Shocking Upsets and Excellent Performances Decide Men’s Quarterfinals at Hurley Pro Sunset Beach

• World Champions Slater, Medina, Florence, and Ferreira Eliminated
• Joao Chianca Claims “The Best Competitive Day of My Life” at Hurley Pro Sunset Beach
• Current World No. 1 Jack Robinson Closes in on Second-Consecutive Event Win
• More Available at 

The men’s Quarterfinalists have been decided after a full day of exciting action at the )( Hurley Pro Sunset Beach, the second stop on the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Championship Tour (CT), in pumping, eight-to-10-foot waves at the North Shore’s iconic Sunset Beach. 

The challenging lineup of Sunset Beach proved to elevate the competition, level the playing field, and shake up the rankings. World Champions John John Florence (HAW), Kelly Slater (USA), Gabriel Medina (BRA), and Italo Ferreira (BRA) fell to underdogs, signifying a potential changing of the guard as new exemplified by today’s performances. 

With many of the big names eliminated, current World No. 1 Jack Robinson (AUS) is in a good position to make moves towards yet another event win and further his lead on the rankings. 

Current World No. 1 Jack Robinson Closes in on Second-Consecutive Event Win

Jack Robinson (AUS, above) will make his second Quarterfinals appearance of the season after emerging victorious in his head-to-head match with current World No. 2 Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA). Robinson posted an excellent 8.0 with a barrel and powerful carve combination. He then backed it up with a 6.33 to take the heat win and secure a spot in the Quarterfinals. Robinson is now in striking distance of winning both the first and second events of the 2023 CT.

“Those battles have gone on since we were 10 years old (laughs),” said Robinson. “He actually fires me up to go surf, and it was super cool because the waves were so good today. I’m just happy to get the job done, and Leonardo’s a super good competitor. When we started, it was elbow-to-elbow, and I knew it was on. Even when we were on the beach, he walked in front of me, then I walked straight past him, and I already beat him on the race into the water (laughs). But, it was a good heat. He got some good waves, and I just tried to be on the best waves.”

Joao Chianca Claims “The Best Competitive Day of My Life” at Hurley Pro Sunset Beach

Joao Chianca (BRA, above) put his competitors on notice today, finishing both his heats with all-excellent totals. He first notched an 8.17 and 8.50 in his Round of 32 matchup with fellow Brazilian Yago Dora. Chianca then went on to take down 2019 World Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Round of 16. Once again, he went into the excellent range, scoring an 8.40 and 8.43 to earn the highest heat total of the day, a 16.83 (out of possible 20). Chianca will now hope to keep his momentum going in his Quarterfinal matchup with Matthew McGillivray (RSA).

“Every night, I’d go to sleep thinking what was going to happen in the next heat, there’s so much that can happen,” said Chianca. “Today, I was just blessed to have two excellent heat totals. Today was pretty much the best competitive day of my life. Everything went so well, the waves were firing, and I was super emotional out there. I’m just trying to contain those emotions and knowing the job wasn’t over.”

World Champions Florence, Slater, Medina, and Ferreira Eliminated

In an intense Round of 16 matchup, 2013 Rookie of the Year Nat Young (USA) overtook two-time World Champion John John Florence (HAW). Florence started with the lead, but just after the halfway mark, Young posted a near-excellent 7.60, turning the heat. Young will now have to face none other than Robinson in the Quarterfinals.  

“I definitely had a game plan of how I wanted to approach that heat with John John (Florence),” said Young. “I’m not sure how well I executed the game plan I had, but I think it played into me making that heat. I felt good against him, I didn’t feel any pressure at all, but the heats before, I had some nerves. He’s the favourite out there for sure, but if I surfed my best and put up a good heat, I’d be happy.”

11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) will have to wait another year to add a Hurley Pro Sunset Beach title to his name as he was eliminated by Final 5 competitor Ethan Ewing (AUS) in the Round of 16. Ewing’s power surfing earned him a solid 7.00 and 6.83, which was enough to take down Slater. He will now meet California’s Griffin Colapinto in the Quarterfinals. 

“Kelly Slater beat me in Fiji my rookie year and then at Pipe two years ago, but I always love having heats with him,” said Ewing. “It’s always interesting to see what he does, and it feels really good to get one over him finally. I knew he needed a low 8.00 score, and if he got the right wave, he could put out a huge score, so I still wasn’t feeling too safe and just wanted to stay close to him.” 

After an exciting back-and-forth exchange, Colapinto (above) emerged victorious over the three-time World Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in their Round of 16 battle. With ten minutes left on the clock, Colapinto posted an excellent 8.83 (out of a possible 10), by air dropping from the lip on two critical turns. The score propelled him into the lead and solidified his win over the World Champion.

“I just wanted to go out and go for it,” said Colapinto. “He’s a three-time World Champ, so you have to surf your best. Any wave I got I just wanted to go as hard as I could. At the start, my timing was a little off, and then on my 8.00 score, I felt so connected. I’ve been putting so much time into this wave and Hawaii in general, to see it pay off feels really good.”

Current World Champion Filipe Toledo (BRA) was the only men’s World Champion to survive today’s eliminations. Toledo secured his spot in the Quarterfinals after taking out an in-form Seth Moniz (HAW) in the Round of 16. He now hopes to reclaim the rankings lead from Robinson with a win here at Sunset Beach.

But, Toledo will have to face event threat and fellow Brazilian Caio Ibelli in the Quarterfinals. Ibelli landed a place in the Quarterfinals after notching two excellent scores in the Round of 16 and taking out Miguel Pupo (BRA).

In a nail-biting finish to the day, Matthew McGillivray (RSA) barely held onto his narrow lead over last year’s event runner-up Kanoa Igarashi (JPN). McGillivray maintained the lead for the entirety of the heat, but Igarashi found one more opportunity in the dying seconds. Igarashi’s final score came back just 0.33 of a point short, confirming McGillivray’s place in the Quarterfinals.

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Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Men’s Round of 32 Results:
HEAT 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) 15.50 DEF. Carlos Munoz (CRC) 10.43
HEAT 2: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 8.03 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA) 0.77
HEAT 3: John John Florence (HAW) 12.00 DEF. Ian Gentil (HAW) 11.47
HEAT 4: Nat Young (USA) 11.00 DEF. Callum Robson (AUS) 8.33
HEAT 5: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 10.44 DEF. Keanu Asing (HAW) 8.83
HEAT 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 9.57 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 8.07
HEAT 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.94 DEF. Rio Waida (INA) 9.33
HEAT 8: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.66 DEF. Liam O’Brien (AUS) 12.50
HEAT 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.17 DEF. Eli Hanneman (HAW) 2.90
HEAT 10: Seth Moniz (HAW) 12.06 DEF. Barron Mamiya (HAW) 9.13
HEAT 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.23 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.27
HEAT 12: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.34 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.34
HEAT 13: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.17 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.40
HEAT 14: Joao Chianca (BRA) 16.67 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 11.23
HEAT 15: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 11.83 DEF. Jordy Smith (RSA) 10.24
HEAT 16: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.07 DEF. Jackson Baker (AUS) 15.00

Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Men’s Round of 16 Results:
HEAT 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) 14.33 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.83
HEAT 2: Nat Young (USA) 12.10 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 8.83
HEAT 3: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.67
HEAT 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.93 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.10
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.86 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 9.17
HEAT 6: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16.33 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.77
HEAT 7: Joao Chianca (BRA) 16.83 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.16
HEAT 8: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 15.17 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 14.84

Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Nat Young (USA)
HEAT 2: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 4: Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Matthew McGillivray (RSA)

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)

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