• Weston-Webb Claims Third Championship Tour Career Win • Colapinto Breaks Glass Ceiling with Maiden CT Victory • Brisa Hennessy and Kanoa Igarashi Don Yellow Jersey Heading into Australia • More Information at WorldSurfLeague.com
Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Griffin Colapinto (USA) have won the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl, the third stop of the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), claiming victory in the Finals against Lakey Peterson (USA) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) respectively, held in three-to-four foot surf at Supertubos.
A full five consecutive days of surfing have taken competitors through all the different moods of Supertubos, from windy heavy surf to the perfection of yesterday’s barrels, to culminate with today’s glassy and rippable peaks for the Finals.
Tatiana Weston-Webb Claims Third CT Career Win, Makes Into WSL Top 5 Claiming a career-third win on the Championship Tour, the Brazilian bounces back in a big way after a deceiving start to her season where she was eliminated twice in equal 9th place at Pipeline and Sunset. Weston-Webb has moved up to 4th place on the season rankings heading into the last couple of events before the inaugural mid-season cut narrows the field down after Australia.
“I’m just so grateful. God always has a plan and I just trusted in Him,” Weston-Webb said. “Honestly, I just had so much fun out there! Lakey and I had such a great battle back and forth, I was really stoked just to be out there. I think I can do anything I put my mind to. That’s the beauty of surfing and the beauty of just trusting and believing in yourself, if you have that mental ability to just overcome those obstacles that put you down.”
“For me, the beginning of the year was such a bad start and it was at two venues I thought I would do really well at,” she continued. “So for me, I know God has a plan and I will just trust in it and keep surfing and trying my best and believing in myself. That’s the nature of every competition, you just need to continue believing in yourself no matter what.”
In the Final, Weston-Webb got busy early and found a good set wave to lay down two big turns for a 7.33 (out of a possible 10) and the lead. Peterson replied with a 7.10 of her own and continued to push, finding another good score on backhand snaps to turn the heat midway through. Both surfers kept multiplying their chances, paddling for every wave coming through the lineup and giving the judging panel a lot to think about, with forehand and backhand combinations of turns on the clean little peaks of Supertubos.
The Brazilian eventually found another gem to perform on her forehand to post an excellent 8 point ride and take the win in Portugal. Peterson placed runner-up at Supertubos for the second consecutive time after a final lost to Caroline Marks (USA) in 2019. The Californian had an opportunity to grab the yellow jersey with a win in Portugal but will instead head to Australia ranked 3rd in the world. Coming back from an injury that sidelined her for most of the 2021 season, Peterson proved if anybody doubted that she’s back where she belongs among the very best surfers in the world.
“It’s almost harder when you get so close, you’re right there and miss out on the win,” Peterson admitted. “It was a great heat with Tati, I’m stoked to be at the top of the overall rankings especially heading into Australia, Bells is like my second home now. It’s a great start, bummed I didn’t get the win, but congrats to Tati, she’s a really deserving champion and it was great to have a heat with her. I’m happy with my performance, but definitely hungry for more.”
Peterson had previously eliminated seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in their Semifinal bout. The Australian built a healthy lead at the beginning of the heat but was eventually overtaken and had to settle for equal third in Peniche.
In a rematch of last year’s Rip Curl WSL Finals, Weston-Webb came up against five-time WSL Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Semis, but this time the Hawaiian couldn’t find the right waves to lay down her big turns and was forced out of competition in equal third place.
Griffin Colapinto Claims First Championship Tour Win in High-Octane Final A quiet start to the men’s Final was quickly forgotten when Filipe Toledo (BRA) posted the first good score for a combination of backhand quick snaps to build an early lead. Griffin Colapinto (USA) stayed patient and waited for the bigger set waves to push his backside turns and stayed in the heat with a big score of his own.
Both surfers went back-and-forth and grabbed the lead off each other multiple times but eventually the Californian found the edge with his vertical attack of the lefts for the win.
“It’s so weird you just get in this mode where you’re not even thinking about it,” Colapinto said. ”Even winning doesn’t feel like I thought it would, I’m still in this calm state where it hasn’t even set in. It’s so cool , I’m just trying to take in seeing Kolohe (Andino) and all my friends come up to me after the final.”
Colapinto earned his very first CT win in fantastic fashion, scoring deep barrels earlier this week, nailing the first perfect 10 point ride of the season last night on a massive air, and sealing the deal with brilliant rail work today. After a slow start in Hawaii, the Californian jumped 20 spots up to 7th on the WSL rankings after the completion of event No.3.
“The beachbreaks of California paid off,” Colapinto added. “I was training in these exact conditions so it’s funny that we ended up doing the Final in this. I just can’t believe the people I had to go through to get to this win, it’s as good as it gets. Everything I’ve been doing has paid off. It’s crazy after the first two events, I didn’t make it past round three and it was really hard with that mid-year cut coming up, so it was a hard one mentally, but I believe in the process and trust the unknown. No matter what, you’re always going to be learning and that’s my favorite part of the sport that it grows you as a person. Win or lose, you’re growing.”
The runner-up in the world last season, Toledo continued to impress and collected another major result in Portugal. Winner in 2015 in Peniche, today’s runner-up finish will vault him up into the Top 5 conversation in fourth position early in the season.
“I’m really happy to be back here in Peniche, Portugal,” Toledo said. “It’s a place where I feel very comfortable and the people are so welcoming. I just love it here, I guess that’s why I always get good results. The entire week just surfing and having fun with the boys and the waves were firing. Congrats to Griff, Tati, Lakey and everyone who have put on amazing performances, it’s been inspiring to watch.”
In a high-flying, all-Brazilian first Semifinal, Toledo and WSL Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA) pushed each other to bring out their best and eventually Toledo got the nod, sending Ferreira home with the equal third place result.
Two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) looked uncharacteristically affected by the pressure in the Semis against Colapinto. The Californian had a solid two scores and Florence kept falling as he tried to find the winning score, eventually bowing out in equal third.
As the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl wraps in Peniche, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) sit atop the 2022 CT rankings and will be wearing the yellow jerseys at the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, coming up from April 10-20, 2022 in Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia.
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Semifinals Results: SF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.67 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.66 SF 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.40 def. John John Florence (HAW) 10.50 MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Women’s Semifinal Results: SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.34 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.00 SF 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.76 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.17 MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Final Results: 1 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.34 2 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.20
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Women’s Final Results: 1 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 15.33 2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.27
Stop No. 3 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT), the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl has been called back ON for Finals Day, started at 7:02 a.m GMT with the women’s Semifinals at Supertubos.
A lot is on the line, with the yellow jersey up-for-grabs for the best surfers in the world, specifically California’s Lakey Peterson (USA) and 5-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) surfing in Semifinal 1 and 2 respectively.
WSL Champions and past winners in Peniche Italo Ferreira (BRA) and John John Florence (HAW above) will be hitting the lineup in the men’s Semifinal 1 and 2 respectively, with challengers Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Griffin Colapinto (USA) battling for the win in Portugal.
Watch LIVE The MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl 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. Upcoming MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Women’s
Semifinal Matchups: SF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA) SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Upcoming MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Semifinal Matchups: SF 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA) SF 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
The World’s best surfers are making their way to Portugal for the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl, the third stop of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). The waiting period opens on March 3 and runs through March 13, 2022.
The 2022 CT season is off to an epic start after completing the first two stops on Hawaii’s North Shore of Oahu. Surf fans witnessed the return-to-form of the 11-time World Champion, Kelly Slater (USA), who claimed his career’s 56th victory in fantastic fashion at the Billabong Pro Pipeline. The women kicked off the season by making history with the first full CT competition at Pipeline, which was won by local wildcard Moana Jones Wong (HAW).
The second stop of the CT, the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach presented by SHISEIDO, confirmed a changing of the guard with major upsets affecting the world’s best and a crop of fresh talent making their mark on the Championship Tour. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Barron Mamiya (HAW above) won the competition and currently lead the WSL Rankings.
Now all eyes turn to the Peniche Peninsula in Portugal for Stop No. 3 as surfers embark on a new adventure. The thumping barrels of Supertubos have welcomed the CT since 2009 but for the first time, the event will happen in winter. Cold water and the full power of the North Atlantic ocean are in store for a dramatic change of scenery after a month in Hawaii.
MEO Pro Portugal Wildcards and Replacement Surfers Barron Mamiya (HAW) sits at World No. 1 after his win at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach presented by SHISEIDO and was selected as WSL Event Replacement for the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl following the withdraw of three-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA). Yago Dora (BRA) continues his recovery from his injury ahead of the season and will be replaced by WSL Injury Replacement, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF). Liam O’Brien (AUS) and Carlos Munoz (CRI) sustained injuries at Pipeline and continue their recoveries. They will be replaced by World No. 4 Caio Ibelli (BRA) and the highest placed Portuguese surfer on the Challenger Series, Vasco Ribeiro, respectively. Afonso Antunes (PRT) and Justin Becret (FRA) will also join the men’s draw as the event wildcards.
Bronte Macaulay (AUS) will continue surfing as the WSL Injury Replacement for Caroline Marks (USA), who has withdrawn from the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl due to medical reasons. Tia Blanco (USA) is joining the women’s draw as the event wildcard after winning The Ultimate Surfer competition last summer.
Rip Curl Onboard as Presenting Partner of MEO Pro Portugal Today, the World Surf League (WSL) and Rip Curl announced an extended partnership, with the iconic Australian surf brand coming on board as the presenting partner of the MEO Pro Portugal, the third stop on the 2022 CT. The news comes just weeks after the WSL announced that the Rip Curl WSL Finals would return to Lower Trestles in California this September for the 2022 CT season, serving as a reminder of the brand’s commitment to surfing at all levels.
“Rip Curl is one of the most significant supporters of men’s and women’s professional surfing, and we’re very happy to expand our partnership with them beyond the iconic Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and Rip Curl WSL Finals,” said Cherie Cohen, Chief Revenue Officer. “By coming in as the presenting partner of the MEO Pro Portugal in Europe, as well as two of the most prestigious Challenger Series events in Australia, Rip Curl joins the WSL in solidifying its commitment to the future of the sport throughout all levels of competition worldwide. We look forward to collaborating for years to come.”
By signing on as the presenting partner of the MEO Pro Portugal, Rip Curl will continue their strong connection with the waves of Supertubos in Peniche, a place where the brand took its iconic ‘Search’ Event back in 2009.
Pressure Builds in Portugal at Halfway Mark Before Mid-Season Cut The 2022 Championship Tour season introduces a mid-season cut after the first five events, reducing the men and women fields down to 24 and 12, respectively. With two events down and three remaining before the cut takes place, pressure is starting to build for surfers who had a rough start in Hawaii.
The current rankings show multiple athletes in trouble early on, like last year’s World No. 4 Morgan Cibilic (AUS) and his compatriot Owen Wright (AUS), or seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and former runner-up in the World Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), all currently sitting outside the cut line.
With events like G-Land, El Salvador, Brazil, J-Bay and Tahiti in the second half of the season, the battles in Portugal will be fierce to climb up the leaderboard and hopefully secure an all-important spot above the cut line.
Rip Curl GromSearch Brings Young Stars to Portugal Prior to the main show, Peniche will also host the European Final of the Rip Curl GromSearch. 27 surfers from all over Europe will battle in Under-16, Under-14, and Under-12 categories, both boys and girls for the titles. The Rip Curl GromSearch is a real hotbed of young talent, having uncovered future World Champions such as Gilmore, Medina, and many more.
The event will happen on February 28 and March 1, on a location to be decided on the day depending on conditions.
Watch LIVE The holding period for the MEO Pro Portugal presented by Rip Curl runs from March 3 to March 13, 2022. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and WSL’s YouTube channel, as well as the free WSL app.
The WSL has been making good use of the pandemic shutdown to work on changing up the tours moving forward.
Erik Logan, the WSL CEO, has announced a raft of changes in a vid on the WSL site for next year’s comps. The main takeaways are, apart from this year’s events being postponed until end June, including the Oi Rio Pro, follow:
The world title will, from 2021, be decided by a surf off.
Inspired by the epic Italo v Gabe showdown last year at Pipe from next season the title won’t be decided by consistency through the season. The men’s and women’s world title will be decided in a single day of competition in a surf-off format. Seeding will, of course, play a part. The higher your seed the more the advantage, as you’d hope. As to dominate all year to get shafted by one bad day does seem a tad harsh. More details will follow. (EDIT: it wasn’t clear in the video how many surfers would be involved but from Conner Coffin’s comment in the press release just received if it’s just the top two then it’s basically a chance for the No2 in the season to gazump the No1.)
The Challenger QS event series will now be a direct feed for the same season’s CT events.
The biggest QS events will be grouped at the start of the season allowing the best guys onto the CT in the same season. So no more doing a year in purgatory if you fall off tour. The QS, with the inevitable travel restrictions and flight costs soaring, in its current form is likely to be unsustainable so this makes a lot of sense. It makes those QS events far more exciting and interesting for the punters too.
Regional QS system to replace lower end events.
Again, with sponsorship drying up and travel costs escalating, the smaller events will be tricky. So the development tier, as E-Lo calls it, will become a regional affair. Much like the Euro tour is already. But this makes the travel requirements a lot easier. Compete in your home area to qualify for the Challenger series and from there be in with a shot at the big leagues.
All in all some interesting ideas which fit with how the world will be once we come out the end of this whole kerfuffle.
Due to the continued evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Surf League (WSL) is postponing or canceling all events, at all levels of competition, through the end of June. The WSL will continue to monitor the situation and make the next call in early June.
In a video released on all WSL Channels today, WSL’s CEO Erik Logan said to fans: “Where and when we will run this year is still very much an open question, but we will continue to work with governments, world health authorities and our local communities on returning to the lineup.”
“That said, we are extending the postponement of all WSL events through June. This means the scheduled Championship Tour stop in June, the Oi Rio Pro, is officially postponed in hopes that travel conditions ease enough to run this year. Our ‘Next Call’ update for the 2020 Championship Tour season and all our events will be on June 1.”
The WSL has also announced an evolved Tours and Competitions format for 2021 covering the Championship Tour, the Challenger Series, and the Qualifying Series.
In the video, Logan also said: “Prior to COVID-19, we had been working hard on how we would evolve the Championship Tour, the path to the CT, and all our tours in 2022 and beyond. The more we worked on this transformation, the more we became excited and it became clear that our pause due to COVID really allowed us to see that now is the time to accelerate these changes.”
Starting in 2021 the women’s and men’s World Titles will be decided in a single day of competition on the last day of the Championship Tour season, with the top surfers battling for their respective titles in a new surf-off format. This evolution has been part of a multi-year discussion, and the final design is a collaboration between the surfers, partners, and the WSL.
Two-time WSL Champion, Tyler Wright, said, “I feel like the new format raises the intensity of the entire World Title situation. The difference is that you get to win in the water, which is huge! It comes down to nobody else, and that kind of intensity, that kind of competitive pressure, raises the bar. It’s pretty exciting!”
“The world title being decided in the final, between two surfers in the running, is super exciting,” said WSL Surfer’s Representative, Conner Coffin. “I was glued to Pipe last year on the last day. So it’s a great moment for the sport and it’s exciting to think that from 2021 onwards that will always be how the world title is decided.”
In addition to the redesign of the Championship Tour (CT), the schedule will be updated to create distinct seasons between the CT and the Challenger Series. This update will not only provide an enhanced showcase for the surfers, but also allow those who fail to requalify through the CT the opportunity to perform on the Challenger Series and requalify for the elite CT the very next season as opposed to waiting an entire year.
“With the Challenger Series at a different time of the year you can highlight the up comers, you can highlight who is in the Challenger Series, you can highlight what’s new, who is coming up that is fresh, who is requalifying, and the people that drop off the CT will have an opportunity to go on and completely focus on the Challenger Series,” continued Wright.
Increased weight and value will also be given to regional Qualifying Series events to encourage up-and-coming surfers to develop closer to home without financially overleveraging themselves before jumping to the Challenger Series and beyond. The regional series will provide increased opportunities to celebrate regional stars, reduce economic pressure for surfers and sponsors, as well as drive media interest around those athletes.
“We’ll have more details soon but we’re really excited about what this means for surfers and surfing worldwide. We are approaching these updates and evolutions as holistically as possible,” said Logan. “Working with our entire community, we know we are going to emerge through this pandemic with a strong, exciting platform that propels professional surfing, and all surfing, forward in a positive and impactful manner.”
Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) and Pauline Ado (FRA) have won the QS1,500 Cabreiroá Pro Las Americas, claiming victory in the Finals against Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) and Ariane Ochoa (EUK) held in wind-affected two-to-three foot surf at Las Américas.
Podiums Winners of the Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
Stop No. 2 on the 2020 World Surf League (WSL) European Qualifying Series (QS), the Cabreiroá Las Americas Pro Tenerife enjoyed a good run of swell and big performances by Europe’s best surfers, culminating today in the Finals.
Larsonneur Claims First-Ever QS Win in Tenerife
Local Tenerife legend Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) took on Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) in the men’s Final. The Canarian marched his way to the Final with seven straight heat wins and excellent scores in nearly all of them, including an incredible 9.53 in Round 5.
Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
The Frenchman, on the other hand, launched his event in Round 3 and started collecting wins when he eliminated the defending event winner Timothee Bisso (FRA) in Round 4 alongside Jensen whom he would later dispatch in the Semifinal.
The Final started with a very close exchange on back-to-back waves with each surfer within 0.10 of each other and continued with an even closer battle on their second wave, finishing within 0.04. After four waves, Larsonneur had the tiniest margin over Gonzalez, 14.06 to the Canarian’s 14.00.
Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
Gonzalez managed to turn the heat midway through with a good wave scored 7.70 while Larsonneur got stuck on his turns and only raked in a medium score. The French surfer didn’t let the pressure affect him and managed to come back with an excellent 8.17 in the dying minutes of the heat to claim his first-ever victory on the Qualifying Series.
“I’m so stoked,” he said. “This is my first-ever win on the QS, I have no words to describe how happy I am right now! It was just the perfect week. I had a really good time here with good friends, nice weather and good waves so I’m just beyond happy.”
Larsonneur is only really starting on the QS, last year being his busiest season with 8 events surfed mostly on the European continent. Today’s victory marks his first on the WSL tours and a promising start of the season ahead for the surfer from Brittany.
“Today was tough with that long break between the Semis and Final,” he added. “I tried to stay focused and rest a little and when I came back I was fired up to go again. ”
Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
A QS standout for the last decade now, Gonzalez peaked in 2014 with a Top 25 finish. The last couple of years the Canarian carefully selected his events but couldn’t possibly pass on the opportunity to compete right at home. This runner-up finish marks his first Final since 2016.
‘It was a really hard-fought final and it came down to details,” he said. “I was surfing well during the entire competition so I am happy with that, but I had to surf perfectly against him to win the final. It was really really close but the competitions are like that with nothing decided until the final. I have to admit I felt the pressure of everybody watching and I couldn’t quite control it. I’m still super happy to celebrate second place with all my friends here.”
Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
Gonzalez and Larsonneur had previously eliminated Thomas Debierre (FRA) and Lenni Jensen (DEU) respectively in the Semis.
Second Time’s a Charm for Ado at Las Americas
Ariane Ochoa (EUK) and Pauline Ado (FRA) met in the women’s Final and this time both surfers had to earn their way since Round 1.
Pauline Ado (FRA) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
In a slow Final, both surfers got very selective and while the first couple of swings went Ado’s way, Ochoa started to put pressure on the French surfer with a great wave to get back into fighting distance. She quickly turned the heat, leaving Ado scouring the lineup for a mid-5.
Pauline Ado (FRA) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
With two minutes on the clock, a beautiful set rolled in, giving both surfers the opportunity to improve their scoreboard. Both did, but this time Ado got the upper hand with an excellent 8.27 over Ochoa’s 7.50 to re-claim the lead. The Basque goofy foot got a final chance but was unable to turn in the high-6 required and Ado claimed the 2020 Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas title.
“I’m super happy and I feel lucky I got that really good wave at the end,” she said. “I wasn’t in a great place towards the end there and Ariane got some great scores, thankfully I gave everything on last wave and it was enough to take it. I’m really happy with my week here on Tenerife.”
Ado is a 10-time European champion (7 titles on the QS and 3 in the junior division) who spent 5 full seasons on the Championship Tour claiming multiple Quarter and Semifinal results at the highest level. Off tour for the past two seasons, the French powerhouse is highly motivated to get back up with the Elite Top 17 and join her compatriot Johanne Defay next season. A Round 4 berth in China and today’s victory should prove a great warm-up before Ado starts the real work next month in Australia.
“I placed second here two years ago so I really wanted to win that Final,” she added. “It really just came down to that last good wave we both had and I’m happy I got the score.”
Ochoa has been competing on the Qualifying Series since 2015 and has picked up two wins in Spain and South Africa. The talented goofy foot from the Basque Country was a standout on the European junior tour but is yet to make her mark on the bigger QS stage. Today’s runner-up finish will certainly spark a successive year ahead as she embarks on a third full season competing worldwide.
Ariane Ochoa (EUK) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
“I’m super happy to have made the Final here in Tenerife this year,” she said. “It’s been a really good contest for me, I’ve been building up since the first heat and finished with a super close Final with Pauline. I’ve really done my best and am happy with my performance, and I’ll just keep working until the next event.”
Ochoa and Ado had previously eliminated Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) and Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) in their respective Semifinal bouts.
Ariane Ochoa (EUK) during day 6 of Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas 2020
Previously at the Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas
The third edition of the Cabreiroa Pro Las Americas started on Monday in spectacular conditions with over 160 athletes taking on the pumping lefts in Tenerife. The first couple of rounds witnessed the unlikely success story of Senegal’s Cherif Fall who dominated his first heats and only barely fell short in Round 3 behind eventual winner Larsonneur.
In the women’s event it was all about Yolanda Hopkins (PRT) who dropped massive scores all the way to a wave-starved Quarterfinal where she was eliminated by Bonvalot.
Daniela Boldini (CNY) and Timothee Bisso (FRA), the winners of the 2019 edition, were both eliminated much earlier than anticipated, Round 1 for the Canarian and Round 4 for the Frenchman who just came from a solid result in Morocco.
The men’s Canarian contingent all together put up a strong fight with Luis Diaz (CNY) reaching the Quarters and Yael Pena (CNY) Round 5, while in the women’s event, no surfer from the Atlantic archipelago made it past the second round of the competition.
With the completion of the Cabreiroá Las Americas Pro Tenerife, the European rankings have evolved, here is the new current Top 5:
European Men’s QS Top 5:
1 – Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA)
2 – Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY)
3 – Thomas Debierre (FRA)
4 – Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
5 – Vasco Ribeiro (PRT)
5 – Frederico Morais (PRT)
5 – Lenni Jensen (DEU)
European Women’s QS Top 5:
1 – Pauline Ado (FRA)
2 – Ariane Ochoa (EUK)
3 – Nadia Erostarbe (EUK)
3 – Teresa Bonvalot (PRT)
5 – Yolanda Hopkins (PRT)
5 – Lucia Martino (ESP)
5 – Marion Philippe (PYF)
Surfers will now have five weeks to prepare for the next event on the 2020 European Qualifying Series, the SEAT Pro Netanya.
The Cabreiroá Pro Las Américas is organized by the Canarian Surf Federation and has the main sponsorship of Turismo de Arona-Tenerife Sur, Promotur Turismo de Canarias, Turismo de Tenerife, Cabreiroá, Estrella Galicia and Spring Hotels Group, sponsored by Fred. Olsen Express & Baleària, and Vithas, as well as the collaboration of Multiinformática, Kontraola Surf School, Garden Center Playa Fañabé, Veinte 04 Surf Café, Tibu, Palm Beach Surfing Experts , Gam and Rahn Group.
Cherif Fall ( SEN) during day 1 of the Cabreiroá Pro Las Americas 2020
Line Up during day 1 of Cabreiroá Pro Las Americas 2020
OAHU, UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 19: World Title contender Italo Ferreira of Brazil wins the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters after winning the final at Pipeline on December 19, 2019 in Oahu, United States. (Photo by Ed Sloane/WSL via Getty Images)
Italo Ferreira (BRA) is the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Champion after defeating his closest rival, Gabriel Medina (BRA), in a heated Final in six-to-eight foot (1.8 – 2.4 meter) waves at the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters, the final stop on the Men’s WSL Championship Tour (CT) and third gem of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Ferreira is only the third Brasilian to win the World Title and Billabong Pipe Masters trophy and celebrated the double-win with an emotional chair up the beach to the awards stage.
OAHU, UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 19: Italo Ferreira of Brazil wins the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters and the WSL World Title after winning the final at Pipeline on December 19, 2019 in Oahu, United States. (Photo by Tony Heff/WSL via Getty Images)
“I can’t believe it, it’s unreal,” said Ferreira. “I’ve dedicated my whole life to get one trophy and I did. This is going to my grandmother and my uncle first. I came to Pipe a month ago to train and test my boards. This trophy means a lot to me and I just don’t have the words. Those were good heats against Kelly (Slater), Gabriel (Medina), Yago (Dora) and all the boys. You guys all give me a lot of energy and I just try to do my best every single day.”
OAHU, UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 19: Italo Ferreira of Brazil winning his maiden WSL World Title at the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters after winning the final at Pipeline on December 19, 2019 in Oahu, United States. (Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL via Getty Images)
On Ferreira’s path to victory, he overcame Medina, two-time World Champion and formidable competitor, in the Final, and Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time World Champion and seven-time Billabong Pipe Master in the Semifinals. Ferreira’s wave selection reigned supreme under pressure, in part thanks to Pipeline specialist Shane Dorian (HAW), who helped coach and guide the Brasilian, but largely due to his perseverance. He committed to being on the North Shore for a month ahead of this event and had one goal in mind, which was only achievable by conquering Medina.
“This year was so crazy with ups and downs so this means a lot,” continued Ferreira. “Before I started this competition, I was looking at this trophy and thinking I really want that. But now it’s in my hands and the celebration can start. This year was really different for me and special and I want to thank God for everything!”
Ferreira opened the final heat of the season in the first fifteen seconds with inside position and earned the best single-wave score of the Final, a 7.83 (out of a possible 10), for a rare Backdoor barrel on his backhand. He never gave up the lead and put pressure on Medina from start to finish and ultimately ended with a 15.56 scoreline to Medina’s 12.94. Conditions progressed throughout the day to deliver proper Pipeline barrels that pushed twelve-foot faces for the Brasilian showdown.
OAHU, UNITED STATES – DECEMBER 19: Two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina of Brazil finishes runner-up in the 2019 Billabong Pipe Masters after placing second in the final at Pipeline on December 19, 2019 in Oahu, United States. (Photo by Tony Heff/WSL via Getty Images)
Medina had a brilliant performance against John John Florence (HAW) in Quarterfinal 3 and scored a near-perfect 9.23 for a cavernous Pipeline left, along with an 8.40 to combo Florence. Medina’s dominance seemed unbeatable, especially with his expertise in big frontside barrels.
“I just want to thank everyone for cheering for us,” said Medina. “It’s been a fun week and that wave was a really fun one, maybe it was the heat we got a lot of waves. Against John, it’s even more special because he’s one of the best surfers in the world and I love to compete against him. I just feel really good surfing these waves. I just want to thank all the locals for letting us surf this wave because it’s one of my favorites that I surf. I’m proud of myself and now looking forward to the next one.”
En route to his second-place finish, Medina also eliminated Caio Ibelli (BRA) in dramatic fashion with an interference to top off his win in Heat 5, R/16. This heat was a rematch of the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Quarterfinals where Medina earned an interference penalty against Ibelli. Ibelli exits with a 9th place result, matching his personal best at the Billabong Pipe Masters.
“Just playing the game,” said Medina. “It was my priority, I knew if I had an interference that I was going to count my big wave. There was like 20 seconds left so it’s all good. I wasn’t sure [if Caio would have gotten the score], that’s why I went. He needed a 5, but it was really hard out there. I just had to play the game. Sometimes if it’s in the rules, you gotta play the game.”
Kelly Slater Wins Third Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title
After 21 years, Kelly Slater (USA) made a historic comeback to win his third Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title by besting an international trio that included former Billabong Pipe Master Michel Bourez (FRA), Jack Freestone (AUS) and Ethan Ewing (AUS) heading into Finals day. It was a hard-fought race as this Vans Triple Crown saw one of the best seasons for surf in recent history, including all-time conditions at Haleiwa for event No. 1, the Hawaiian Pro, and massive, challenging surf at event No. 2, the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach.
“I’ve been planning this attack for 21 years [laughing],” said Slater. “The first two (Vans Triple Crown titles) that I won I really wasn’t even thinking about them because I was so focused on trying to win a World Title and focused on Pipeline at the time. I’m just stoked, I had a really fun finish to the year for me. I just want to say thanks to everyone, it’s been a super fun year and damn I wanted that thing today. If I got here this year and only caught that wave (the perfect 10-point ride during R/32 Heat 8) it would have been a success, so I’m stoked.”
The Vans Triple Crown is in its 37th year of crowning the best surfer of the North Shore competitive season and is the world’s longest-running annual heritage surf series. Culture-defining, the Vans Triple Crown is a highly-coveted title and legendary surfers the likes of Sunny Garcia (HAW), Michael and Derek Ho (HAW), Andy Irons (HAW) and Joel Parkinson (AUS) have had benchmark career moments from their victories here in Hawaii. Vans, partner and community centerpiece, has continued to advocate for world-class competition in parallel with North Shore activations and a robust sustainability program to help build a community-first mindset. While the Vans Triple Crown officially culminates with the finish of the Billabong Pipe Masters, it begins at the Vans Pro Men’s QS 3,000 with local qualification spots, a true testament to Vans’ commitment to the North Shore.
Only ten non-Hawaii athletes have claimed the Vans Triple Crown title in the past 37 years, two coming from the USA (Slater and Griffin Colapinto). The 11-time World Champion leaves today with a beloved trophy carved out of a broken surfboard by sustainable artist Ruben Aira.
First 10 Men’s Provisional Olympic Qualifiers Are Set
John John Florence (USA) and Julian Wilson (AUS) have provisionally qualified through the WSL CT to represent the USA and Australia, respectively, at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
“It feels super good and that was the goal I set for this event and coming back for the Pipe Masters,” said Florence. “I’m fired up to accomplish that goal! I wanted to surf the least amount of heats possible for my knee and my recovery so I’m stoked. I am so happy to go to the Olympics and represent the USA and I couldn’t have done it without all the support here in Hawaii. A month ago I couldn’t even stand on my board so to be here today and surfing in the Quarters against Gabriel is more than I can ask for.”
“This is an incredible opportunity and it’s very surreal,” said Wilson. “I had a month off after Portugal and I trained my butt off to earn this spot on the Australian team. It’s a chicken-skin moment to know that I’m going to go to the Olympics and represent my country and I’m proud of myself.”
Surfing will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020 and the 2019 WSL CT was a crucial qualification pathway for the world’s best surfers. Following the season finale in Hawaii, the WSL rankings have determined the first 10 eligible men to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, subject to all qualified surfers meeting the ISA’s and IOC’s eligibility requirements and being selected by their respective National Olympic Committees.
The ten provisional qualifiers are:
USA – Kolohe Andino and John John Florence
Australia – Owen Wright and Julian Wilson
Brasil – Italo Ferreira and Gabriel Medina
France – Jeremy Flores and Michel Bourez
South Africa – Jordy Smith
Japan – Kanoa Igarashi
For highlights from the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons and the 2019 Championship Tour, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
Billabong Pipe Masters Final Results:
1 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.56
2 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.94
Billabong Pipe Masters Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.77 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 2.57
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.00 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 7.10
Billabong Pipe Masters Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.66 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 13.50
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 12.94 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.26
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.63 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 12.33
QF 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 9.84 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 8.77
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