Stop No. 10 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, resumed in excellent waves again as Supertubos delivered six-to-eight foot barrels all-day for the World’s best to perform. The World Title race took an exciting turn today with five of the eight contenders bowing out early in Peniche, opening the door for John John Florence (HAW) to potentially claim back-to-back World Titles with a big finish in Portugal. Gabriel Medina (BRA) will try to play spoiler in the Hawaiian’s campaign when competition recommences as the 2014 World Champion can still push the title race to Hawaii with a win at Supertubos.
Current World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW) took on lethal wildcard Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) in Round 3 and left nothing to chance as the reigning World Champion — who was crowned in Peniche last year — operated his barrel riding magic to put two solid scores on the board early on. Ribeiro fought hard and navigated a couple of great barrels but wasn’t unable to match Florence’s impeccable wave selection and fell short of turning the heat.
“It was definitely a scary heat, there were a lot of good waves coming through and he’s a really good surfer!” Florence said. “I just wanted to be on the same peak as him when I was in priority and kind of play it safe. I was so excited, the wind was blowing into the lefts and I was going so fast on that first wave I just had to hit it. I thought for a second I had it but I landed way too much into the flats.”
Reigning World Champin and current World No.1 on the Jeep Leaderboard John John Florence of Hawaii advances to Round Four of the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal after defeating wildcard Vasco Ribeiro of Portugal in Heat 6 of Round Three at Supertubos, Peniche, Portugal.
Josh Kerr (AUS) landed the day’s biggest upset by eliminating current No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard Jordy Smith (ZAF) in their Round 3 match-up. The Australian caught a good wave in the opening minutes to post a 7.17 and take an early lead. Smith multiplied his efforts but opportunities didn’t come his way and the South African contemplated a potential end to his world title campaign as Kerr walked away with the win.
Jordy Smith (ZAF) after his defeat in Heat 7 of Round Three at Meo Rip Curl Pro 2017, Peniche, Portugal
“It’d be cool to re-qualify to surf just one more event at Snapper where I grew up, but yes I’m pretty much officially done with the tour,” Kerr admitted post-heat. “I’m looking forward to doing a lot more trips and traveling with the family, we have great opportunities to turn to. My daughter really wants to do an event with me so at some point I might come out of retirement to do a QS if she’s doing the QS. I’m Jordy (Smith)’s number one fan and I really want him to win the world title so hopefully he still gets a shot at Pipe and can pull it off there.”
Gabriel Medina (BRA) is the last remaining World Title contender still going at Supertubos. As the day winded down in slower heats and lower scores, the former World Champion and recent winner in France paddled out into the sunset and put on an all time performance to keep his Portuguese campaign alive. Medina started his 30-minute bout with a near-perfect barrel ride scored 9.77 to instantly push Ethan Ewing (AUS) in a pressure situation. Freed from all pressure, the explosive goofyfoot took his act to the air and entertained the massive crowds posted on the water’s edge.
“I’m not thinking about the title, I just want to surf and I’m stoked I got some good waves in that last heat it was super fun,” Medina said. “Ethan (Ewing) is a very good surfer and I don’t think you can ever hold back in a heat. I always tried to replace and improve my backup and that’s why I went for the airs. Supertubos is hard, you can get two 9s quickly on two sets so I just tried to go big.”
In a slow match-up between current No. 5 on the Jeep Leaderboard Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), the Italian rookie got busy at the 10-minute mark to score two back-to-back barrels, the best of which on his forehand to post a 6.33 and put Wilkinson up against the ropes. The giant killer from Rome, who ended the World Title race efforts of Filipe Toledo (BRA) yesterday, continued to upset the World’s best to keep his Portuguese campaign alive.
Rookie Frederico Morais of Portugal advances to Round Four of the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal after defeating Michel Bourez of Tahiti in Heat 8 of Round Three at Supertubos, Peniche, Portugal. There was a moment of confusion if there may be an interference call but it was judged both Morias and Bourez both stood up after the head was over thus no intereference was called.
“I’m at a point where I don’t have much to lose so I’m just going out there and waiting for good waves,” Fioravanti said. “Here in Europe, I feel really comfortable and I have so many people here supporting me. I’m just trying to go out there and have fun and if I lose it doesn’t matter.”
Fresh off his season-best result in France, an excellent quarterfinal finish, Miguel Pupo (BRA) continued his recent successful trend and once again defeated Adriano De Souza (BRA) in Round 3. Pupo already altered the former World Champion’s title race in France and definitely buried his chances today in Peniche. Despite De Souza’s catching the heat’s best wave, an incredible 9.27, Pupo stayed busy to try to improve his heat total and eventually took the win.
“When you surf against Adriano (de Souza) there’s no hesitation, you have to take every wave and make them count,” Pupo said. “I’ve worked so hard all year to get to this point, I’ve made a few heats in this European leg so let’s do it! I’m not really counting points or anything, I just really want to surf well and make my heats to show everyone I still can surf and hopefully keep my spot on tour for next year.”
Sebastian Zietz (HAW) opened his account with an insane backhand barrel on a massive set wave and came out clean to claim the second highest single-wave score of the event, a near-perfect 9.70 out of 10. As time ran out, the ocean went quiet and both Zietz and Conner Coffin (USA) scoured the lineup for smaller waves and any scoring opportunity. But eventually, the Hawaiian’s early effort became the only major wave of the heat and saw Zietz move on to Round 4.
“It was just a really perfect wave,” Zietz stated. “I saw a lot of good ones and I was so excited to get out there. The waves are absolutely pumping. The wave got a little small at the end, so I got really small to get out and I’m stoked to get a big score. Yesterday the bombs weren’t always the good ones, but today you can pretty much wait for the bigger ones and go right or left on it.”
Julian Wilson (AUS), who won his opening heat yesterday with the round’s lowest heat total of 4.97, built momentum in Round 3 to eliminate fellow Aussie Jack Freestone (AUS) and move on to Round 4. The Sunshine Coast resident, currently sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard, still has a mathematical chance to rival Florence for the 2017 World Title but will need two massive results in Peniche and Hawaii.
“It helps just to come down and feel out the swell and the waves are so nice down this morning,” said Wilson. “I was excited to get out there today, it was a fun heat and I’m so happy to make it. The forecast is so good and I’m staying with Bede (Durbidge) and he had me so pumped up. The crowds are amazing here and so passionate for the sport so it’s infectious to feed off the energy that’s on the beach.”
An extremely patient Kolohe Andino (USA) was trailing Italo Ferreira (BRA) for the most part of their Round 3 battle. Andino put two scores on the board early on and sat patiently while Ferreira surfed twelve waves to try and build house. In the dying seconds of their match-up, a good right rolled through the lineup just in time for Andino to pull in and get barreled for a buzzer-beater 7.83.
“In my mind that heat earlier when I got the 9 was what we do these events for but actually that last heat was a better feeling for me,” Andino said. “Getting a wave in the last second was really incredible. I think I claimed it about 5 times. I get inspired by baseball players — I feel like the pitching is kind of similar to the waves, you never know what you’re going to get, and their demeanor is kind of low key but pumped at the same time.”
Frederico Morais (PRT) and Connor O’Leary (AUS) both made it out of Round 3 today, to keep the Rookie of the Year race increasingly close while Joan Duru (FRA), Ian Gouveia (BRA) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW) bowed out in equal 25th in Peniche. With only one more event after Peniche, every point taken in Portugal will be crucial to claim the coveted title by year’s end.
“It was a great battle and we both managed to get some good scores, which was great,” said O’Leary “It’s been a good year from me. I had a little slump on the last two events, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m a rookie and I have a lot to learn. I’m stoked to get a few results earlier this year so I don’t have to worry too much about the QS.”
“It was a really tough one,” Morais said of his match-up with Michel Bourez (PYF). “I’m not sure, but it feels like every time I paddle out it just gets super slow. I didn’t get any big scores, but it was a fun heat. I waited and built my scoreboard, so I’m stoked to get through.”
Surfline, official forecaster for the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal, are calling for:
Head high to slightly overhead waves leftover on Monday morning with clean conditions, but size continues to ease through the day. Fresh run of head-overhead WNW swell moves in Tuesday and continues through mid-week, while good wind conditions prevail. At this point, there are no swells of much significance lining up for the last days of waiting period (27th-31st).
Event organizers will reconvene at 7:45 a.m. (local time) tomorrow at Supertubos to assess conditions and make the first call.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Hossegor looking a bit good. The crowd was mahoosive and all.
The Quik and Roxy Pro France are done. Blazed through in three blistering days of action. The weather gods have been kind with all day offshores, summer like weather and pumping surf. You couldn’t really ask for more as different tides and swells gifted tubes, long walls and air sections. John John looked unstoppable in early rounds, channelling Slater’s uberfreak alien genius, Seabass and Kolohe were on form and legends like Fanning and Parko seemed a bit out of sorts. The semi with JJF and Medina was always going to decide the winner and Medina took the heat and the event. It does leave JJF leading the tour going into Portugal… On the women’s side all four of the semi finalists could’ve taken the event but the final between Riss and Lakey ended up with Carissa back on the familiar podium.
Right now there’s a DJ blasting tunes in the Centrale plaza in Hossegor, there’s thousands of people in town and it’s going to be a messy one. But the wise would take it easy as tomorrow is going to be pumping. Swell is building overnight and it’s going to get mental. Hopefully a top 34 freesurf frothfest to round off a cracking trip.
Tyler Wright nailing a third with a messed up knee is impressive/madness.
John John being a freak in the quarters
Micks’s Hail Mary
John and a near impossible tube he made to huge roars from the crowd
Not every day you snap a board on an air attempt. Medina did.
John semi styling
Medina’s el rollo.
Riss killing it
Lakey was solid all event and was unlucky to not win
This win meant a lot…
John just plain showing off by this point
Mick enjoying being back in the sharp end of events…
Bullet points from day two:
• Jordy Smith knocked by local wildcard Marc Lacomare. A world title race hand grenade right there. Lacomare is in the qtrs.
• John John put on an otherworldly display of full rote aerial prowess and is into the quarters.
• Mick and Jeremy was one of those ‘judges I’m looking at you’ moments. Arguments will persist if Mick’s last wave was an eight or no.
• Outside bank or the shorey was the tactical call of the day.
• Adrien Toyon free surfing south of the comp pretty much won the tube rider of the day with a few mad drainers in the shorey.
Owen Wright. Photo: Sharpy
Kikas. Photo: Sharpy
Mick Photo: Masurel
Kolohe Photo: Poullenot
HOSSEGOR, France (Friday, October 13, 2017) – The Quiksilver Pro France, Stop No. 9 of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), resumed in absolutely incredible conditions to complete the men’s second, third and fourth rounds of competition. The day witnessed countless upsets with the defeats of most of the Top 10 surfers as conditions rewarded risk-taking in the thumping barrels and tides played with the minds of the world’s best athletes.
A slow heat between Australians Owen Wright and Stuart Kennedy came down to the wire as both surfers struggled to find any scores above the average. That was until Wright locked into a long and deep barrel on his backhand to drop one of the highest scores of the event, a near-perfect 9.17 for the win.
“That was a bit of luck, but you watch it all morning and you know how hard it is to surf a heat with a peak that’s so random, it’s really hard to pick one spot,” Wright said. “Stu (Kennedy) and I paddled out on this right to get a couple turns out, but it got really full and was tricky so I just decided to move across to the shorey and give that a stab.”
Kolohe Andino (USA) ended Bede Durbidge’s (AUS) final French run early as the two surfers battled the shifty peaks of La Graviere. The Californian took the debate to the air for his backup score and slightly edged out Durbidge for his spot into Round Four.
“Bede (Durbidge) is Mr. cool, calm, collected and we’ve had so many man-on-man heats together,” Andino said. “Two years ago we surfed against each other here in pretty much the same conditions and he handed it to me — he had like two 9s. I was really nervous in this one. Anything that came I just tried to rip it as hard as I could and I’m so happy it worked out.”
Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Adriano de Souza (BRA) paddled out when the peak really settled close to shore. While De Souza struggled to locate the open sections, Pupo had a blast, locking into two excellent barrels to post a 16.30 total and eliminate the former World Champion.
“I was surfing in Supertubos before I came here and was training on my backside barrel because I feel I have to get better on that,” Pupo said. “I was training those pumps before getting in the barrel and it kind of set me in rhythm for this event. ”
Pupo continued to impress as he led the charge in Round Four to claim the first spot in the quarterfinals.
Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Frederico Morais (PRT) took two completely different approaches in Heat 4. The Brazilian stayed on the inside threading hollow barrels while Morais tried to surf the rights out the back and opted for the rail game. As the tide filled up, the rights got fatter and while Morais failed to go over the average, Ibelli was building a solid scoreboard and ultimately a heat win.
“Since Bells Beach, I haven’t made it out of Round Three so I’m super stoked,” Ibelli said. “Most importantly I was just trying to have fun and enjoy the moment. Just like in a freesurf, I tried to catch as many waves as possible and find the right current, the right rhythm and a barrel that I really like.”
Giant killer Marc Lacomare (FRA) continued to slay the CT’s Top 34, taking down Jeep Leaderboard No. 1 Jordy Smith (ZAF) in an epic Round Three battle. The talented French wildcard who eliminated Julian Wilson (AUS) yesterday, tubed his way into Round Four for his best-ever result in a Championship Tour event.
“It feels amazing, we have good waves this year and all my friends and family here on the beach it does not get much better than this,” Lacomare admitted. “I think it’s an advantage to surf at home, especially for me. I’m not on the CT, not going for a world title, I’m just trying to surf well and be smart.”
“It’s France, it changes really quickly, for example the wave that we were surfing out front is pretty much non-existent anymore,” Smith stated. “I got two okay waves and kind of had a rhythm, Marc (Lacomare) sat on that little left. With the tide dropping, I thought I should head out to the point of the sandbank, got a good score but it wasn’t enough.”
Lacomare further impressed as he put Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) in a combination situation in their Round Four match-up for his spot in the quarters. His impeccable wave-selection and radical backhand attack on home turf were too much to take in for his opponents.
John John Florence (HAW) lit up the whole beach in Round Three Heat 7 with arguably one of the biggest airs this season to post a 9.73 on his second effort. The reigning World Champion capitalized on the early exits of Smith, Wilson and De Souza with an incredible display of high-performance surfing in the perfect peaks of Hossegor. He later launched into a second massive rotation, this time on his forehand to definitely shut down any hopes for rookie Ethan Ewing (AUS) to make it out of Round Three.
“It wasn’t what I planned to do out there but it just kind of happened, especially after that first left I just tried to do airs on every wave,” Florence said. “I carried out my heat the same way I would if Jordy would have made it or not, just focused on myself and having fun!”
Florence scored another near-perfect heat in Round Four with two massive airs and a18.56 points combo to send Fanning and Parkinson into Round Five.
The combat between Mick Fanning (AUS) and hometown hero Jeremy Flores (FRA) brought tension amongst the thousands of fans who came to support their Frenchmen. Flores opened with an 8.83 in the opening minutes and applied pressure from the get-go. But three-time WSL Champion Fanning did not let the situation faze him and built a comeback from scratch, ultimately dropping the winning score in the dying seconds of their match-up.
“It went flat for a long time but I felt calm, I knew the waves were going to come it was just a matter of when,” Fanning reflected. “I love surfing with Jeremy (Flores), we’ve had so many battles over the years and they’re always so intense. He can really hold his head high, he went mad!”
In the following heat, Joel Parkinson (AUS) took down Ian Gouveia (BRA) in a slightly less entertaining heat. Gabriel Medina (BRA) left no room for another Hossegor local, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) to find his rhythm, and put together a solid effort to make his way into Round Four.
Joan Duru (FRA) joined Lacomare as the last two Frenchmen surviving Round Three at the term of an intense battle with Adrian Buchan (AUS). The heat was a relatively low-scoring affair that came down to a last-second effort from Duru to steal the lead back from the Australian. Buchan had two final chances to turn the heat but fell both times and let Duru walk away with the win.
“I felt pretty bad at the start, I couldn’t get the good waves and was stuck in a rip,” Duru said. “Then I figured it out and got a 6, so I thought I was still in and getting that priority at the end I knew it was my chance. I just stayed patient and when that wave came I really didn’t want to blow it.”
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) and Nat Young (USA) wrapped up the action from Round Three with an exciting all-goofy foot battle, eventually dominated by Young, creating yet another upset by dispatching of World No. 4 in equal 13th place.
Event officials will re-assess conditions at 8:15 a.m Saturday for a potential final day of both the Quiksilver & Roxy Pro France.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro France, are calling for:
Medium size NW swell will ease through Friday and fade further during the first half of Saturday as favorable wind continues. An even larger swell will fill in for Sunday, building Saturday afternoon/evening and dropping on Monday. Another strong WNW swell looks increasingly likely for Tuesday before fading Wednesday, although wind conditions may be tricky.
Quiksilver Pro France Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.50 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 8.60
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.80 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.23
Heat 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 16.30 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.17
Heat 4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.33 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 9.60
Heat 5: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.33 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 5.73
Heat 6: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 14.10 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.00
Heat 7: John John Florence (HAW) 19.16 def. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 14.50
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.24 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.00
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.77 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.77
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.90 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 8.53
Heat 11: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.63 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.27
Heat 12: Nat Young (USA) 14.73 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.43
Quiksilver Pro France Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.80, Owen Wright (AUS) 12.33, Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.60
Heat 2: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 15.43, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.87, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.07
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 18.56, Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.03, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.37
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.43, Nat Young (USA) 11.33, Joan Duru (FRA) 8.67
Quiksilver Pro France Round 5 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Roxy Pro France Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
SF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
WORLD CLASS SURFERS CONFIRMED FOR UK’S LARGEST INTERNATIONAL SURF COMPETITION
EDOUARD DELPERO ⬥ TOM BUTLER ⬥ LUKE DILLON ⬥ ⬥ LUCY CAMPBELL ⬥ JOBE HARRISS ⬥ STANLEY NORMAN ⬥ ALAN STOKES ⬥ LEE ANN CURREN ⬥ JUSTINE DUPONT ⬥ PEONY KNIGHT ⬥ EMILIEN FLEURY ⬥ ADAM GRIFFITHS ⬥ ANTOINE DELPERO ⬥ BEN SKINNER ⬥ EMILY CURRIE ⬥
AND MORE CONFIRMED TO COMPETE
Boardmasters and the World Surf League (WSL) have once again confirmed a competitor line up of the highest-calibre for Boardmasters 2017 including the Quiksilver Men’s, Roxy Women’s Qualifying Series (QS1000) and the Jeep WSL Men’s and Women’s Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS1,000). These exhilarating events take place at the UK’s surf mecca, Fistral Beach, Cornwall from Wednesday 9 – Sunday 13 August.
As stop #29 on the WSL international qualifying series tour the cream of the crop, elite athletes will cascade upon Fistral Beach reaffirming Boardmasters as the UK’s premier Surf Competition. Record numbers of fans, family and friends are expected to watch all the sporting action unfold. Boardmasters Fistral Beach site is open to the public, there is no ticket necessary so festivalgoers and locals are free to come down and take in all the competition has to offer. Don’t miss out on this chance to catch world-class surfing up close at one of Britain’s most exceptional beaches.
Boardmasters is delighted to welcome back Angelo Bonomelli, who nearly took the coveted Boardmasters title last year in the Quiksilver Men’s Open. Huge home names and visiting international stars will battle it out for the top spot, the formidable Edouard Delpero will be laying it on the line, as well as exciting wildcard entries from Boardmasters AmbassadorLuke Dillon who’s consistently impressed at the prestigious competition. The bright rising star Jobe Harriss and highly decoratedbig wave rider Tom Butler will be looking to push UK surfing to the highest level, as well as the fearless young newcomer Stanley Norman.
Moving over to the exceedingly competitive Roxy Women’s Open category, the UK’s top female pros are set to give fans a thrilling battle out on the waves as Boardmasters confirms entries from UK #1 ranked Peony Knight and Boardmasters Ambassador Lucy Campbell. Renownedtop French rider Justine Dupont will be looking to capitalise on her incredible agility and skill, while Lee Ann Curren will be on double duty, competing at the highest level as well as performing at the legendary Day Sessions on Fistral Beach.
The Jeep Men’s Longboard category will see reigning champion Edouard Delpero return to Fistral Beach defending his outstanding 2016 win. The French favourite showed sublime poise and exceptional skill narrowly beating his brother and then world #1 Antoine Delpero for the title. Antoine has lost no momentum and is bound to light up the competition with electric performances. The category is set to be tightly contested with Cornish local heroes and world class competitors Ben Skinner and Adam Griffiths making their bid for the title.
Boardmasters is stoked to welcome back Alice Lemoigne after two back to back wins in the Jeep Women’s Longboard (LQS1000) division. Hot on her heels will be 2016 runner up Rachael Tilly looking to triumph and craft-master Justine Dupont battling it out for the top spot.British prospects Emily Currie and Fistral Beach’s own Jenny Briant will also be vying for the all-important win.
Boardmasters International Surf Competition 2016 Champions were: Men’s Open – Shane Campbell (AUS) Women’s Open – Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) Men’s Longboard – Edouard Delpero (FRA) Women’s Longboard – Alice Lemoigne (REU)
Inspired by the freedom, adventure and creativity of surfing and music, Boardmasters was born in 1981. Expect parties that run late into the night and a beautiful beach to recuperate on during the day. The 5-day event is situated across two stunning locations in Cornwall – the surfing mecca of the UK, Fistral Beach, where world class International Surf Competitions take place, and arguably the most stunning location in the country to watch live music, Watergate Bay. Last year the grassroots surf and music festival welcomed over 150,000 festival goers to sunny Cornwall. Book your tickets now! Website link.
Watergate Bay tickets on sale NOW
Boardmasters operates a tiered ticket system with price bands for tickets changing over time. Book tickets now to guarantee the best price!
All tickets on sale now (Charger ticket includes bus pass, parking, VIP camping, Beach Session gigs, After Parties, Boardmasters t-shirt and tote bag)
Filipe Toledo (BRA) has won the Corona Open J-Bay today after besting 2017 CT Rookie Frederico Morais (PRT) in the Final. Stop No. 6 of 11 on the 2017 Championship Tour was graced with flawless conditions, resulting in barrier-breaking performances by the world’s best surfers, eight perfect 10-point rides and no shortage of drama.
Toledo, who was responsible for two of these Perfect 10s, showcased a new level to his progressive approach and will be rewarded with a boost from 14th to 7th on the Jeep Leaderboard. Today’s result also marks the Brazilian superstar’s best finish of the season to reboot his 2017 World Title campaign.
“I can’t believe it,” said Toledo. “J-Bay is always a contest that’s been my dream to win. To surf perfect waves like this that we did the entire contest. I’ve got to thank god for the amazing week that we’ve had. I’ve got my entire family here and supporting me. It’s unbelievable and I’m speechless. I think I might leave my hair like this for the rest of the year.”
Toledo’s fourth CT win did not come easy as a stacked field of competitors put the 22-year-old to task in each round. Toledo previously dispatched local favorite Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Quarterfinals with two impressive 9-point rides and then eliminated Julian Wilson (AUS) in the Semifinals.
“It has been an amazing week,” Toledo said. “This is definitely going to be the competition I remember for forty or fifty years, not just because I won but because of the level of surfing during this whole week. With J-Bay, the perfect waves and the level of surfing, it was perfect. Thank you to my crew that has supported me. I want to thank my wife and my daughter who have been here all week supporting me.”
The intense Final saw exciting exchanges between the Toledo and Morais. The two progressive challengers continued to deliver excellent-range scores for the J-Bay crowd, both escaping big barrels and unleashing big carves. With ten minutes left on the clock, another set provided both surfers an opportunity to improve their scores. Morais locked in a near-perfect 9.40 to close the gap to just 0.27 points on Toledo’s 18.00 two-wave total. Toledo attempted to improve his scoreline, but left priority with Morais for the remaining two minutes of the heat. Morais was not able to meet the requirement, giving Toledo the win.
Despite losing to Toledo in the Final, Morais delivered phenomenal surfing throughout his first CT event in South Africa. The rookie previously stunned the competition with a Perfect 10 to defeat reigning WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) in the Quarterfinals, before eliminating 2015 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Semifinals. Morais’ career-best finish will now move him up from World No. 18 to 12th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I just love this place, it is amazing,” Morais said. “Everyone is so nice, the waves are amazing, the weather is really similar to home, and the vibe that you feel here is crazy good. It is an unforgettable place. Thank you to everyone for watching and supporting us. First Final ever on the World Tour and it is amazing.
“Surfing against John (Florence), Mick (Fanning), Adriano (de Souza), Gabriel (Medina), Filipe (Toledo) was a crazy week,” continued Morais. “It is always a big challenge and you have to step up your game when you are against those guys. They are the best surfers in the world and World Champs and if you want to beat them you have to be prepared for everything. It is amazing to represent Portugal and be the first Portuguese surfer doing a Final on the World Tour. Thank you to everyone at home.”
2015 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) was dispatched by runner-up Morais in the Semifinals after the rookie posted two excellent-range scores. Today’s result is Medina’s first Semifinal berth since Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and his career-best result at this event (previously earned 5th place finishes in 2014, 2015, 2016). Previously at No. 11 on the Jeep Leaderboard, the Brazilian moves to 9th.
Julian Wilson (AUS) secured his best result of 2017 with a Semifinal berth today where he was defeated by Toledo. Wilson had a great run during the event including a Perfect 10 in Round 3 and remains at 8th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Current Jeep Ratings Leader Matt Wilkinson (AUS) was defeated by Semifinalist Wilson in the last Quarterfinal match-up. Despite his 5th place result in South Africa, Wilkinson will retain the Jeep Leader Jersey heading into the next CT stop, the Billabong Pro Tahiti.
“I started that heat and I fell on one really good wave that put me out of rhythm, but I am stoked that I came back to nearly take the heat,” Wilkinson said. “To watch all the guys that were in the race for this event dropping 9s and 10s, and to be the last guy left was pretty nice. To surf against Jules (Julian Wilson) in pumping waves is awesome. I will probably go to Teahupo’o to practice if there is a swell. I am excited to go back and hopefully get pumping waves.”
Two-time event winner Jordy Smith (ZAF) was eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Toledo and the 5th place finish (his third of the season) will see the South African remain at No. 3 on the rankings. It was an incredible event for Smith who posted a Perfect 20-point heat in Round 3 and another Perfect 10 in Round 5.
“This comp has had some amazing points for me and some where I’ve struggled, but overall I’m proud of myself and I stood tall between those moments and dealt with them,” Smith said. “Filipe (Toledo) surfed great in that last heat and he definitely got better waves than I did and that’s really the difference out there. I’m just really, really tired. Yesterday was just a big day for me. I just want to thank Jeffreys Bay for all the support and everybody that came down, it really meant a lot and I really appreciate that. I learn every time when I come here. There’s a lot of pressure because everybody wants me to do well and I want to do well you just have to take each heat for what it is. The year really starts now and Tahiti is next so I’m focused on that now and we’ll see where that puts me.”
The next stop on the 2017 Men’s WSL CT will be the Billabong Pro Tahiti from August 11 – 22, 2017. The women will next compete at the Vans US Open of Surfing, which opens July 31 and runs through August 6, 2017.
In a welcome move for the tour Kelly’s brand Outerknown has picked up title sponsorship of the Fiji Pro. Cloudbreak and Kelly go way back so it makes sense. Of course if he wins the event it might get a bit awkward… The judges will be on their best behaviour 😉
The World Surf League (WSL) today announces Outerknown as the title sponsor of the iconic WSL Championship Tour event in Fiji. The three-year partnership includes both men’s and women’s competitions at the OK Fiji Pro, which runs this season from May 28 through June 16, 2017.
Founded by 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater and acclaimed designer John Moore, Outerknown is a coastal-minded clothing brand that explores the connections between style and sustainability. By viewing every aspect of their business through the lens of responsibility, they aim to protect natural resources, empower the people crafting their clothes, and inspire positive change within the industry. Outerknown’s versatile collection is built with innovative, organic, and recycled materials sourced from factories that share their values.
Slater has delivered consistently barrier-breaking performances at the elite level in Fiji and the four-time event winner has a strong relationship with the island of Tavarua, making it his favorite wave, and the OuterKnown partnership a natural evolution.
“I fell in love with the small island of Tavarua a long time ago and I go back a few times every year.” said Kelly Slater. “It’s definitely my favorite escape and may be home to the happiest people on earth.”
A staple on the globally-celebrated WSL Championship Tour schedule, the Fiji stop epitomizes the “Dream Tour” concept and exists as a fan and athlete favorite. Boasting two world-class lefthand reef breaks in Cloudbreak and Restaurants, Fiji consistently delivers some of the best surfing of the season. Defending event winners Johanne Defay and Gabriel Medina will lead the WSL elite back this year where Outerknown will support the event.
“We’re very excited to welcome Outerknown to the WSL family and look forward to working with them to showcase the world’s best surfers at one of the most incredible events on the Championship Tour,” said Beth Greve, WSL Chief Commercial Officer.
“Outerknown was built on a foundation of style, sustainability and travel,” said John Moore, Outerknown’s Creative Director. “For us, Fiji brings together everything we stand for. It’s the ultimate destination; lush jungles, crystal clear waters, perfect waves. You look around and are surrounded by jaw-dropping natural beauty. There’s no better place on Earth to celebrate why we’re working so hard to protect our ocean and wild places, and we hope to inspire new fans from all around the world to explore sustainability.”
“The level of surfing on tour right now, on both the men’s and women’s sides, has never been higher,” Stephanie Gilmore, 6X WSL Women’s Champion and current 2017 tour frontrunner, said. “That’s in part because we have amazing waves to perform on. Fiji has some of the best waves on the planet and is part of the fabric of the Championship Tour. Having Outerknown step up to support men’s and women’s surfing with the OK Fiji Pro for the next three years is a great thing for surfing.”
The OK Fiji Pro gets underway with the women’s competition on May 28 through June 2, followed by the men’s event, which holds a competitive window of June 4 – 16. The events will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on the WSL’s Facebook page.