• World Champions Gilmore and Moore Dominate Opening Rounds
• Women’s Elimination Round Narrows Field to Top 16
• 2022 World Title Contenders Return To Sunset Beach In Excellent Form
• More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
Hurley Pro Sunset Beach, the second stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), kicked off in sizeable-offshore conditions today at the North Shore’s famed Sunset Beach. The full day of competition saw the completion of the Women’s Opening Round and Elimination Round, as well as the first eight heats of the Men’s Opening Round.
Experience reigned supreme as the women’s and men’s World Champions, and past event winners put on brilliant performances and won their Opening Round matchups. Current men’s World No. 1 Jack Robinson (AUS) faltered in his Opening Round heat and will have to surf for survival in the upcoming Elimination Round 2. Rankings’ leader Carissa Moore (HAW) sailed through her Opening Round heat, maintaining her winning form from her recent victory at Pipeline less than one week ago.
World Champions Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore Dominate Women’s Opening Round
Reigning eight-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) already has a better result than the first event of the season after winning her Opening Round heat. Gilmore looked poised and confident with her trademark carves on the large, powerful walls of Sunset Beach. Wildcard Zoe McDougall (HAW) also demonstrated her local knowledge, successfully navigating her home break and advancing to the Round of 16 alongside Gilmore.
“I’m lucky on my forehand, and I can draw some really nice, long lines,” said Gilmore. “I’m on a 6’5” (board), so it’s probably bigger than what most of the girls are riding, and it feels good. To be honest, I was thinking I had such a poor performance here last year, so I feel like I’m just going out to try and redeem myself. You’re only as good as your last performance out here, so I just wanted to improve. Scraping into the Final 5 is probably not the smartest idea, so you have to be on the gas all the way from the start.”
Coming off her recent win at Pipeline, five-time World Champion Carissa Moore continued her momentum, winning her Opening Round heat and moving straight to the Round of 16. Moore also notched the highest score of the women’s Opening Round, a 6.83 (out of possible 10).
“I’m very fortunate to live here on Oahu, and this is my backyard even though I’m from town,” said Moore. “We had a beautiful rainbow welcoming us all to Sunset this morning. There’s definitely a lot to improve on, so I’m going to work on that in the next heat. Everyone wants to get their warmup in, so I was out there really early to get my waves. It was good to have those two days to rest and spend time with family and friends. We did some WSL activations like Rising Tides, and I got a surf in here yesterday afternoon.”
Defending event winner Brisa Hennessy (CRC) was able to take down two tour veterans, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Courtney Conlogue (USA) in their Opening Round matchup. Hennessy demonstrated control in the strong wind, driving several powerful turns to earn the heat win.
Also notching important Opening Round heat wins and moving straight to the Round of 16 are Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW), Molly Picklum (AUS), and Macy Callaghan (AUS).
Women’s Elimination Round Narrows the Field to Top 16
In the first upset of the event, Conlogue was eliminated by Australia’s Isabella Nichols and rookie Caitlin Simmers (USA, above). This is Conlogue’s second Elimination Round loss after also suffering an early exit at Pipeline. She will be feeling the pressure to earn a solid result at the next few events in order to make the Mid-Season Cut.
Former Rookie of the Year Gabriela Bryan (HAW) was sent to the Elimination Round after a close match with Lakey Peterson (USA) and Callaghan in the Opening Round. Bryan remained calm under pressure and was able to regain her rhythm and win her heat. Injury replacement Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) was not able to find waves with scoring potential, finishing the heat with a 0.77 (out of possible 20).
World Champions Slater, Toledo, and Florence Move Straight to Round of 32
11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) earned his first heat win here at Sunset Beach since the World Cup in 2019. The win comes as needed redemption, as Slater suffered an uncharacteristic Elimination Round loss here last year.
“I actually would’ve gotten a pretty good score if I didn’t fall on the floater on the one wave, but the angle I had to take threw me off,” said Slater. “If it’s not a big one on the outside, you’re trying to get the turns done quick before the water gets deep and goes flat on the face. It looked like it might close out, so I was trying to fit it in, which is not really how you want to surf anyway. This year was way different [than my birthday last year], I just hung out at the house with my daughter and her husband Kalani, and it was just one of those nights where everyone was busy doing something.”
Current World Champion Filipe Toledo (BRA, above) stayed busy in his Opening Round heat but didn’t find a score of significance until the final minutes. With 10 minutes to go, he tracked down a solid Sunset wall and was able to earn an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10). He then backed it up with a 5.00 to take the heat win. Pipeline standout Liam O’Brien (AUS) advanced alongside Toledo as wildcard Kai Lenny (HAW) was sent to the Elimination Round.
Two-time World Champion John John Florence (HAW, above) ended the day with fireworks as he threw down huge manoeuvres to earn an excellent 8.33 and a near-excellent 7.50 for the win.
“The waves are actually really fun, it’s a fun size for Sunset, and when I was paddling out, I saw some really clean waves, so I was excited to get a lot of waves,” said Florence. “After the heat ended, I was kind of sad because I didn’t get a lot of waves. Joao (Chianca) and I had a couple of really good battles last year and some really fun heats, so coming out here. I didn’t really know what was going to happen, so I just focused on myself and was stoked to get some good waves.”
Men’s 2022 World Title Contenders Return To Sunset Beach In Excellent Form
Final 5 competitor Ethan Ewing (AUS) demonstrated his signature power surfing, throwing explosive, critical turns, and earning the highest single wave score of the day, a 9.00. Ewing had a solid Semifinal finish here at Sunset Beach last year but went down to fellow Final 5 competitor Kanoa Igarashi (JPN). The two may have to meet again as they both won their Opening Round Heats and will move straight into the Round of 32.
“I think confidence is a huge part, this wave is really hard, and it’s different every time you go out there,” said Ewing. “But, I feel comfortable. I’ve surfed it a lot, and I just lucked into a really good wave. It had a really smooth face, and I just felt really good on it. It’s a huge confidence boost for sure, and I just really like this wave, just how challenging it is, and just want to keep the ball rolling.”
Igarashi (above), last year’s Hurley Pro Sunset Beach runner-up, earned the first excellent score of the event, an 8.17 in the first heat of the men’s Opening Round. Igarashi was in third place after a slow start, but in the last three minutes, he found a wave with opportunity and hammered two big turns.
“I just wanted to find waves I would look for in the free surfs,” said Igarashi.” You’re kind of in the middle of the ocean, so it’s hard to strategize, and you have to adapt a lot. It’s weird how a 30-minute heat at Pipeline felt like ten minutes, and 30 minutes out here felt like an hour and a half. I realized I really don’t know Sunset that well (laughs). I didn’t really want that wave, but I needed a score. I realized I should’ve wanted it when I went because it was a really good wave.”
Seth Moniz (HAW) also earned one of the excellent scores of the day, an 8.33 on his first wave of the event. Moniz found a Sunset Beach gem that opened up for him to disappear behind the curtain and re-emerge to finish with his forehand attack. With his excellent score and a backup of 3.80, he took the heat win over World Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA). Ferreira scraped by with the scores he needed to move onto the Round of 32, sending event wildcard Keanu Asing (HAW) into the Elimination Round.
Tour newcomer Jake Marshall (USA, above) and event wildcard Eli Hanneman (HAW) were the clear underdogs coming up against current World No. 1 Jack Robinson (AUS) in Heat 5. Robinson found himself in the unfamiliar third position for the majority of the heat. With only five minutes left, he dropped a 7.33 and moved into second place. But, in the final seconds, Hanneman found a 5.17, pushing Robinson back into third. Robinson will now have to surf against Baker and Lenny in the dreaded Elimination Round.
Defending event winner Barron Mamiya (HAW) is also off to a good start in his quest to uphold his title after an Opening Round win. Mamiya scored a near-excellent 7.17. Fellow Hawaiian Ezekiel Lau was not as lucky, ending the heat with two scores under one point and a ticket to Elimination Round 2.
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Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Women’s Opening Round Results:
HEAT 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) 8.16 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 6.67, Teresa Bonvalot (POR) 0.67
HEAT 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.10 DEF. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 7.53, Isabella Nichols (AUS) 4.73
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.50 DEF. Luana Silva (BRA) 10.94, Caroline Marks (USA) 3.50
HEAT 4: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 8.50 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 7.20, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 5.00
HEAT 5: Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 9.27 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 8.16, Caitlin Simmers (USA) 7.84
HEAT 6: Macy Callaghan (AUS) 9.67 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.30, Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 8.04
Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Women’s Elimination Round Results:
HEAT 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 11.67 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 7.64, Teresa Bonvalot (POR) 0.77
HEAT 2: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 9.77 DEF. Caitlin Simmers (USA) 9.16, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 6.00
Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Women’s Round of 16 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
HEAT 2: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)
HEAT 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Zoe McDougall (HAW)
HEAT 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)
HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Luana Silva (BRA)
HEAT 6: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
HEAT 7: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Caitlin Simmers (USA)
HEAT 8: Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)
Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Men’s Opening Round Results (Heats 1 – 8):
HEAT 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.64 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.47, Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 9.67
HEAT 2: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 10.17 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.73, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 5.40
HEAT 3: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 12.43 DEF. Carlos Munoz (CRC) 8.30, Nat Young (USA) 7.77
HEAT 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) 12.13 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10.53, Keanu Asing (HAW) 6.13
HEAT 5: Jake Marshall (USA) 11.83 DEF. Eli Hanneman (HAW) 11.07, Jack Robinson (AUS) 10.93
HEAT 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.00 DEF. Liam O’Brien (AUS) 9.17, Kai Lenny (HAW) 6.90
HEAT 7: Kelly Slater (USA) 9.70 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.60, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 7.44
HEAT 8: John John Florence (HAW) 15.83 DEF. Joao Chianca (BRA) 13.64, Jackson Baker (AUS) 9.83
Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Men’s Opening Round Matchups (Heats 9 – 12):
HEAT 9: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA) vs. Ian Gentil (HAW)
HEAT 10: Callum Robson (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Rio Waida (INA)
HEAT 11: Jordy Smith (RSA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
HEAT 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.