The Drug Aware Pro has been trundling on over the weekend. The women are up to the quarters and the men to Rd4. Big news over the weekend was Taj Burrow retiring from competition, he’ll do Fiji then hang up the jersey to spend time with his new bub and probably knock out a few more epic films before he’s done. Slater, Adriano and Florence all got early showers and Wilko is still going strong, so this ain’t a throwaway result for the prince of the yellow jersey. In the ladies it’s the usual suspects at the sharp end with Riss, Fitz and Steph in the mix. Forecast is apparently not too hot so a few lay days, read that as Margaret’s winery tour days, are looming before things finish off…
WSL PRESS RELEASE
The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro blazed through Women’s Rounds 3 and 4 to narrow the field down to the remaining eight Quarterfinalists.
The third stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, saw clean 4 to 6 foot waves (1.5 metre) at Main Break in Western Australia and the usual suspects in terms of WSL Title contenders separated themselves from the rest of the field.
Courtney Conlogue (USA), current WSL Jeep Ratings Leader, continued her dominance at Margaret River against Malia Manuel (HAW) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in the non-elimination Round 3 match-up. Conlogue dropped two solid rides to lock in a 15.33 two-wave combined score. Manuel challenged Conlogue with a 7.33, but could not find the 8.04 required to defeat Conlogue. Van Dijk attempted some high risk maneuvers, but was not able to land the rides to complete the scores.
“For me I think of Round 3 as an elimination round just because you have to go to Round 4 and that round is sudden death,” said Conlogue. “If you end up having a bad heat and someone has a great heat, you are packing up and going home. With the Title you do not want to have any 9th place finishes as long as you can, so alleviating those Round 4s are crucial.”
Round 3 Heat 4 witnessed an all-Australian match-up between the current World No. 2 Tyler Wright (AUS), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time World Champion, and local favorite Bronte Macaulay (AUS). Wright squeaked through the Quarterfinals with a buzzer-beater win against Gilmore. Needing a 5.23, Wright answered with a 5.30 to send Gilmore to Round 4.
“I thought I was borderline during that heat and it turns out I was,” Wright said. “There was nothing else that came through, so even if I did not get it, I gave myself an opportunity and I was stoked that I did get it. It was very inconsistent.”
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) was sent to battle in elimination Round 4 against Sage Erickson (USA). Gilmore knocked out Erickson with two solid 8-point rides, giving her a 2.36 lead over Erickson’s 14.74 two-wave combined score. Erickson will leave Margaret River with a 9th place finish. Gilmore will advance to the Quarterfinals.
“I need to be aggressive to win these heats now,” said Gilmore. “Powerful and aggressive is the aim from now on. When I am out there I am feeling aggressive, but then when I watch the replays I think differently. It is always interesting when you watch back and get a different view of what it was, but at the same time, I am just doing my thing but definitely adding more aggression.”
Carissa Moore (HAW) barely came through Round 3 Heat 3 against Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) and Sage Erickson (USA). Erickson got off to a quick start by securing the first two rides of the heat, but Buitendag and Moore swept passed Erickson in the dying minutes. Buitendag threw up a massive 9.40 ride to take the second position, while Moore secured two 8-point rides to advance to the Quarters.
“I ended up catching a couple of waves there at the end, but for a while there I was thinking that I would have to surf another round,’” Moore said. “I just figured that there was a ten minute lull and something had to come through and luckily it did. Even if it didn’t, I was just ready to give it my best shot and go down kicking and screaming.”
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) blazed through the opening heat of Round 3 against Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and Laura Enever (AUS). Fitzgibbons earned a solid 15.50 two-wave combined score, leaving a healthy gap between Weston-Webb and Enever. Fitzgibbons will move on to the Quarterfinals.
“Being first heat is always tough,” Fitzgibbons said. “You really have to have that energy level up and it has been a great morning. I’ve been up for a while and the legs and energy felt great. I tried to control the heat with those lully conditions and away we went. I am stoked to be into the Quarterfinals.”
Laura Enever (AUS) eliminated Malia Manuel (HAW) in Round 4 to stay alive in the competition. Enever, who has had a slow start to the 2016 season, solidified her first Quarterfinal entry since the 2015 Fiji Pro. Enever secured the win with a buzzer-beater wave to knock out Manuel by only 0.30 points.
“It was back and forth, but I am stoked to put a heat together like that and come back at the end to get the score I needed,” Enever said. “I haven’t been in the Quarters in a long time. Malia and Courtney have been ripping, and I am so inspired by them and how well all the girls have been surfing. This isn’t my type of wave so for me to get a result here is awesome.”
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.50, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 8.83, Laura Enever (AUS) 6.00 Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.33, Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.63, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 7.10 Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.50, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 15.50, Sage Erickson (USA) 15.23 Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.97, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.94, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 9.30
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 11.87 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.90 Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 14.50 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.20 Heat 3: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.60 def. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 9.44 Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.10 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 14.74
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) QF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Laura Enever (AUS) QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) QF 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS) Heat 2: Nat Young (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Jordy Smith (ZAF) Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, kicked off this morning with Women’s Round 1 followed by Men’s Round 1 in 4 feet + (1.5 metre) clean waves at Main Break in Western Australia.
Matt Wilkinson (AUS), current Jeep Rankings Leader, continues to dominate on the 2016 CT as he defeat injury replacement Stuart Kennedy (AUS) and Dusty Payne (HAW) to advance to Round 3. Wilkinson came out the gates strong with a 7.17 point ride, and continued to better his two-wave score with a solid 5 point ride. Kennedy and Payne were not able to find big enough second scores to combat Wilkinson.
“This 6’1” board is feeling really awesome, but I just buckled it on my last ride, which is a bummer, but I am stoked to win that heat,” Wilkinson said. “I’ve got some other boards so I should be okay. Hopefully the lefts turn on a bit and I can find some barrels and do some big open face carves.”
Adriano De Souza (BRA), reigning WSL Champion, defeat Trails winner Jacob Willcox (AUS) and Keanu Asing (HAW) in Heat 7 of today’s competition. De Souza held the lead with two 6 point rides. Willcox fought hard to out surf De Souza, but was unable to find the 6.37 score required to beat the defending event Champion. De Souza will advance to Round 3, while Willcox and Asing will battle to avoid elimination in Round 2.
“I am so happy to make this heat especially because Willcox surfed so well and Keanu is a dangerous threat in any kind of conditions,” De Souza said. “I am happy to get these nerves out of my system and come back to the place that gave me a lot of happiness in the past. Now I am trying to find my rhythm and see if I can go far through this contest.”
Italo Ferreira (BRA), 2015 Rookie of the Year faced 2016 WSL rookie Kanoa Igarashi (USA) and event Wildcard Jack Robinson (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 4. Igarashi held control for a majority of the heat, but it was Ferreira who surged ahead of Igarashi by only 1.22 points in the last five minutes. Ferreira landed a massive air-rotation on his last wave, reminding the field of the innovative maneuvers in his arsenal.
“I am so happy that I got those last two waves,” said Ferreira after his heat. “In the first ten minutes I did not catch any good waves where Kanoa got two good waves. In the last few minutes I got two good waves and did a couple of turns and airs. It was ninja and then I was scared when I saw the rocks, but it was so fun.”
CT veteran Joel Parkinson (AUS) faced 2016 WSL rookies Conner Coffin (USA) and Ryan Callinan (AUS) in Heat 9. Coffin held control for most of the heat, but it was Parkinson who came back with a huge air that awarded him a 7.17 to win the heat and advance to Round 3. The rookies will compete in Round 2 to avoid elimination from the event.
“That was a really cool heat to surf against two rookies,” Parkinson said. “They are real eager and I was feeding off of their hunger. It was good to have two guys who are frothing on their first time on tour. I had about five different game plans going through my head and everything I tried to do I did the opposite. It’s one of those places where you have to adapt and surf to the conditions whatever way you can.”
Presumed 2016 Title contenders Julian Wilson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Nat Young (USA) also won their Round 1 match-ups and will compete in Round 3.
Courtney Conlogue (USA), the current Jeep Ratings Leader, will advance straight to Round 3 after sending Alessa Quizon (HAW) and Trials winner Felicity Palmateer (AUS) to Round 2. Conlogue was able to find two solid waves to rack up a 13.40 two-wave combined score, earning her a 3.03 lead over Quizon.
“I have learned so much about my surfing and how to improve it at this wave,” Conlogue said. “I love how this venue is always changing. You never know what to expect coming here. You either get swell and amazing offshores or you get this wild, woolly condition. Everytime I come here is an adventure and you wake up and see what the day brings.”
Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time WSL Champion and last year’s event runner-up, charged through her heat, showcasing power, variety and speed against Sage Erickson (USA) andLaura Enever (AUS). Enever tried to combat Moore’s 15.77 two-wave combined score, but was not able to challenge with her pair of 6 point rides. Moore will advance to Round 3, while Enever and Erickson battle in elimination Round 2.
“I am happy where I am at right now, but of course I would have liked to have gotten a few spots better in the first two contests,” Moore said. “I like coming from behind and having something to chase. Seeing that target is exciting. I am happy to be here at Margaret River, the waves are fun.”
Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) is off to a strong start in Western Australia, as she defeat Tyler Wright (AUS), current World No. 2, and Coco Ho (HAW) in Round 1. Van Dijk demonstrated strong performances in the last two events and continued the trend today by earning two 7 point rides. A dramatic finish left Wright under both Van Dijk and Ho’s priority. Needing a second solid score to defeat Van Dijk, Wright was tempted by a wave out the back. Van Dijk played defense and used her priority to also take off on the wave, leaving Wright with an interference call.
“That was the ultimate seal dive, I don’t even know what that was and want to go watch the replay,” Van Dijk said. “But other than that, I am happy to make the next round and I feel good out there. Margarets is definitely a really challenging wave, you never really know what it is going to do or what conditions you’ll get. I love that element, but I would love to win here and I will take it heat by heat.”
Local favorite Bronte Macaulay (AUS) defeat six-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Johanne Defay (FRA) in the last heat of Round 1. Macaulay, who gained entry into the event as an injury replacement, charged Main Break to wrack up a 14.60 two-wave combined score, leaving Gilmore and Defay in a combination situation. Macaulay will advance to Round 3, while Gilmore and Defay will battle to avoid an early elimination.
“I am feeling more and more comfortable with every heat I surf,” Macaulay said. “Being a local here, I do not feel any pressure at all. I appreciate the support and when you walk down the beach and see all these familiar faces, it means a lot to me that they are taking time out of their day to come and watch, so I just want to put a good performance out in the water.”
Event organizers will convene tomorrow at 6:30am local time for a possible 7am start.
The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL app.
The event is also being carried by our LIVE broadcast partners Fox Sports Australia, CBS Sports in the United States, ESPN Brasil, Globosat, Edgesport, Sky NZ, Sport TV, Canal + Deportes, Channel Nine, MCS, Starhub, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable 250 & 1250 in Hawaii.
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 13.60, Keely Andrew (AUS) 13.43, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 8.63 Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.57, Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.67, Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 10.60 Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.40, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 10.37, Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 9.43 Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.77, Laura Enever (AUS) 12.83, Sage Erickson (USA) 10.57 Heat 5: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.80, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.16, Tyler Wright (AUS) 8.77 Heat 6: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 14.60, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 7.77, Johanne Defay (FRA) 7.00
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS) Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Chelsea Tuach (BRB) Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Laura Enever (AUS) Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Coco Ho (HAW) Heat 6: Sage Erickson (USA) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.34, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.10, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 5.43 Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.10, Adam Melling (AUS) 15.47, Kai Otton (AUS) 12.06 Heat 3: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.67, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 9.17, Dusty Payne (HAW) 7.60 Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.67, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 14.54, Jack Robinson (AUS) 9.70 Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.70, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.27, Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.16 Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.10, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 12.40, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.64 Heat 7: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.14, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.04, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.13 Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) 15.93, Matt Banting (AUS) 15.53, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.60 Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.84, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.26, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.50
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Remaining Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 10: Kelly Slater (USA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Miguel Pupo (BRA) Heat 11: John John Florence (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW) Heat 12: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Matt Wilkinson (AUS) has won the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach today, utilizing his electric backhand to best fellow Finalist Jordy Smith (ZAF) in solid six-to-ten foot (2 – 3 metre) waves at the iconic venue in the Australian State of Victoria.
The second stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is the longest-running professional surf event in the world and today proved nothing short of historic with Wilkinson’s victory being the first for a goofy-footer at Bells Beach in 17 years (last won by Mark Occhilupo in 1998).
Following a win at the opening stop of the season on the Gold Coast, the young Australian has gone back-to-back to start the year with today’s emphatic victory. Holding a stunning lead on the rest of the field, Wilkinson will spearhead the world’s best surfers at the next stop on the CT, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, this coming week.
Today’s Final match-up witnessed Wilkinson and Smith exchange huge scores as each battled to hold the lead. Wilkinson unleashed his strong backhand to deliver vertical snaps, earning him a 9.20 and an 8.17, challenging Smith to find two new scores halfway through the Final. Smith finished with a 14.16 two-wave combined score, but it was not enough to beat the Australian’s 17.37 combined score.
“I have been trying to win everywhere forever and it has never happened, and this year I seem to keep picking up trophies, which is making me feel pretty good,” Wilkinson said, “I am so happy to be at Bells. I’ve been coming down to this event for so long, and I’ve always wanted to win it. I finally got my chance.”
“If you improve ten percent in ten different areas in your surfing, you are going to be one-hundred percent better,” continued Wilkinson. “I am on great boards, I feel fit, my surfing feels really good and I am making smarter decisions, such as keeping calm in tricky moments. I am just going to keep doing what I am doing and try to not make any mistakes and throw everything into every wave I catch.”
After suffering a string of injuries in 2015, Smith’s performance at Bells puts his WSL Title campaign back on track. Although Smith experienced an early Round 2 loss at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, he made a major comeback by taking out CT heavyweights to earn a second place win at Bells Beach.
“Last year I had a back injury and struggled through it, but I am glad to make the Final here today,” Smith said. “This year was a little different for me at Bells. I did not have my expectations so high, and I wanted to put on a good performance and surf my best. I am just trying to put my head down and do the best surfing I can and work as hard as I can.”
The second Semifinal witnessed an all out clash between Smith and Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time WSL Champion and four-time event winner. Fanning and Smith went wave-for-wave, but it was Smith who challenged Fanning with a 17.17. Fanning was not able to lock in solid completions on his massive finishing moves and will end his run at Bells Beach with a 3rd place finish. Fanning has stated that 2016 will be a ‘personal year’ for him, and he will take some time off following this event.
“It was great to go up against Jordy. We have had so many battles out here and it always goes one way or the other,” said Fanning. “We both left it all out there, but I had fun. I was laughing and had a good time. It actually felt really good coming up the beach knowing that I am going on holiday tomorrow. I just want to say thanks to everyone for all the support over the last eight months and throughout my career.”
Wilkinson blazed through Semifinal 1 against Italo Ferreira (BRA), the 2015 WSL Rookie of the Year. Wilkinson dropped a 17.27 two-wave combined score, including a huge 9.27, leaving Ferreira in a combination situation for the majority of the heat. Ferreira will end his run with his highest finish at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach event.
“That was a great heat and a great surf for me,” said Ferreira. “This is my best result at Bells. It was a great heat for Wilkinson. He was ripping. I am happy. It is a long year and I will continue to do my best.”
Smith took out Michel Bourez (PYF) in the last heat of the Quarterfinals. Smith gained an early lead against Bourez with a 9.27. Both competitors earned high scoring rides throughout the heat, but Smith’s 17.77 two-wave combined score edged out Bourez’s 17.26, giving Smith the slight 0.51 lead to enter the Semifinals.
Fanning narrowly defeated 2016 WSL rookie Conner Coffin (USA) in this morning’s Quarterfinal match-up. Fanning faced much adversity with a tweaked his back from his earlier heat and a broken board halfway through, but was able to eliminate Coffin by only 0.73 points. Coffin threw up major scores to earn him a 16.17 two-wave combined score, but it was not enough to beat Fanning.
“It was a good heat and I had a lot of fun the whole event,” Coffin said. “When Mick went on that first wave of that set I was stoked because I knew there was a wave behind it. I needed a 9.03, but it came in as an 8.33 and that is just the way it goes when you are up against Mick, who was ripping. But I was happy with my heat, I had a sixteen point total and I am stoked with that.”
Despite the loss, Coffin heads to Margaret River as No. 2 on the Jeep WSL Rankings.
2016 WSL rookies Davey Cathels (AUS) and Caio Ibelli (BRA) were eliminated from the competition in Round 5 by Mick Fanning (AUS) and Jordy Smith (ZAF), respectively.
The next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro from April 8 – 19, 2016.
For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.37
2 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.16
Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.27 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.40
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.17 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.90
How to survive Indonesia…
The glittering chain of pearls strung across the Indian Ocean. Where Asia ends, Australasia begins and continents divide. A seemingly infinite amount of islands home to waves of such quality, such class and, occasionally, such crowds it’s heaven and hell all at the same time.
If you call yourself a ‘surfer’ you’re not really a ‘SURFER’ until you’ve busted your Indo cherry. It’s adventure, intrigue, excitement, culture, flawless waves and more all topped up with lashings of banana jaffles and nasi goreng. Now’s the time to think about a main season mission so here’s some pointers.
WHAT TO BRING
The main thing with any tropical travel is travelling light. Essentials only. Reason? You’ve got to carry the damn stuff. It’s hot and sticky so you don’t need heaps of clothes. A selection of boardies to rotate and comfy pair of walk shorts and you’re good to go. Couple of vests, couple of tees and maybe one smart shirt, one long sleeve tee and some thin linen trousers in case you’re a) wanting to visit a temple b) are going anywhere malarial. It’s easy enough to pick up cheap clothes in Indo so don’t bring the farm. If you’re doing a Mentawai run you don’t even need clothes. A tee to travel there in. One for the way home. Then some boardies. On a boat it’s just boardies and top off for the whole time. Unless you’re the kind of hipster that wants to surf in an open shirt of course.
Board wise two boards is the minimum. A groveller for the small days and a something you’re happy on for the good hollow days. One board and you’re asking for instant snappage first sesh. More is good but there’s a moving around to consider and coffin bags are an arse to travel with. A good tight triple is ideal. Spare fins, spare leashes, luggage straps, too many fin keys and strip your wax before you go as you’ll need warm water wax not the cold stuff. Apart from that don’t go crazy, a mozzie net if you’re going deep, a first aid kit aimed mainly at repairing cuts and your own syringes are always a good idea, sunblock, any medical essentials and anti-malarials if you’re going anywhere past Bali.
Do you need a lappy? Depends if you want to spend your time on the other side of the world staring at the internet. They can be handy for watching films etc on flat days but it’s a weight and a risk. An iPad is the perfect travel companion. Light, battery lasts forever and you can get your fix of online guff.
WHAT NOT TO BRING
You have to be an utter muppet to even begin to think about bringing any recreational drugs in to Indo. Fancy the death penalty? Then don’t be a tool. When there also don’t dabble. Street sellers are often in league with the police so seconds after you score you’ll be tapped by the rozzers and in a whole world of trouble. Ice cold beer and surf fuelled dopamine are the only chemical recreations you need in Indo.
DON’T PLAN TOO HARD
It’s good to have an arrival plan. Book something for the first few nights if you’ve got a tip from an experienced mate. Have an idea of where you’re staying or at least the street/lane name so the bemo driver can drop you off. Coming out the airport confident is good wherever you go. Rip off merchants can spot a green neophyte in an instant so act confident and like you know where you’re going. Bemo wise agree a price for the fare as the traffic can be wondrously terrible.
From there on out being fluid in Indo is good. You can adapt to what’s happening with the swell then. No point having a rigid structure then missing the swell of the decade because you were up a volcano or drunk off your gourd in the Gili Isles. You will meet people, things happen, a crew for a G-Land mission or a boat trip down through Lombok and Sumbawa can come together in a day so. So be adaptable. Be mobile. Base everything around the swell. Because…
IT’S NOT ALWAYS GOOD
This isn’t something you want to hear obvs. But, friend, we’d be remiss if we painted a picture suggesting ‘best ever’ waves every day. Sure Indo has better waves on a vastly higher ratio to anywhere else in the world but it still gets bum every now and then. Funky winds are an occasional issue, like the back end of last season thanks to El Nino weird. Thankfully you’re sat in one of the most interesting places: culturally, geographically and biologically on earth. If the surf is going to be arse for a few days then hit the volcanoes, the nature parks, go see a Komodo Dragon or orang-utans and yes go to the Gili Isles get drunk (not on Arak unless you don’t mind going blind) and chase backpackers. Hang out with the locals. They cool. Your eyes will be opened when you’re sat in a wooden shack in Sumbawa with your friendly local moped taxi rider and his family as they bring out the biscuits and weaponised strength coffee. You’ll see a happy, family centred, chilled out bunch of people that don’t give a fig what’s happening on Facebook. Living close to the land and all the better for it. Of course every island is different. Bali is garish and so modern in parts now you’d be hard pressed to know you were on the magical island that’s been such an integral part in surf lore for forty years.
WHERE TO GO
Look at a map of Indonesia. There’s surf on pretty much every island that faces into the Indian Ocean. Some of it well known and documented, surfed and crowded since 1974. Other parts you could still well be the first person to draw a line.
There are plenty of waves outside of the well known hotspots of Bali that are classy and uncrowded. For a short trip Bali is all you need. If you’ve got the time then other islands need exploring. The shortest hop from Bali is over to Nusa Lembongan, an island not too far off the east coast. The classic mission from Bali is to Java and the legendary G-Land which with the fast boats is not the 24 hour ferry/bemo hell mission it used to be. The longer run is down to Lakey’s in Sumbawa but Lakey’s is best in the shoulder seasons in April when the trade winds are not so dominant. The other option is to really explore and avoid the classic spots entirely. Sumatra and Java are huge, wave rich islands, you could spend years just exploring there and there are waves equal to Lakeys and G-Land to find. It all comes down to how much adventure you want. Bali is easy. A green run. Lombok and Sumbawa a red and past Sumbawa and Java/Sumatra and the outer isles a black run. Much more potential for things to go wrong but also a richer, deeper experience and no Starbucks or McDonalds to fall back on.
Whatever happens any Indo voyage is going to be one that’ll give you stories for years to come not to mention upping your surfing game. It’s rightly considered the best surf zone on Earth, you owe it to yourself to find out why…
Courtney Conlogue (USA) claimed victory today at the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, defeating Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves at the world-renowned Bells Beach in the Australian state of Victoria.
The second stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach enjoyed classic conditions today with world’s best female surfers pushing the boundaries of high-performance surfing once again.
The Final match-up witnessed Conlogue compete against Fitzgibbons, the two-time event winner, in an all out brawl for the opportunity to claim the second CT event win and ring the prestigious Bell. The women went wave for wave, throwing up massive scores, but it was the Californian who captured the win.
“I definitely wanted to get the score on that last wave, and I wanted to put a little more pressure on,” Conlogue said. “I knew I needed an eight, but I wanted a nine. I figured I might as well lose the event knowing that I threw everything I had into it.”
A runner-up at the opening event of the season last week on the Gold Coast, Conlogue continued the momentum this week at Bells Beach, landing herself on the winner’s dais and atop the Jeep WSL Leaderboard heading into the third event of the year.
“I am really happy to be starting the year with this momentum, a first place win here and a second place win at Snapper,” continued Conlogue. “It is a long season ahead and after experiencing last year’s rollercoaster of emotions, this is definitely a high, but I know it is going to be a grind. Obviously I want to win a World Title, but it is not going to be an easy feat. I know I had a good start, but there are still eight more contests ahead.”
Fitzgibbons opened up strong in the Final, showcasing her clean rail-to-rail surfing. After an early elimination at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, Fitzgibbons charged through this event to make her way to the Finals. Fitzgibbons threw down an 8.10 and an 8.33, but Conlogue answered back with a 9.03, giving her the narrow 0.10 lead over Fitzgibbons.
“Running down those stairs after fourteen years of coming here never gets old,” Fitzgibbons said. “I just love it when my opponent is at their best. Courtney was in really great form this whole event and when my opponents are going out there and trying to better themselves, as a competitor I revel in that challenge. I cannot wait to push my level to get better and better.”
Semifinal 1 saw Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time World Champion and defending event Champion, eliminated by Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS). Moore, who has three consecutive wins at Bells, locked in a strong 8.17 right off the bat, but did not earn enough on her second ride to defeat Fitzgibbons’ 16.16 two-wave combined score, which included a massive 9.33 point ride.
“I still put up some good scores, but I think I made the mistake of letting priority go, but she just had a higher first wave,” Moore said. “If I would have kept priority, she would have gotten the last wave anyway. It was a weird rhythm. I tried to let go of the first heat of the day and enjoy this moment, but unfortunately it did not work out and it is okay.”
Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), 2015 Rookie of the Year, faced Conlogue in the second Semifinal of the day. Weston-Webb charged with a 15.67 two-wave combined score, but could not close the 1.16 point gap needed to advance.
The Women’s Quarterfinals witnessed Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time World Champion, battle rival Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time World Champion, in Heat 2 for the opportunity to enter the Semifinals. With both athletes gunning for a fourth Bells victory, the two went all out to post major scores. The two CT superstars have faced-off multiple times, Moore with nine wins and Gilmore with six wins. Moore posted a near perfect 19.23 to earn a spot in the Semifinals.
“I think I freaked myself out in my heat at Winkipop where I just sat for so long, so the heat before us today started to slow up, so I thought that if a wave came I would catch it ” Gilmore said. “It was probably a bad idea because the first set had four decent waves in it, and I went on the first one, Carissa got the nine. From there on, I felt my rhythm was off. It never really came together for me. Carissa absolutely smoked me. She is Bells Champion, she is World Champion and I really admire the way she surfs. These things are okay though, it makes me just want to improve.”
Tyler Wright (AUS), current World No. 1, was eliminated from the competition by Conlogue in Heat 3 of the Quarterfinals. Conlogue controlled the heat with two solid seven point rides. Wright, who ended the heat with a 13.13 two-wave combined score, was not able to find the second wave to close the 1.87 point gap to continue to the Semifinals.
“When you see a bunch of sets, it is not really a good sign for your heat and it gives you a heads up that your heat might be a touch slower, but there was still ample opportunity,” Wright said. “Looking back I was a little eggy when I first walked up, but honestly I look at it now and know that I gave myself opportunity. There was one wave where I may not have capitalized as much as I could of, and the other I did great, so a lot of positives coming out of that.”
In addition to the culmination of the women’s event, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach men’s event completed Round 4 and the opening half of Round 5 today, setting itself up for a potential finish this weekend.
The first half of Men’s Round 5 saw Matt Wilkinson (AUS), current World No. 1, defeat presumed 2016 Title contender Julian Wilson (AUS) in Round 5 Heat 2 to advance to the Quarterfinals. Trailing Wilson for a majority of the heat, Wilkinson answered back with two huge tail-drifts giving him a 9.57. Both competitors earned a 16.57 two-wave combined score, but because Wilkinson had the highest single scoring ride – the 9.57 – he was given the win.
In non-elimination Round 4, Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time World Champion and four-time event winner, faced Jordy Smith (ZAF) and 2016 WSL Rookie Conner Coffin (USA). Coffin posted a massive 9.13 point ride to control the heat and challenge the CT heavyweights. Coffin held onto the lead and will advance straight to the Quarterfinals.
“I was definitely the underdog,” Coffin said after his heat. “Those guys are surfing so well. To get to surf heat like that in waves like that is unreal. It is nice to have some clean offshore walls and get to land some turns. Those are the waves I love to surf. To surf them with two of my favorite surfers – guys I’ve looked up to forever – is awesome.”
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 7:30 am local time to assess conditions for a possible 8 am start tomorrow morning.
Short version: the WSL Big Wave Awards are going to be hard fought this year… Tom Butler has been nominated for an Mullaghmore keg as shot by Ian Mitchinson and progress indeed as Keala has been nominated along with the men as it’s now ‘unisex’. Which is awesome news.
WSL PRESS RELEASE
The 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Award nominees have been announced following an historic El Niño winter, which delivered colossal waves and challenged surfers from around the world to push the limits of big wave surfing. The rides in this year’s nominations span across world renowned breaks, from heavy barrels at Teahupoo, Tahiti to monstrous waves at Jaws, Maui. The 2016 nominees demonstrated outstanding performances across a diverse assortment of award categories.
Shortlisted surfers include 2015/16 Big Wave Tour Champion, Greg Long, as well as past Big Wave Award recipients Shane Dorian, Mark Healey, and Keala Kennelly. Kennelly, who received the Overall Women’s Performance Award in 2014, is the first female to be nominated for an open gender category. The nominations also include up-and-comers Nathan Florence and Albee Layer.
“There was a lot of hype around El Niño this year, and as far as the big wave community is concerned, it delivered and then some,” said Bill Sharp, Event Director of the Big Wave Awards. “Not only were there extraordinary episodes of historically large surf, this time around the best surfers were able to handle it as it came and the results speak for themselves. I think anyone who’s been watching thinks there is a big chance records will be set when the results are in.”
“This is a historic day for women’s surfing as it’s the first time a female has been nominated for a unisex Big Wave Award category with Keala Kennelly’s historic tube at Teahupoo,” continued Sharp. “This has nothing to do with affirmative action or special divisions, she is nominated for the 2016 Pure Scot Barrel of the Year Award because she simply pulled into one of the heaviest waves ever seen. Just look at the photos and no further explanation is required.”
The WSL Big Wave Awards competition window ran from March 21, 2015 through March 15, 2016. Every wave ridden at every big wave break around the world in this period was eligible for consideration across seven categories. A panel of judges chose the five best rides in each of the categories based on photographic and video evidence.
This year’s event features over $250,000 in total prize money to be allotted across the categories along with TAG Heuer watches for winners. In addition to the four categories announced today, the popular TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year, Women’s Performance and Surfline Overall Performance Awards finalists are yet to be revealed and will be announced on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. Photographs and video of all the nominated rides can be viewed at WorldSurfLeague.com/BigWave.
The Billabong Ride of the Year is awarded to the surfer who demonstrates the most advanced and committed level of big wave surfing during a successful ride, as judged by available video-footage. While raw size is taken into consideration, it is ultimately the level of performance that is rewarded. The category carries the biggest prize of the Big Wave Awards with $60,000 for the winner, $15,000 for second place, $10,00 for third, $5,000 for fourth and $3,000 for fifth place. The first place videographer will receive $6,000, and second through fifth place videographers will receive $750. The Hawaiian surfers dominated the Billabong Ride of the Year nominations for this category, with all five finalists hailing from the Aloha State. Three of the five nominated rides took place during an epic winter at Jaws, Maui including entries from 2013 Ride of the Year winner Shane Dorian (who has a second nomination in the category from Jaws) and Albee Layer, who took second place at the 2015 Big Wave Tour Pe’ahi Challenge. Tyler Larronde secured a nomination from his massive ride at Maverick’s, California. The remaining nominee, Nathan Florence, earned his selection on a heavy ride at Teahupoo, Tahiti.
BILLABONG RIDE OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES Surfer prizes total $93,000 – Videographer prizes total $9,000 Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 6, 2015 (Video by Ryan Moss.) Shane Dorian (Kona, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 10, 2016. (Video by Dan Norkunas.) Nathan Florence (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on May 28, 2015. (Video by Tim Bonython.) Tyler Larronde (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 4, 2016. (Video by Josh Pomer.) Albee Layer (Haiku, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 25, 2016. (Video by Elliot Leboe.)
The Paddle Award goes to the surfer who paddles into and successfully rides the biggest wave of the year. The winning surfer will receive $25,000 and the $5,000 will go to the photographer who captured the ride. This year’s nominees showcased an incredible display of big wave surfing with rides at Maverick’s, California from local Ben Andrews and Nicaraguan Manny Resano. Brazilian Pedro Calado and Hawaiian Aaron Gold earned their nominations with giant rides at Jaws. Hawaiian Mark Healey, Big Wave Tour veteran, secured his nomination on a towering left at Puerto Escondido, Mexico.
PADDLE AWARD NOMINEES: Surfer prize $25,000 – Photographer prize $5,000 Ben Andrews (San Francisco, California, USA) at Maverick’s, California on February 4, 2015 (Photos by Fred Pompermayer and Frank Quirarte. Video by Larry Haynes.) Pedro Calado (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 15, 2016. (Photos by 808Photo.me, Brent Bielmann, Brian Bielmann, Wangdu Hovey and Tom Servais. Video by Dan Norkunas.) Aaron Gold (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 15, 2016. (Photos by 808Photo.me, Brent Bielmann, Brent Broza, Aaron Lynton and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Elliot Leboe.) Mark Healey (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Puerto Escondido, Mexico on May 3, 2015. (Photos by Nikki Brooks, Ben DeCamp, Astrid Fonseca and Edwin Morales. Video by Jaciel Santiago.) Manny Resano (Playa Popoyo, Nicaragua) at Maverick’s, California on December 7, 2015. (Photos by Sachi Cunningham, Benjamin Ginsberg and Frank Quirarte. Video by Rafael Sauro.)
The TAG Heuer XXL Biggest Wave Award goes to the surfer who, by any means available, catches and rides the biggest wave of the year. The winner will receive a $20,000 prize, along with a $4,000 TAG Heuer Watch. The photographer of the ride will receive a $5,000 prize. Finalists include rides from Pedro Scooby, Garrett McNamara and Mick Corbett at Nazaré, Portugal across the entry window. Two of the five nominated rides took place on February 25, 2016 at Jaws, Maui including entries from Niccolo Porcella and Yuri Soledade.
TAG HEUER XXL BIGGEST WAVE AWARD NOMINEES: Surfer prize $20,000 – Photographer prize $5,000 Mick Corbett (Perth, WA, Australia) at Nazaré, Portugal on February 19, 2016. (Photo by André Bernardo.)
Garrett McNamara (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Nazaré, Portugal on November 1, 2015.
(Photos by Bruno Aleixo, André Botelho, Vitor Estrelinha, Jorge Figueira and Manuel Ricardo. Video by Timelapse Media.) Niccolo Porcella (Sardegna, Italy) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 25, 2016. (Photos by Erik Aeder, Rick Dombrowski, Dooma Photos, Paul Karaolides and Zack Williams. Video by Marcus Rodrigues.) Pedro Scooby (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) at Nazaré, Portugal on October 27, 2015. (Photos by Bruno Aleixo, Helio Antonio, Vitor Estrelinha, Pedro Miranda and Hugo Silva. Video by André Callado.) Yuri Soledade (Haiku, Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on February 25, 2016. (Photos by Brian Berkowitz, Jimmie Hepp, Elliot Leboe, John Patao and Fred Pompermayer. Video by Elliot Leboe.)
The Pure Scot Barrel of the Year is awarded to the surfer who rides the single most spectacular tubing wave of the year. This award is judged on the impact generated by still photographs. The winner will receive $10,000 and $4,000 will go to the photographer. Greg Long, 2015/16 Big Wave Tour Champion, received a nomination for his heavy tube at the 2015 Pe’ahi Challenge. Keala Kennelly pulled into a massive barrel at Teahupoo, Tahiti to solidify her nomination and make her the first female to be nominated for an open gender category. Mark Mathews received a nomination for his ride at the Australian slab, The Right. Big Wave Tour competitor, Ian Walsh received a nomination for his colossal ride at Jaws. Tom Butler charged Ireland’s Mullaghmore Head and received a nod for his gigantic barrel at the infamous European big-wave break.
PURE SCOT BARREL OF THE YEAR AWARD NOMINEES: Surfer prize $10,000 – Still photography prize $4,000 Tom Butler (Newquay, Cornwall, England) at Mullaghmore Head, Ireland on October 28, 2015. (Photo by Ian Mitchinson.) Keala Kennelly (Haleiwa, Hawaii, USA) at Teahupoo, Tahiti on July 22, 2015. (Photos by Kirvan Baldassari, Brent Bielmann, Tim McKenna and Isaac Sokol.) Greg Long (San Clemente, California, USA) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on December 6, 2015. (Photos by Erik Aeder, Kelly Cestari, Richard Hallman, Paul Karaolides and Sofie Louca.) Mark Mathews (Maroubra, New South Wales, Australia) at The Right, Australia on June 26, 2015. (Photo by Jack Sherriffs.) Ian Walsh (Haiku, Maui, Hawaii) at Jaws, Maui, Hawaii on January 28, 2016. (Photos by Richard Hallman and Aaron Lynton.)
A panel of judges will review the nominated rides and the winners will be revealed at the invitation-only Big Wave Awards on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at the Grove Theater in Anaheim, California.
Nominees for the TAG Heuer Wipeout of the Year Award, Women’s Best Overall Performance Award and Surfline Overall Performance Award will be announced Tuesday, March 29, 2016.
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