Italo Ferreira (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

The Corona Bali Protected, the third stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), got an early start and completed the men’s and women’s Seeding Round (Round 1) on opening day. The competitors showcased their flair in the three-to-four foot (1 – 1.2 metre) waves at Keramas to improve their seeds and avoid the dreaded Elimination Round. The top two surfers in each heat will advance directly to Round 3 (Round of 32 for men, Round of 16 for women), while the third place finishers will go to the Elimination Round (Round 2).
Local Wildcard Rio Waida Upsets with Early Heat Win, Kailani Johnson Relegated to Elimination Round
Wildcard Rio Waida (IDN) may have taken out the heat of his career so far, defeating two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and CT Rookie Deivid Silva (BRA) in their Round 1 matchup. Fresh off an equal third-place finish at the 2018 World Junior Championship, the 19-year-old Indonesian had his opportunity to perform on the big stage today and he capitalized on the opportunity. Waida’s intimate knowledge of Keramas was evident as the low tide conditions made things tough for the internationals who struggled to fire. Waida progresses into the Round of 32, where his next opponent will be determined after men’s Elimination Round 2 closes.

“I was so nervous before that heat but not because of my opponents but just because this is the CT,” Waida said. “I tried to forget about the fact it was Deivid (Silva) and Gabriel (Medina) in my heat and wanted to just focus on me and Keramas. It definitely feels good to have made it into the Round of 32 and I think I’ll feel more relaxed heading into my next heat. I know I’ll be up against another high seed but I know this wave better than most people so once again I’ll just focus on my surfing and the wave of Keramas.”

Unfortunately, Kailani Johnson (IDN) did not find the same wildcard success as Waida and will surf again in Round 2 of the Corona Bali Protected. After her Round 1 heat today against seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Johnson became the first Indonesian woman to ever compete in the Championship Tour event. Johnson will be against three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) and Paige Hareb (NZL) in Heat 1 of the

Stephanie Gilmore (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Elimination Round when competition resumes.

“It’s really cool to see the WSL award a wildcard to the highest Indonesian on the QS,” Gilmore said. “It really shows a commitment to grow surfing in a region where it’s not as popular. You could really see that yesterday with the Rising Tides event. There were so many young Indonesian girls participating and they all surfed so well, but Kailani is obviously leading the pack, so to surf against her in a heat was really special. She seemed nervous before the heat so as we paddled out I gave her a smile and just said, ‘Let’s have fun, we’ve got Keramas to ourselves.’ Then when we got out there she was straight to the peak and hustling for priority, so it shows that you can’t underestimate these girls because they’re hungry and they want it. She is a really accomplished surfer and it is awesome to see her compete on this level.”

“My first heat was actually really fun,” said Johnson. “It was a little bit slow but I am glad when the waves actually came they were fun. I did not make my first heat, but I am so lucky that there is another one and I get another chance to go out there and try my best. I did not know what to expect, but there was so much support when I came in. It was really lovely to see the whole community come out for not only me but Rio’s (Waida) heat, as well.”

Brasilians Toledo and Ferreira Light Up Keramas

Filipe Toledo (BRA) threw down an incredible performance in the shifting Keramas peaks in Heat 5 of Round 1 (Seeding Round). As to be expected, Toledo combined his lightning-fast rail game with his technical aerials to post an excellent heat total of 16.17 (out of a possible 20) to progress directly into the Round of 32 (Round 3).

“To land moves like that takes a lot of training,” Toledo said. “I grew up watching all of the air guys and surfing with my brother who had a lot of tricks, so I had a lot of inspiration to work hard at landing stuff like that. I love combinations, like a big carve to an air, or a barrel to a turn, which Keramas is really good for. I was just stoked to find that section out there and to be able to launch that air.”

Reigning Corona Bali Protected event winner Italo Ferreira (BRA) started where he left off at Keramas, taking out his opening matchup against compatriot Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW). Ferreira progressed with an uncharacteristically low heat total but knows he still has plenty left in the tank when he hits the water in the Round of 32.

“I’m so happy to be back here again and start with a win,” Ferreira said. “A week ago I hurt my ankle and was a bit worried about surfing in this event but am feeling really good now so I’m really happy. The waves were fun today so I can’t wait to surf my next heat here at Keramas.”
Ricardo Christie Proudly Wears Māori Flag on CT Jersey

Ricardo Christie (NZL) took out his Seeding Round matchup against Wade Carmichael (AUS) and rookie Seth Moniz (HAW) with an epic mixture of power and progression. Today’s heat win was special for Christie because he now represents his Māori heritage on his competition jersey sleeve along with the New Zealand flag on the other.

“I saw that Soli (Bailey) was representing his Indigenous Australian flag and realized that it would be an option for me to do as well,” Christie said. “I contacted WSL and they were really helpful in getting it organized, but we didn’t think it would all be ready to go until the middle of the season, so it was a really special moment when I got here and saw it on my sleeve. My Māori heritage comes on my mother’s side and I was brought up in a small, vastly Māori community, so I have so much respect for our culture and I’m really proud to represent my Māori heritage. I have been working hard this year to do my best but having the flag on my sleeve today definitely gave me a little bit of extra motivation.”

John John Florence (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Jeep Frontrunners Florence and Marks Fly Through Opening Heats

Current World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW) got his Corona Bali Protected campaign off to a good start today with a win in his opening heat of the Seeding Round. Florence surfed with confidence, boosting a huge full-rotation air-reverse to progress into the Round of 32 with Michael Rodrigues (BRA). Italian star Leonardo Fioravanti earned third in the heat and will be left to do battle in Elimination Round 2.

Not even a dreaded illness could stop current Jeep Frontrunner Caroline Marks (USA) in her opening heat of the Corona Bali Protected. Marks barely got a chance to watch the surf before her heat as she was focused on overcoming her sickness, but it didn’t matter as she cured her ailments with a dominant performance over Coco Ho (HAW) and Silvana Lima (BRA), who made her first CT appearance in 2019 after returning from a knee injury.

“I wasn’t feeling great this morning and wasn’t really too focused on that heat, so I’m stoked I just pulled the trigger and got out there,” Marks said. “Being in the yellow Jeep Leader Jersey feels really good. I’m here with my family just enjoying Bali and surfing heaps, which is just keeping me really excited. It’s also great having my coach Mike Parsons here. I didn’t even look at the waves because I felt so sick just before the heat and he just told me what to do and it worked. I’m so grateful to have him my corner.”

Caroline Marks (Photo by Cait Miers/WSL via Getty Images)

Veterans Find Rhythm in Clean Conditions

11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) claimed his first Seeding Round victory of the season against Kolohe Andino (USA) and Ryan Callinan (AUS). 2018 event runner-up Michel Bourez (FRA) also advanced with his win over CT sophomores Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Willian Cardoso (BRA).

Keramas standout Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) dominated the Seeding Round with the highest two-wave combination of the women’s event. The veteran impressed the judges with her use of innovation as she landed an impressive air-reverse to win her heat and progress into the Round of 16.

One of the strongest performances of the Seeding Round went to South African Jordy Smith, who posted the second highest two-wave combinations of the men’s Seeding Round, a 14.00 point total. Smith fired a warning shot across his competitors showing that his aggressive brand of power surfing is very well suited to the high-performance walls of Keramas.

In addition to the veterans’ success, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Mikey Wright (AUS) were the sole rookies who won their opening heats today.
The next call for the Corona Bali Protected and the Red Bull Airborne Bali will be tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14, at 6:20 a.m. WITA for a possible 6:35 a.m. start. At this time, event organizers will reassess the conditions to decide the day’s competition schedule.

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 1 (Seeding Round) Results:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 11.50 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.16, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 7.47
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.00 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.44, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.04
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.90 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.60, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.74
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.50 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.97, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 7.80
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.17 DEF. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 10.40, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 7.60
Heat 6: Rio Waida (IDN) 9.60 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.54, Deivid Silva (BRA) 6.77
Heat 7: Yago Dora (BRA) 11.63 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.33, Soli Bailey (AUS) 9.50
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) 11.24 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.00, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 8.17
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.66 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.23, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.67
Heat 10: Ricardo Christie (NZL) 11.93 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.63, Seth Moniz (HAW) 5.10
Heat 11: Mikey Wright (AUS) 12.00 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 9.50, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 1.77
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA) 12.43 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 9.63, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 8.73

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 2 (Elimination Round) Matchups:
Heat 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 2: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 3: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)

Corona Bali Protected Women’s Round 1 (Seeding Round) Results:
Heat 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.60 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 10.90, Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.44
Heat 2: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 13.73 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 12.97, Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.10
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 9.77 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 6.36, Kailani Johnson (IDN) 4.73
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.13 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.34, Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.57
Heat 5: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.34 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.53, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 3.80
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.96 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 10.90, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.87

Corona Bali Protected Women’s Round 2 (Elimination Round) Matchups:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Kailani Johnson (IDN)
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)

ack Freestone. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Stephanie Gilmore(Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)