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.

STATE OF SURF Event Rescheduled

Source: Transworld Business

The upcoming TRANSWORLD BUSINESS STATE OF SURF 2016 event has been rescheduled for Wednesday, November 16, from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at TEN: The Enthusiast Network’s Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters.

Rob Machado, our keynote interview for the evening, is heading to Mexico this week to catch the incoming swell — we advise you to get out there and do the same.

The STATE OF SURF 2016 event next Wednesday, November 16, will feature a panel discussion with Firewire CEO Mark Price, Hurley VP of Sports Marketing Pat O’Connell, and General Admission Marketing Director Damien ‘Dooma’ Fahrenfort, and a keynote interview with Rob Machado. The evening will kick off with drinks from Duck Foot Brewing Company.

We look forward to everyone joining us for a night of insights and networking.


For more information on the STATE OF SURF 2016 report, click here.

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 and on the WSL app.

For more information, log onto

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.

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)

WSL North America Qualifying Series Finale Begins

Source: WSL

Mateia Hiquily (PYF) soared into Round 5 and will do battle with Jake Marshall (USA), Keoni Yan (JPN)< and Olamana Eleogram (HAW) at the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 in Heat 7. Image: WSL/ Johan Pacheo

The final stop of the World Surf League (WSL) North America Qualifying Series (QS), the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000, has been called ON in three-to-four foot conditions at Esterillos Este, Costa Rica. Action will resume with the completion of Round 5 Heat 1 of men’s competition, followed by women’s Round 2.

“Yesterday was an incredible day and we got to see some amazing surfing,” North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins said. “However, coming to an abrupt halt after the crocodile sighting, we will pick up with Round 5 Heat 1 — picking up with 13:23 remaining on the clock after the water safety team has giving us the go ahead to run. We’ll get women’s Round 2 in the water and then go right back to the remaining heats of men’s Round 5.”

Round 5 Heat 1 had 13:23 remaining on the clock with Tomas Fernandes (BRA) leading the heat, accruing an 11.84 heat total. Santiago Muniz (ARG) held second place with a 7.17 heat total, Luel Felipe (BRA) remained in third place with a 6.47 total, and Tales Rodrigues (BRA) sat in fourth place with a 4.97 total.

Women’s Round 2 opens with former CT competitor surfer Pauline Ado (FRA) taking on event wildcard Lisbeth Vindas (CRI), Round 1 standout Bailey Nagy (HAW), and Malia Ward (USA).

Following that heat, Tia Blanco (USA) will begin her campaign to vie for the 2016 North America Women’s QS title against Ella Williams (NZL), Rachel Presti (USA), Rina Kitazawa (JPN) in Round 1 Heat.

Round 1 Heat 7 will see current North America QS No. 1 Meah Collins (USA) come face-to-face with contender Kirra Pinkerton (USA), Dominic Barona (ECU), and Bethany Zelasko (USA).

Returning back to men’s Round 5 following the women, current WQS No. 4 Ian Gouveia (BRA) will continue his run against Jackson Baker (AUS), Andy Criere (FRA), and Oney Anwar (IDN) in Heat 5.

Following that heat, the only remaining threat to Kilian Garland’s (USA) No. 1 spot on the North America rankings, Lucca Mesinas (PER), returns to the water against Manuel Selman (CHL), Granger Larsen (HAW), and Jorgann Couzinet (FRA).

Website: World Surf League

Surfers Battle at Essential Costa Rica Open Pro

Source: WSL

Deivid Silva (BRA) earned a Perfect 10 for his extraordinary air followed by a critical finishing manuever in Round 4 Heat 8 of the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000. Image: WSL/ Johan Pacheo

Top seeds made their Round 4 debuts at the World Surf League (WSL) Essential Costa Rica Open Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 amidst an already talent-stacked field of competitors that proved formidable opponents. Continued three-to-four conditions allowed for surfers to put on an absolute showcase of incredible surfing throughout the day as Round 4 was completed in its entirety before beginning the opening four heats of Round 5.

The inclement weather couldn’t put a damper on Deivid Silva’s (BRA) shining performance – posting a Perfect 10 with a tail-high, full rotation that he was able to ride cleanly out of before finishing the closing section. Silva currently sits at No. 14 on the WQS rankings, after being relegated from No. 8, and is anxious to make it back into the Top 10 for a chance at qualifying for the Championship Tour (CT).

“That was a really fun heat, some of the waves were offering some good sections for airs and I’m just so happy to get a ten on that final wave,” Silva said. “It reminds me a lot of home and I train in these conditions every day I can and stoked to turn that into a heat win. This is a super important event for me with 3,000 points, but I’m feeling confident and just focused on the task at hand.”

Immediately following that heat, fellow Brazilian and current WQS No. 4 Ian Gouevia (BRA) earned a win to continue his chance at solidifying himself within the Top 10 for a chance at CT qualification.

The event was brought to an abrupt halt after Tales Rodrigues (BRA) saw a crocodile in the lineup of Esterillos Este, Costa Rica, in Round 5 Heat 1. The lifeguards patrolling the waters on jetskis sprang into action and circled around Rodrigues to ward off the crocodile as Rodrigues, Santiago Muniz (BRA), Luel Felipe (BRA), and Tomas Fernandes (PRT) made their way to shore.

Rodrigues was pointing to the water where he saw the crocodile breach in his proximity after making his way back to the lineup. Fortunately, Rodrigues remained physically unscathed by the incident, but was badly shaken up.

“All of us are extremely grateful that no one was seriously injured in the lineup today,” North America Tour Manager Brian Robbins said. “Rodrigues’ quick actions to make the water safety aware was amazing and the water safety team’s rapid response was truly commendable. The safety of our athletes is of the highest priority for the WSL and the decision was made to call the contest off for the day immediately. We want to express our utmost gratitude to the water safety team for their support and helping keep our athletes safe.”

“I ended my wave and was paddling back strongly when I saw the turbulence in the water,” Rodrigues said following the incident. “It was about the size of my surfboard. I have no words to describe what I’m feeling right now, it was truly terrifying.”

The contest did not recommence following the siting and event organizers will reconvene at 6:30 a.m. local time to assess the lineup with the water safety team.

The incident occurred following a full day of competition and Round 5 Heat 1 had 13:23 remaining on the clock with Fernandes leading the heat, accruing an 11.84 heat total. Muniz held second place with a 7.17 heat total, Felipe remained in third place with a 6.47 total, and Rodrigues sat in fourth place with a 4.97 total.

Prior to the serious situation on hand the Brazilian Storm stole the show from the first-goings with numerous excellent, to near-perfect, rides ridden throughout Round 4. With nearly all the top seeded surfers still accounted for, there is plenty of incredible performances to be seen.

Rodrigues performed brilliantly, boasting an 8.50 to take Round 4 Heat 1. But it was Felipe who posted a near-perfect 9.93 in the following heat and followed up with a 7.00. Currently sitting at No. 81, the Brazilian still has his ambitions set high and wants to earn a big result here in Costa Rica.

“That heat I started off pretty well with two good scores but it felt amazing to get that nine at the end,” Felipe said. “The waves were really fun this morning and I just kept building my scores — really just waiting for a good one and so stoked it came. This is a really big contest since there are still a lot of points up for grabs with the 6,000 in Brazil and two 10,000s in Hawaii so I’m still keeping my hopes for CT qualification. But, it starts with this contest so I need a good result here first.”

Lucca Mesinas (PER) continued the trend of excellent surfing and boasted a near-perfect 9.43 of his own, backing it up with an 8.93. With Kilian Garland (USA) and Taylor Clark (USA) both eliminated in Round 4, Mesinas has the opportunity to claim the North America QS title with a runner-up finish at this event. But, the Peruvian has bigger ambitions on his mind.

“I’m really just surfing and having fun,” Mesinas said. “If I win the North America title that will be great, but these points are important and I’m keeping my focus in every heat as it comes. Before my heat I saw there was really good left to the north so that became my plan and I just went straight there. I’m confident in my backhand coming from nothing but lefts in Peru where I live.”

“I couldn’t really hear my scores but I felt good in my surfing and knew those scores would be pretty good – it’s great to know I got a 9 and an 8,” Mesinas added. “I always come and surf about forty-minutes before my heat to really try and find out where the best waves are and how they are. Everyone rips so you just have to choose the right waves in order to come out of these heats.”

Event organizers will reconvene at 6:30 a.m. local time along with the water safety team to conduct another full patrol of the lineup before determining the event’s status of a 7:00 a.m. start.

Essential Costa Rica Open Pro Men’s QS3,000 Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Tales Rodrigues (BRA) 13.97, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 13.83, Kilian Garland (USA) 13.74, Nomme Mignot (FRA) 8.80
Heat 2: Luel Felipe (BRA) 16.63, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 10.73, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 10.33, Jose Lopez (VEN) 9.20
Heat 3: Miguel Tudela (PER) 12.84, Tomas Fernandez (PRT) 10.57, Wesley Leite (BRA) 9.77, Nolan Rapoza (USA) 7.77
Heat 4: Marcos Correa (BRA) 15.67, Santiago Muniz (ARG) 14.43, Leandro Usuna (ARG) 13.10, Paul Cesar Distinguin (FRA) 8.47
Heat 5: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.50, Matt Passaquindici (USA) 11.93, Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 11.33, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 4.50
Heat 6: Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 12.23, Luke Dillon (GBR) 10.90, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.40, Shaun Burns (USA) 7.13
Heat 7: Jordy Collins (USA) 12.33, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 12.13, Medi Veminardi (REU) 11.70, Charly Quivront (FRA) 6.50
Heat 8: Deivid Silva (BRA) 18.67, Alonso Correa (PER) 15.57, Jason Torres (CRI) 12.60, Alan Donato (BRA) 8.10
Heat 9: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.93, Manuel Selman (CHL) 11.30, Elijah Gates (HAW) 10.03, Jair Perez (CRI) 9.97
Heat 10: Jackson Butler (AUS) 13.76, Granger Larsen (HAW) 13.50, Marco Fernandez (BRA) 13.27, Dylan Southworth (MEX) 10.77,
Heat 11: Lucca Mesinas (PER) 18.36, Andy Criere (FRA) 14.03, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 10.70, Guillermo Satt (CHL) 12.77
Heat 12: Jorgann Couzinet (REU) 16.50, Oney Anwar (IDN) 15.34, Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 12.23, Che Allan (BRB) 7.97
Heat 13: Jake Marshall (USA) 14.84, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 14.14, Taylor Clark (USA) 11.20, Parker Coffin (USA) 10.63
Heat 14: Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 15.37, Dimitri Ouvre (BLM) 12.56, Kevin Schulz (USA) 10.50, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 9.96
Heat 15: Timothee Bisso (GLP) 15.60, Keoni Yan (JPN) 12.27, Timothee Bisso (GLP) 15.60, Joaquin Del Castillo (PER) 11.74, Victor Bernado (BRA) 9.50
Heat 16: Yago Dora (BRA) 12.73, Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 11.46, Josh Burke (BRB) 10.54, Yuri Goncalves (BRA) 10.27

Website: WSL

Ella Williams Wins Surf Title at Lacanau Pro

Source: WSL

Finalists of the 2016 Médoc Océan Lacanau Pro. Image: WSL / Masurel

New Zealand’s Ella Williams, 21, has won the women’s Médoc Océan Lacanau Pro over local surfer Justine Dupont (FRA), 24, in two-to-three foot lefts and rights.

Dupont and Williams engaged in a tight back-and-forth battle in the fading swell, mainly scoring medium scores in the first half of the final until the French surfer took a first good score for the lead. Dupont started on a left-hander and managed to squeeze in three turns for a 6.00.

Williams answered with a very similar ride, on a slightly weaker wave for a 5.43 to stay in the race. The former World Junior Champion, Williams kept surfing the first waves of each set, reaching the lineup back first to keep the priority and her choice of wave for most of the final. This lead Williams to start on a great right-hander to tag multiple radical backhand turns for an excellent 8.17 and the win.

“I’m so happy, all year I haven’t had a win so it’s a really nice feeling to get back again,” an ecstatic Williams said. “The higher tide in our last heat sort of stopped delivering waves but we made the most of it. I was lucky to be in a priority position when that right came through, but I tried to time them and be ready, that definitely paid off. I’ll be moving on to Spain now and will take it heat by heat again but it’d be great another good result there for sure.”

One of the most spectacular surfer this week, and consistent through the earlier rounds, local Lacanau rider Dupont was unfortunately not in position for what was the best wave of the final and had to watch her opponent ride her way to victory. However, the new found form of Dupont is a good sign for the French surfer in her requalification efforts in this back half of the season.

“I surfed a lot of heats and had good scores all-event so I’m definitely getting back into a great rhythm,” she admitted. “My new strategies and hard work seem to pay off, well except in the finals, but I’m happy. I’ve worked extensively with my coaches, mentally and physically, and will have their support in the next event in Anglet so I look forward to competing some more and trying to win an event again !”

Former Championship Tour resident Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), 33, had a hard time finding the gems in a bumpier lineup this afternoon and couldn’t quite rival with Dupont’s excellent wave choices. Despite great surfing earlier in the event, Bevilacqua placed equal third and will move on to her next event at the Pro Anglet with another great result under her belt.

Author of yet another amazing run in this event, current European QS leader and recent finalist in England Ariane Ochoa (EUK), 18, was unfortunately unable to match Williams’ rhythm in their semifinal bout and was forced out of the event in equal third place. The Basque junior proved once again she’s one of the most promising forces in the European contingent and will look to continue on her amazing roll when competitors head to Anglet next week.

Earlier in the day, the first half of the men’s third round saw the event’s top seeds take it to the water in the clean two-to-three foot peelers and a brilliant A-frame type of peak, giving everyone opportunities to feature their best surfing.

Reigning European Champion Pedro Henrique (PRT), 34, launched his summer leg assault in Lacanau today with a good first heat to advance to Round 4 alongside French powerhouse Marc Lacomare. The long-time Portuguese QS threat had the best of starts this season with a victory in Israel but has somewhat lacked consistency mid-season, now sitting 57th on the QS ranks.

“Conditions were super good this morning, we had a great heat with a lot of waves for everyone,” he said. “I’m just back from the ISA games where I competed with the Portuguese team that was great too. I’m enjoying every contest, I’m just trying to get better and score points, my main goal is qualification as always. I’m traveling with the family here, it’s the best part cause I don’t feel like I’m missing out away from home and they’re a great support team.”

Brazil’s air specialist Yago Dora (BRA), 20, barely escaped a tight battle with Jake Marshall (USA), despite scoring the best score of the day, a near-perfect 9.60 for a gigantic backhand rotation.

“I made so many mistakes in that heat I’m really not stoked about it,” he reflected. “Luckily I had that little back up cause all my other waves were terrible, I got two nice lefts and fell, I wasn’t happy about it. I feel like I was immature, I should have gotten a back up score really fast after that big score, instead I went big on all the waves and almost blew it ! I now have one more chance to get it right !”

Nomme Mignot (FRA), 19, secured his first QS heat win this season with a solid combo of a radical top turn before launching into a forehand full rotation into the flats. The former finalist in Lacanau clinched an excellent 9 point ride and a ticket for the fourth round.

Surfers and organizers will reconvene Saturday at 7:30AM for a new call to decide if conditions allow the men’s event to restart.


1 – Ella Williams (NZL) 13.60
2 – Justine Dupont (FRA) 12.57