Opening day of the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver, the seventh stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2021 Championship Tour (CT), kicked off today in three-to-five-foot waves at Barra de la Cruz for men’s and women’s Seeding Round 1.

Men’s WSL Champions Ferreira, Slater, and Medina Advance to Round of 32

The day started with Olympians Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Kolohe Andino(USA) taking on 11-time WSL Champion, Kelly Slater (USA). Coming back on the CT after recovering from an injury and focusing on getting ready for the Olympics, Andino took the win today after changing the number on his jersey to 24 in honor of the late Kobe Bryant. Slater finished second in the first heat of the day and also advanced straight to Round of 32. Currently No. 6 on the WSL Leaderboard, Igarashi finished in third place and will battle trials winner Diego Cadena (MEX) and Peterson Crisanto (BRA) on Heat 1 of the Elimination Round.

“I’m really excited to be back on tour,” said Andino. “This year has been very weird for me, so I’m glad I was able to perform well, especially against those guys.”

The Battle Is ON For The WSL Final 5

The fight for a spot on the WSL Final 5 is in full swing at the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver. The defending World Champion and Olympic Gold medalist Italo Ferreira (BRA) along with fellow Brazilian and two-time WSL Champion, Gabriel Medina, both finished their Seeding Round matchups in second place, advancing to the Round of 32. While Medina has already secured a spot on the WSL Final 5, Ferreira, who is currently No. 2 in the rankings, has yet to secure a place at the Finals.

For Ferreira to clinch a WSL Final 5 spot in Mexico, he needs to make it to the final heat of the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver. No 3 in the world, Filipe Toledo (BRA) won his heat over Jeremy Flores (FRA) and wildcard Jhony Corzo (MEX), and needs to finish at least third in this event to clinch his spot in the Finals. Rookie of the year and currently No. 4 on the WSL Leaderboard, Morgan Cibilic (AUS) started strong by winning Heat 3 against Deivid Silva (BRA) and Olympian wildcard Rio Waida (IDN) and advancing straight through the Round of 32. He has only two events left to earn enough points and secure his place in the Rip Curl WSL Finals, in September.

“At the beginning of the year my goal was to re-qualify for 2022 and maybe be in the top 10,” said Cibilic. “Now my goal is 100% to get in the WSL Final 5. I’m very happy with my performance so far, my boards are solid under my feet. I’m stoked.”

Olympians Defay, Weston-Webb, Fitzgibbons Fight For a Spot In WSL Final 5

Out of the five women sitting at the top of the WSL Leaderboard, three can clinch a spot at the WSL Final 5 while in Mexico. Current World No. 3, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) took the first heat win for the women’s at the Corona Open Mexico presented by Quiksilver. If she wins this event, she will lock in her place at the Rip Curl WSL Finals. Johanne Defay (FRA) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), both finished their heats in second place and advanced straight to the Round of 16. Both surfers will clinch a spot in the WSL Final 5 if they make it to the finals in Mexico. Four-time WSL Champion and Olympic gold medalist, Carissa Moore (HAW) has already clinched her spot and is surfing in Mexico with the hopes of keeping her No. 1 position in the rankings in order to get the best seeding position for the Rip Curl WSL Finals.

“We have so many amazing women on tour,” said Fitzgibbons. “It’s so hard to win a heat, let alone make it to the final 5. I believe I’m capable of it though, I know what I have to do, so I’ll keep plugging it away, and hopefully, I’ll be there next month.”

Corona Open Mexico Men’s Seeding Round 1 Results:
HEAT 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.60 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.00, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 10.77
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.00 DEF. Lucca Mesinas (PER) 11.73, Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.43
HEAT 3: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 10.00 DEF. Rio Waida (IDN) 9.70, Deivid Silva (BRA) 8.27
HEAT 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.46 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.33, Jhony Corzo (MEX) 6.87
HEAT 5: Mateus Herdy (BRA) 14.13 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.93, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 13.03HEAT 6: Jack Robinson (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.13, Diego Cadena (MEX) 7.90
HEAT 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.83 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.77, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 11.34
HEAT 8: Mikey Wright (AUS) 12.73 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.80, Yago Dora (BRA) 10.76
HEAT 9: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.77 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.77, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 8.87
HEAT 10: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15.17 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.13, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 9.50
HEAT 11: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 15.16 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 12.40, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.06
HEAT 12: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.43 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.37, Seth Moniz (HAW) 10.46

Corona Open Mexico Women’s Seeding Round 1 Results:
HEAT 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.27 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.90, Keely Andrew (AUS) 11.96
HEAT 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.93 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 11.00, Shelby Detmers (MEX) 7.43
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.96 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 12.60, Regina Pioli (MEX) 5.07
HEAT 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.24 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.24, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.30
HEAT 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.07 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 12.60, Isabella Nichols (AUS) 10.94
HEAT 6: Caroline Marks (USA) 15.03 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.97, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.53

Corona Open Mexico Men’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Diego Cadena (MEX)
HEAT 2: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Jhony Corzo (MEX)
HEAT 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
HEAT 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)

Corona Open Mexico Women’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS) vs. Regina Pioli (MEX)
HEAT 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) vs. Sage Erickson (USA) vs. Shelby Detmers (MEX)