sunset Beach in great waves. We look forward to a really exciting Finals day.”

The second stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the Vans World Cup is a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 rated event – the last of the season. Today will both make and break careers as athletes battle to find a spot in the 2017 WSL Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour.

First in the water this morning is Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Deivid Silva (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS) and Ian Gouveia (BRA). Other standout performances are anticipated in Heat 2 of Round 4 with local surfer Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Heat 4 with current World Champ John John Florence (HAW) and Heat 6 with 11x World Champion Kelly Slater (USA).

A regional news feed will be distributed around 2pm HST with feeds of the Semifinalists. An official press release and image gallery will follow after the competition concludes along with a highlight edit to relive all the action. Catch it online at the Vans World Cup event page on worldsurfleague.com or at vanstriplecrownofsurfing.com.

The Vans World Cup of Surfing, a WSL Men’s QS10,000 rated event, is scheduled from November 24 – December 6, 2016 and runs in conjunction with the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing specialty series along the North Shore of Oahu.

Finalists Revealed for Oakley Battle Clips


Source: Surfing Australia


surfing, oakley


Following three hotly contested rounds of competition, including the first man-on-man video battle in Australian surfing, Oakley and Surfing Australia are proud to announce the final four in the inaugural Oakley Battle Clips competition.

The Oakley Battle Clips finalists are:
1.Brent Dorrington
2.Jack Robinson
3.Sheldon Simkus
4.Soli Bailey

The semi-final saw the top eight surfers competing for ‘Best Ride’ which consisted of heaving barrels to progressive combinations.

The finalists were decided by an expert judging panel consisting of Surfing Australia and Oakley representatives, and public opinion, determined by social media interactions – views, likes, shares and votes. Public opinion accounts for 50% of the score, with the final 50% decided by the Oakley and Surfing Australia judging panel.

The final four surfers will now head to Hawaii with the mySURF.tv crew where they will take part in the making of the Oakley Battle Clips film. Each surfer will have their own 2-3 minute part to showcase the full range of their surfing ability. The winning film part will be decided by the judging panel and public opinion, taking home $20,000 grand prize and $5,000 of Nikon camera gear for their filmer.

The winner of the inaugural Oakley Battle Clips competition will be crowned at a special event and screening of the Oakley Battle Clips film in Newcastle on February 17th, 2017.

Oakley Battle Clips is a national video competition designed to elevate the best young surfing talent in Australia and reward the unsung heroes behind the lens. The competition will formalise the fierce video battle that plays out daily on social media by offering all Australian surfers and surf filmers, a chance to win $20,000 cash plus prizes including $5,000 worth of Nikon camera gear and an expenses paid trip to Hawaii to feature in the Oakley Battle Clips film.

Oakley Battle Clips website

Soup Bowl Pro Junior Winners Decided


Source: WSL


North America Men’s Junior Regional Champion Nolan Rapoza (USA) earning runner-up at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior to solidify his position atop the rankings. Image: WSL/ Andrew Nichols

After an exciting season for the World Surf League (WSL) North America Junior Tour came to an end at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior on November 13th, Nolan Rapoza (USA) and Leilani McGonagle (CRI) were crowned the North America Junior Regional Champions. Both clinched their titles on the shores of Bathsheba, Barbados for the first time in their careers and have earned a spot into the World Junior Championships.

Rapoza’s incredible run to the No. 1 spot included making every event Final except for the first contest of the year, the Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior. The Long Beach, California-native started his run for the top with a runner-up in Los Cabos and followed that with a fourth-place finish at the Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Junior event. But, his breakthrough came at the Vans Pro Junior event in Virginia Beach, Virginia earning his first-ever Junior Tour win — rocketing him past Kei Kobayashi (USA) for the No. 1 spot.

“It feels great to have achieved my goal this year,” Rapoza said. “This year I have tried to mature my technique and heat strategy which I think will help me a lot more in the future also. It means a lot to claim this title because it shows me that I can be consistent — I just have to put my mind to it. It’s been a blast this whole year. I came close last year and I’ve never had this opportunity before so I’m definitely stoked.”

With a runner-up finish at the RVCA Pro Junior, the title was all but won for Rapoza who needed to secure a spot into the Final at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior for the No. 1 spot if Kobayashi took the win. Though his personal highlights came much earlier in the year.

“I think there is a tie [for my favorite moment this year] between getting a first-place finish in Virginia and getting runner-up in Newport where I got to chair up my best friend Tyler [Gunter],” Rapoza said. “[Winning this title] should help my confidence a lot just surfing smarter this year through each event so I’m hoping it translates to the future for me.”

Joining Rapoza at the World Junior Championships for the North America region are Kobayashi, No. 3 ranked Jake Marshall (USA), and No. 4 ranked Che Allan (BRB).

The North America Women’s Junior title was a much closer race and came down to the Final at the Soup Bowl Pro Junior.

Three women remained in the race when the horn sounded to start the Final with McGonagle fending off Maddie Peterson (USA) and Bethany Zelasko (USA). Had McGonagle earned runner-up and either Peterson or Zelasko won, the No. 2 spot would’ve been theirs. But, with a massive win, McGonagle not only solidified her place into World Junior Championships — she also claimed the regional title over Alyssa Spencer (USA).

“I’m still processing the fact that I’m the regional champion — I’m so excited,” McGonagle said. “Ending the year with a win like that gives me a huge confidence boost. I’d never won a Pro Junior before, so doing it when it was so vital was great. Surfing is one of those sports where the stars really have to align in order for things to go your way and I’m so happy they did.”

The Costa Rican-native began her year with a brilliant runner-up finish at the Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior, but couldn’t earn another Final performance until Barbados. With a Quarterfinal finish in Los Cabos and Semifinal appearance at the Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s Junior, McGonagle found herself in a heavy-pressure situation she was able to rise above. Her surfing family background and upbringing has set McGonagle up for what may be a prolific career, but she knows all the work needed to find success.

“I think growing up in Costa Rica has definitely made me the surfer I am,” McGonagle said. “I’ve surfed a point break that has waves all year-round my whole life so I really do prefer bigger and more powerful waves. But, I’ve made a point to try to surf in all conditions and over time I’ve become more prepared to surf all different waves.”

“I love my family, they’re truly amazing,” McGonagle continued. “My parents are always very supportive. If it wasn’t for them I probably would have never started surfing. Having Noe as a brother has been very inspiring as well. He’s very passionate about surfing and that really pushes me to want to be as great of a surfer as he is some day. It would be a dream come true to make it on tour with him.”

McGonagle will be joined by No. 2 ranked Spencer to vie for a World Junior Championships title as both prepare for their first appearance at the event and first time to Australia.

For more information go to www.worldsurfleague.com

Kiama, New South Wales, Australia will host this year’s World Junior Championships January 4 – 13.

John John Florence Leads Vans Triple Crown


World Title Winning Surfer Claims Another Victory


John John Florence wins the WSL Hawaiian Pro 2016. Image: WSL / Heff

Newly crowned 2016 World Champion John John Florence returned home to gift his Hawaiian community with yet another astounding victory today at the Hawaiian Pro, the first stop of the Vans Triple Crown. This is also World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 event. In one of the tightest Finals in competitive history, Florence broke a tie with Frederico Morais (PRT) for first place, winning with the highest individual wave score on a countback. Marc Lacomare (FRA) finished third and Adrian Buchan (AUS) was fourth.

“It’s been the best year of my life for sure,” said Florence atop the podium. “So happy to be back home and with my family and friends. I couldn’t have done it without my mom, my brothers supporting me my whole life. The Johnson family, Pyzel has been a big help with everything. Thanks to everyone down here today, coming down and supporting us and cheering us on. The security team has been a great help, the Hawaiian Water Patrol, you guys are always doing a great job. Thanks to WSL, and I’m stoked.”

The start to 2016 saw Florence make the Quarterfinal at the Volcom Pipe Pro, then storm the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational, followed by a win at the Oi Rio Pro, 2nd places at both J-Bay Open and Billabong Pro Tahiti, then clinch the World Title and event win at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, and round things off with a win at the first event of the Hawaiian season.

surfing, hawaii, flroence
John John Florence wins heat 4 round four of the WSL Hawaiian Pro 2016. Image: WSL / Heff

“I want to win another World Title for sure,” continued Florence. “I’d love to win the Triple Crown and I want to win Pipe. I want to win everything. So that’s my goal right now, to be a really good competitive surfer. I think there’s so much to learn about myself and learn how to compete still. I’m really excited looking towards next year for that.”

Florence activated the heat as a three-wave set appeared on the horizon, taking off on the first one for a 6.83. Meanwhile Morais and Lacomare jumped on the succeeding waves for matching 8.33’s from the judges and a tie for first, an early indicator of how the heat – and eventually the win – would progress. The four surfers went wave for wave in the 35-minute Final, with Florence taking the lead after posting an excellent 8.83 on his second wave.

With total commitment, John John stood apart from competitors with his down-the-line speed, but Morais proved equally talented with aggressive maneuvers. Hailing from Cascais, Portugal, Morais impressed the beach crowd with a big frontside snap followed by two more major turns and a big air drop floater to shift the scenario. His calculated yet loose surfing scored him a 7.33 on his second wave, which tied him for first with Florence. Morais needed to secure a 7.34 to jump ahead of Florence and in the dying seconds of the heat had his final shot at it…coming incredibly close with a 7.33.

“That was crazy,” Florence said post heat. “Freddy got two, his two waves were so, so close. At that point it’s so close you don’t really know. I’m so stoked. I’d kind of just gotten over it, being on the beach was like, ‘oh gosh I don’t know what’s going to happen.’ I can’t even believe I won, I’m so stoked. I came home and was just going to do Haleiwa for fun and to win it is amazing.”

Morais jumped from 28 on the Qualifying Series up to the No. 10 position and is looking solid to now qualify for the 2017 Championship Tour. With a final at Sunset back in 2013, Morais looks toward the Vans World Cup with confidence.

“I’m feeling good, I’m relaxed,” said Morais after the awards ceremony. “(This result) is heaps of points and it puts me in a good position to qualify for next year.

“I love Sunset, it’s a really good wave. I’ve had fun there and I guess I have nothing to lose. I’m just going to enjoy myself and hope to get through some heats, make a final maybe.”

“John John is such a great surfer, amazing. I matched him not even a few weeks ago in Portugal when he was crowned world champ and it was really nice to watch. He deserves it, he’s probably the best surfer in the world right now and it’s an honor to be matching the same scores here as him, and 2nd place is amazing.”

surfing, hawaii, slater
Kelly Slater wins heat 2 round four of the WSL Hawaiian Pro. Image: WSL / Heff

RESULTS
Surfers shown 1st through 4th, all athletes from Hawaii unless otherwise noted.

1st – John John Florence (HAW), 10000 points
2nd – Frederico Morais (PRT), 8000 points
3rd – Marc Lacomare (FRA), 6700 points
4th – Adrian Buchan (AUS), 6300 points

SEMIFINALS, 1st and 2nd advance, 3rd=5th place, 4th=7th place
SF1: John John Florence, Marc Lacomare (FRA), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Davey Cathels (AUS)
SF2: Frederico Morais (PRT), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA)

QUARTERFINALS, 1st and 2nd advance, 3rd=9th place, 4th=13th place
QF1: Marc Lacomare (FRA), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
QF2: John John Florence, Davey Cathels (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS), Gony Zubizarreta (ESP)
QF3: Jadson Andre (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Victor Bernardo (BRA)
QF4: Joan Duru (FRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Ethan Ewing (AUS)

ROUND of 32, 1st and 2nd advance, 3rd=17th place, 4th=25th place
H1: Marc Lacomare (FRA), Gony Zubizarrreta (ESP), Samuel Pupo (BRA), Mihimana Braye (PYF)
H2: Kelly Slater (USA), Mitch Crew (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Keanu Asing
H3: Davey Cathels (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Tomas Hermes (BRA), Sebastian Zietz
H4: John John Florence, Connor O’Leary (AUS), Robson Santos (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS)
H5: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Brett Simpson (USA), Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Evan Geiselman (USA)
H6: Frederico Morais (PRT), Joan Duru (FRA), Kai Otton (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF)
H7: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Victor Bernardo (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Nathan Hedge (AUS)
H8: Ethan Ewing (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Diego Mignot (FRA), Cooper Chapman (AUS)

World Surf League website

Taiwan Open of Surfing on the Horizon


Source: WSL


surfing in Taiwan
Reiging event champion Perth Standlick will be back in 2016 to defend his title. Pic: WSL/Bennett

There is only one week until the opening day of the 2017 Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung County Government. Competitors from both shortboard and longboard disciplines await to see what mother nature will provide in the way of waves for the final World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) and Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) event in the Australasia region for the year.

In 2016, Perth Standlick (AUS) was gifted the biggest win of his career in pumping waves at the rippable cobblestone point of Jinzun Harbour in Taitung County. Standlick has been quiet on the QS this season but will be looking to finish the year off with a bang when he returns to Taiwan next week.

“I’ve only done a few events this season,” Standlick said. “A couple QS10,000’s and some other smaller events. I had a ball in Taiwan last year; the waves were so fun the entire time I was there. Jinzun Harbour is such a sick wave; it’s super easy to surf and allows you to attempt any maneuverer you want to. I can’t wait to get back to the Taiwan Open of Surfing.”

As the Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung County is co-sanctioned by WSL Australasia and WSL Japan, it will be the event to decide the Regional Qualifying Series Champions for the two regions. Taking the Regional QS title means a spot in all of the QS6,000 and QS10,000 events for the first half of 2017, an amazing opportunity for aspiring professional surfers. Leading the Japan QS is Reo Inaba who will be looking for a solid result in Taiwan to guarantee the no. 1 spot.

“I’m really excited to get to Taiwan,” Inaba said. “I’m really looking for a solid result to get myself in the big QS events next year and being the regional champion would be really cool as well. I enjoy going to Taiwan; the water and weather is warm the waves are really fun and the food and people are great. It’s exciting to get back there.”

With the impressive quality of waves on offer in Taiwan it is no surprise to see a high standard of surfers emerging from the area. One of these local rippers is Yu-Hau Yang. Yang has been awarded the local wildcard for the event and will be one to watch when he takes on the internationals at his local break.

“I am very excited to see the best competitive surfers from all over the world surfing at my favourite home break Jinzun Harbour,” Yang said. “It’s so good for all of us local surfers to see the top guys surf, it helps to push our own surfing. It’s also cool to hang out with them all and form friendships. We love sharing the beauty of Taitung with everyone from around the world.”

One of Indonesia’s most established competitive surfers is Javanese icon Dede Suryana. Having taken out the Asian Surfing Championship (ASC) at Jinzun Harbour a few years ago, Suryana has confidence in his ability to perform in the high-performance waves.

“I’m really happy to be going back to Taiwan,” Suryana said. “I hope the waves turn on so everyone can enjoy the waves and the competition. Last time I competed in Taiwan I won the ASC so I hope I can do that again this year.”

The Taiwan Open of Surfing hosted by Taitung County LQS and QS will run from November 23-27 and be webcast live on the WSL website.

For more information on the event go to www.WorldSurfLeague.com.

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.