The GWM Sydney Surf Pro presented by Rip Curl, the first stop of the 2022 WSL Longboard Tour, continued today with the Longboard Semifinalists being decided in super clean two-foot surf at Manly Beach. It was an interesting day of competition with a number of close heats seeing the cream rise to the top with the top seeds all finding their way through to Finals Day.  

Hawaiian Duo Set the Pace at Manly Beach
Hawaii’s Kaniela Stewart (above) staked his claim as the one to beat at Manly beach, booking himself a spot in the Semifinals with the two most emphatic heat wins of the event so far in the Round of 16 and the Quarterfinals. In his first heat of the day, Stewart overcame Brazilian competitor Augusto Olinto with a 17.20 two-wave total, the highest of the event so far. He then backed it up in his Quarterfinal matchup against good friend and mentor Kai Sallas (HAW) with Stewart posting another excellent heat total to progress into the semifinals. Stewart’s combination of  poise and grace on the nose along with smooth rail-to-rail transition is being rewarded and it will take a big performance from Ben Skinner (GRB) to stop him in their Semifinal matchup on Finals Day.

“I’ve looked up to Kai Sallas all my life and he’s taught me so much about Longboard surfing and I even ride his board designs so it was amazing to surf against him in the Quarterfinal,” said Stewart. “I’ve come out on top in that heat and I’m looking forward to finals day. We have a few days off before finals day now so I’ll try and see some of the great sights of this beautiful city and get more great waves each day as well.” 

Fellow Hawaiian and reigning three-time WSL Longboard World Champion Honolua Blomfield (above) continued her run to the Finals, progressing through her quarterfinal matchup with compatriot Sophia Culhane. Blomfield and Stewart are the sole Hawaii representatives left in the draw and both look to a strong chance of going all the way when the Longboard competition resumes early next week.

Surfer and Shaper Ben Skinner Flies the Flag for Great Britain Into Finals Day
WSL Longboard Tour veteran Ben Skinner (GRB, above) is one of the few competitors left at the World Tour level that competes on boards that he shapes himself, an art form that is as impressive as it is a throwback. Skinner’s boards seem to be doing the trick as the Englishman took down former World Champion Phil Rajzman (BRA) in the Round of 16, then Jefson Silva (BRA) in the Quarterfinals to progress into the Semifinals. For a powerful surfer, Skinner looked at home in the smaller surf at Manly, channeling the waves back home in Fistral on his way to consecutive heat wins.

“I’m loving it here at Manly Beach, this is like the best day at my home beach Fistral in the UK,” Skinner said. “I shape my own boards and I’m obviously very happy with my equipment. I stayed busy throughout that heat and that was a good strategy and I can now look forward to finals day.”

Local Hopefuls Keep Home Crowd Happy at Manly Beach 

Local favorites Tully White (AUS, above) and Declan Wyton (AUS, below) continued to storm their way towards the Finals, both posting some of the highest two-wave totals of the day in front of their home crowd to find themselves a spot in the Semifinals. For many longboard enthusiasts, these performances were a long time coming with the pair turning heads in the Longboard world for a long while now.   

“I’m super happy to make the Semifinals, I’ve only ever made the semi’s once before and to do it in front of my family and friends at my home beach is really special,” White said . “I watched fellow Manly surfer Declan Wyton win his heat earlier and that really got me excited before my heat and right now it feels great – there’s quite a bit of work ahead to make the Final or even win but right now I’m feeling great.”

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Men’s Longboard Round of 16 Results:
HEAT 1: Ben Skinner (GBR) 13.97 DEF. Phil Rajzman (BRA) 12.97
HEAT 2: Jefson Silva (BRA) 15.27 DEF. Taylor Jensen (USA) 13.27
HEAT 3: Kai Sallas (HAW) 12.47 DEF. Piccolo Clemente (PER) 12.20
HEAT 4: Kaniela Stewart (HAW) 17.20 DEF. Augusto Olinto (BRA) 13.00
HEAT 5: Harrison Roach (AUS) 13.37 DEF. Jack Entwistle (AUS) 13.17
HEAT 6: Cole Robbins (USA) 13.43 DEF. Lucas Garrido Lecca (PER) 12.74
HEAT 7: Declan Wyton (AUS) 16.96 DEF. Edouard Delpero (FRA) 11.90
HEAT 8: Taka Inoue (JPN) 16.27 DEF. Tony Silvagni (USA) 13.70

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Women’s Longboard Quarterfinals Results:  
HEAT 1: Chloe Calmon (BRA) 15.67 DEF. Natsumi Taoka (JPN) 9.23
HEAT 2: Tully White (AUS) 14.90 DEF. Mason Schremmer (USA) 11.57
HEAT 3: Honolua Blomfield (HAW) 12.17 DEF. Sophia Culhane (HAW) 12.14
HEAT 4: Soleil Errico (USA) 11.77 DEF. Rachael Tilly (USA) 11.73

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Men’s Longboard Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Ben Skinner (GBR) 13.50 DEF. Jefson Silva (BRA) 9.77
HEAT 2: Kaniela Stewart (HAW) 16.56 DEF. Kai Sallas (HAW) 12.70
HEAT 3: Harrison Roach (AUS) 15.60 DEF. Cole Robbins (USA) 10.80
HEAT 4: Declan Wyton (AUS) 15.36 DEF. Taka Inoue (JPN) 11.17

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Women’s Longboard Semifinals Matchups:
HEAT 1: Chloe Calmon (BRA) vs. Tully White (AUS)
HEAT 2: Honolua Blomfield (HAW) vs. Soleil Errico (USA)

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Men’s Longboard Semifinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Ben Skinner (GBR) vs. Kaniela Stewart (HAW)
HEAT 2: Harrison Roach (AUS) vs. Declan Wyton (AUS)

Watch LIVE
The GWM Sydney Surf Pro presented by Rip Curl runs through May 24, 2022, and will broadcast LIVE on, WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.