• Lau, Coffin and Fioravanti Find Form at Snapper Rocks
• Simmers and Rapoza Lead The Charge for the Next Gen on Day 3
• Event Big Names Eye off Finals Day on Gold Coast
• More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
The Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro presented by Rip Curl, stop one of the 2022 World Surf League Challenger Series (CS), has seen a wet and drizzly day with more epic waves. Snapper Rocks has continued to deliver yet again with waves in the three-to-four foot range running down the point for surfers in the the Men’s Round of 48 and women’s Round of 32.
Ezekiel Lau, Conner Coffin and Leonardo Fioravanti Find Form at Snapper Rocks
Fresh off the disappointment of falling below the Mid-season Cut line and losing their spot on the Championship Tour, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA above) have come into the first stop of the Challenger Series looking like they mean business. Today was a big day for both competitors as they each claimed impressive heat wins and progressed into the Round of 24 and closer to the business end of competition. For Fioravanti, it seemed to be a cruisy win as the lightning fast natural footer found a few long walls to dispatch of 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in what was a bitter-sweet victory for the Italian.
“That heat really went to plan for me and I’m stoked how it played out,” said Fioravanti. “To surf against Kelly Slater is always an honor and I want to say now a big thank you to Kelly Slater – he has been my inspiration and he has done so much for the sport for a long time. I’m also very appreciative of all the support here from the Italian community who have turned up to support me – It’s fantastic.”
For Lau (above), there was a little more work needed as he came up against event standout Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) and Brazilian duo Lucas Silveira (BRA) and Matheus Navarro (BRA) in what ended up being a tight clash. With three surfers claiming excellent scores, Lau needed something big towards the end of the heat to guarantee his spot in the next round, and that is what he got, dropping into a thick tube behind the Snapper Rock and disappearing from sight before flying out and laying several of his trademark frontside gouges to post a near perfect 9.57. Lau ended up winning the heat with a two-wave total of 18.07 (out of a possible 20) which was the highest of the event so far.
“That was a crazy heat” said Lau. “I was patient early and had to wait quite a while for my first wave and my competitors were getting good scores but then I got a great score and then managed to get that late final ride and take the heat at the end but it was a stressful heat throughout. I’ve scored well here in past years and the waves are great so I’m feeling good and confident to keep going here for sure.”
Conner Coffin (USA, above) looked in incredible step with the waves at Snapper Rocks with the Santa Barbara local taking a convincing win in his Round of 48 heat. Coffin will be hoping to build momentum through the event as he looks to build confidence ahead of the rest of the 2022 CS season.
Next Generation Step Up to the Plate
Being the battleground to qualify for the Championship Tour, the Challenger Series is the first opportunity the world gets to lay eyes on the next generation of elite level competitive surfers and today in pumping waves at Snapper Rocks a handful of the next gen put on impressive displays to move closer to Finals Day and get their Qualification Campaigns off to a great start.
Adur Amatriain (EUK), Dylan Moffat (AUS above), Timothee Bisso (FRA), Oscar Berry (AUS), Maxime Huscenot (FRA) and Nolan Rapoza (USA) were some of the main names that stood out with their scores and results on Day 3 of competition. Moffat was impressive with an excellent two-wave heat total to win his heat whereas it was the composure of Californian Rapoza to claim a heat win over an inform Julian Wilson that really impressed surf fans today.”
“I’m so stoked to be surfing the Challenger Series and putting myself up against surfers like Julian Wilson who has been an idol of mine for many years,” said Rapoza. “I need to surf against and beat these guys to get to where I want to be, which is onto the Championship Tour and I’m definitely up for the challenge.”
Another young Californian who continues to impress is Caitlan Simmers (USA above) who progressed through her Round of 32 heat today in second place behind form surfer Malia Manuel (HAW). It was an epic matchup with Manuel taking on two prodigy’s in Simmers and Sierra Kerr (AUS) who earned her spot through winning the trials. Kerr looked in good touch but it was Simmer’s who was able to find the best waves when it mattered, claiming the second spot behind Manuel.
“I am really enjoying competing in waves like this – these are easily the best competition waves I’ve ever surfed in,” said Simmers. “ My goals this season are about enjoying all these locations that we get to surf more than anything – qualification is a goal but enjoying the experience is the most important and I’m loving the Gold Coast.”
Big Names Come to Play at Snapper Rocks
Jadson Andre (BRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS, above), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Isabella Nichols (AUS), Conor O’Leary (AUS), Jackson Baker (AUS) and Julian Wilson (AUS) were some of the more established names that saw success on Day 3 at Snapper all finding their way into the next Round of competition.
For some, this success is all about building confidence ahead of the rest of the CT season whilst for others, it’s a fantastic opportunity to grab an early result on the Challenger Series while they look to reinstate themselves at the elite level.
All Challenger Series events will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. For fans watching in Brazil, coverage of the competition’s Quarterfinals and beyond will continue exclusively on WorldSurfLeague.com and SporTV.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.