Boardmasters is confirmed as a World Surf League Qualifying event

Boardmasters is confirmed as a World Surf League Qualifying event

Boardmasters03©Sharpy

After a few years’ sabbatical we’re stoked to announce Boardmasters is confirmed as a World Surf League Qualifying event.

Boardmasters had a proud history as, for many years, the UK’s only World Tour event. For a few golden years England and Scotland hosted the tour but in recent times it’s been sparse. Sure BM HAS been a stop for the WSL longboard crew the last few years but it’s not quite the same.

So it’s with great joy we share the news from Boardmasters that the event is once again part of the World Surf League qualifying series.

It’ll be a QS1000 event, but as QS events worldwide are getting rare they’re all vitally important for points and for seedings the following year.

Boardmasters will host the Men’s Open, the Women’s Open and the Boardmasters Men’s and Women’s Longboard contests,  cementing Boardmasters as the high-profile event in the UK’s surf calendar.

Boardmasters will be stop #29 on the WSL international qualifying series tour, giving surfing professionals the opportunity to come to Cornwall and be in with the chance of gaining valuable points in their quest to reach the elite platform of professional surfing.

The highly anticipated Boardmasters QS1000 will run from Wednesday 10 until Sunday 14 August 2016 at Fistral. The action will kick off with the Men’s Open. Britain’s best professional surfers, such as Ben Skinner, Luke Dillon, Jobe Harris and Lucy Campbell will once again have the chance to compete at an international level in home waters. 

Registration for entry for the WSL Open and Longboard events is via the WSL website.

It doesn’t stop there, as the festival continues at Watergate Bay for a weekend of the biggest and best names in live music performing from Friday 12 – Sunday 14 August 2016. Confirmed headline acts so far include Chase & Status, James Bay and Deadmau5, with other performances across the weekend from Catfish and the Bottlemen, Craig David, Primal Scream, Kano, Lianne La Havas, Kaiser Chiefs, Sigma, Wolf Alice, Example and Eats Everything, with further acts still to be announced. Can’t wait!

Get tickets at www.boardmasters.com

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photo: Sharpy

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photo: Alex Rawson / Boardmasters Festival

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Johanne Defay Takes Fiji!

Johanne Defay
Johanne Defay (FRA) has claimed victory today at The Fiji Women’s Pro, Stop No. 5 of 10 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), besting reigning three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) surf at Cloudbreak.

“I’ve never beat Carissa (Moore) before,” Defay said. “She is such an amazing surfer and she took 9-point rides in every heat. It is crazy and I am so happy. I want to thank my family because they have been up all night watching.”

Today is the second elite CT win for Defay, who claimed her first CT victory at the Vans US Open last year. The 2015 Fiji Women’s Pro semifinalist dispatched Courtney Conlogue (USA) in the Quarterfinals and Bethany Hamilton (HAW) in the Semifinals before facing Moore. Previously at 7th place on the Jeep Leaderboard, the result moves her to 4th place.

“The waves were really incredible for us this year – we are so fortunate,” Defay said. “All the girls were ripping. I felt like I wasn’t surfing very smart heats leading up to the Final. I was getting good waves at the end and advancing so I wanted to start strong in the Final. I’m so stoked right now.”

The Final match-up saw extraordinary performances from both surfers. Defay dropped an excellent 8.40 with massive hacks and clean turns in the pocket. With less than ten minutes left on the clock, sets out the back gave both surfers opportunities to improve their scores. Moore set up with a huge backside hack, but fell on her second maneuver. Defay attacked the lip to lock in an 8.70, putting the three-time World Champion in a combination situation with less than five minutes left. Moore was not able to find the waves to combat Defay’s 17.10.

“I was having an okay year but this really helps me get into a better place for me on the rankings,” Defay said. “The next few events are usually strong for me so I hope to keep the results coming.”

Defay heads into the upcoming Vans U.S. Open of Surfing as the defending event winner.

Carissa Moore

The Fiji Women’s Pro marks Moore’s first Final appearance of the season and her best result at the event. Moore put on a flawless performance en route to the Final, including a perfect 10 in her Quarterfinal match-up against Laura Enever (AUS). The runner-up finish will see her stay in the 3rd position on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“It was really an amazing event and I’m really happy with the way everyone surfed,” Moore said. “Disappointing that I wasn’t able to stay in rhythm for the Final, but congratulations to Johanne (Defay), she surfed incredible.”

“Fiji has been a challenging event for me in past years so it felt great to get some solid waves and big scores under my belt here,” Moore continued. “Big thanks to my coach, C.J. Hobgood, and to my support team here at home. Finals is a good result and I’ll look to build upon it at the next event in Huntington Beach.”

Bethany Hamilton (HAW), global sporting icon and wildcard into the Fiji Women’s Pro, was eliminated in Semifinal 1 by Defay. The Frenchwoman set the rhythm early by unleashing vertical maneuvers to earn a near-perfect 9.20. Defay backed up her opening ride with an 8.27, forcing Hamilton to find two new scores. Defay continued to strengthen her two-wave total, throwing away solid scoring rides. Hamilton fought back with sharp cutbacks, but was not able to defeat Defay.

Bethany Hamilton

Hamilton caused a series of upsets as she blazed through the draw, eliminating world No. 1 Tyler Wright (AUS) in Round 2 and defeating six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in Round 3, before taking down Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in the Quarterfinals. This event marks Hamilton’s sixth appearance in a Championship Tour event and the third-place finish is her best ever CT result.

“Coming here and competing in the Fiji Women’s Pro is a dream come true and I am stoked with how I did,” Hamilton said. “The women on the Championship Tour are surfing amazing right now and the level continues to get better and better. I have so much respect for all the girls and it has been an amazing time here. I am so thankful for my husband’s and family’s support and all of my fans for cheering me on. It has been an incredible experience.”

Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), 2015 event runner-up, took on Moore in an epic Semifinal clash. The two surfers went wave for wave to secure a spot in the Finals. Moore got off to an incredible start with powerful backhand snaps that earned her a near-perfect 9.77. Buitendag battled back with an excellent 8.27 and 7.83 to take the lead in the last ten minutes. Under pressure, Moore responded with solid rides to regain the lead. Moore continued to improve her situation by delivering another near perfect score, a 9.27, forcing Buitendag to find two new scores with five minutes left. Buitendag’s 3rd place finish marks her best result this season. Buitendag will remain at 9th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“Learning from the best, like Carissa, will help me improve,” said Buitendag. “The way Carissa approaches the lip is much more committed and critical to what I had done. Definitely that and spending more time on lefts, because I do not do that as often. There is so much to learn from all of these girls and I am so happy to be a part of it.”

In a heated re-match of the 2015 Fiji Women’s Pro final, Buitendag previously edged out defending event winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in the Quarterfinals by just 3.73 points, ending Fitzgibbons’ run for a third-consecutive event Title. This 5th place finish will see Fitzgibbons remain 5th on the Jeep Rankings.

Courtney Conlogue (USA) was eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Defay. Conlogue controlled the heat with a 14.00 two-wave score, but an aggressive three turn combo under Conlogue’s priority earned Defay an excellent 9.17. Conlogue was given one last opportunity advance in the dying minutes of the heat, but could not close the 1.07 gap on Defay.

“In the start of the heat I definitely had control of it,” Conlogue said. “As I came around, I lost my rhythm with the ocean and Johanne ended up maximizing on it and I made a few mistakes in that heat. I just have to go back to the drawing board and learn from my mistakes heading into the US Open. I am trying to win events and surf the best I can. When I get to the US Open that is what I will be working on.”

Conlogue’s 5th place finish in Fiji has earned her back the WSL Jeep Leader’s’ Jersey at the upcoming Vans US Open of Surfing.

Johanne Defay

Fiji Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 17.10
2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.70

Fiji Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 17.47 def. Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 11.06
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 19.04 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 16.60

Fiji Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 12.33 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.26
Heat 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) 15.07 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.00
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 19.03 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 15.77
Heat 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.40 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.67

2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Top 5 (after Fiji Women’s Pro):

  1. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 37,700 pts

  2. Tyler Wright (AUS) 36,950 pts

  3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 34,000 pts

  4. Johanne Defay (FRA) 28,650 pts

  5. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 28,150 pts

WSL Buys Kelly Slater Wave Company?!?!

WSL Buys Kelly Slater Wave Company?!?!

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File this in the ‘what the actual hell just happened file?!’ but it’s legit from the WSL themselves…

-This partnership and technology will allow for advancements in athlete training, access to surfing for people of all levels and increased fan engagement globally

May 24, 2016, Santa Monica, CA — WSL Holdings, the parent company of the World Surf League (WSL), today announced an agreement in principle to acquire a majority stake in the Kelly Slater Wave Company (KSWC). The partnership between the WSL and KSWC will be dedicated to promoting the growth of high-performance surfing around the world. KSWC’s revolutionary technology creates a number of possibilities for the future of the sport. The WSL and the KSWC envision the build-out of a global network of WSL-branded high-performance training centers utilizing this wave technology.

For Kelly Slater, the 11-time world champion, the creation of this wave technology is the realization of a lifelong dream and a 10-year project, and today’s announcement brings his two worlds together. “While surfing for me will always be about adventure, travel and the ocean, this wave brings a new opportunity to the sport without taking away the soulfulness that attracted many of us to surfing in first place,” said Slater. “Surfing great waves in a controlled environment adds a new dimension, as there is no hassling for waves, no stress over who got the best wave – they are all good. Everyone can relax, have fun and focus on improving their surfing.”

“It’s beyond my dreams that this wave will be a canvas for the global advancement of this great sport in partnership with the WSL,” he added. “It will democratize surfing and provide incredible training opportunities for athletes as well as aspirational surfers in areas with no ocean waves.”

The WSL sanctions and organizes the highest-level professional surfing competitions for men, women, big wave, longboarders and juniors.

“The WSL proudly represents the best in men’s and women’s competitive surfing globally, and the amazing man-made wave technology developed by Kelly Slater and his team is a revolutionary innovation that has the power to dramatically enhance every aspect of our sport,” said Paul Speaker, CEO of the WSL. “We share the same vision and passion for growing high-performance surfing, and are beyond excited to work together under one roof to bring the sport to levels and places never before possible.”

KSWC technology creates an opportunity for surfers to practice and develop ever-higher levels of performance in a repeating environment, with unprecedented opportunities for surrounding camera and sensor arrays providing immediate and perfectly accurate feedback on their progress. This is the first repeatable man-made wave that convincingly delivers the power and shape of ocean waves most sought after by accomplished surfers, including a hollow barrel allowing for long tube rides. While high-performance surfing is the core mission of both the WSL and the KSWC, the wave technology is flexible and can also create variable waves for beginner and intermediate surfers.

WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow recently visited the first KSWC site, and said the wave surpassed his expectations. “Up until a few weeks ago, I had never ridden Kelly’s Wave, and when I did, I was blown away by the experience,” Perrow said. “It is incredible to see this wave in action – it has more energy and power than I expected and this technology holds a lot of potential for the future development of surfers just starting out and those already competing on our Championship Tour.”

10 Years of Science - Ruler Edge Barrel. Photo Credit. Todd Glaser

While competition in a man-made environment will offer previously impossible opportunities such as the creation of surrounding spectator environments, as well as certainty of scheduling, WSL CEO Speaker emphasized that nothing could ever replace the magic and mystery of world-class competition in the ocean. “We do believe that all stakeholders – athletes, fans, broadcast and corporate partners – will be super energized by the advent of Championship Tour-level competition with man-made waves,” he said, “but the ocean will always be our home, and the great waves on our tour will always remain the backbone of our competitive schedule.”

Speaker added: “No firm plans have been made for the inclusion of a man-made wave-based competition. We will be evaluating all the possibilities in the coming months with the Commissioners’ Office and the WSL athletes.”
Future Surfing. Photo Credit. Todd Glaser

WSL Holdings is the parent company of the World Surf League (WSL). The transaction is subject to the negotiation of mutually agreeable definitive documentation, among other customary conditions. Both WSL and KSWC will continue to operate independently as separate entities following the closing of a transaction. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com and KSWaveCo.com

The Edge of the Abyss …  A Pacific Preview

The Edge of the Abyss … A Pacific Preview

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With the Pacific leg of the World Tour looming (gals from May 29, chaps from June 5) it’s that time of year when the pros are emptying their boardbags of small-wave Rio sleds and weighing up what boards to chuck in to take on potentially huge Cloudbreak and the girthsome tunnels of Teahupo’o.

The events of yesterday, when some of the world’s best free surfers had a dig at maxing Cloudbreak, leading to Aaron Gold’s, sphincter clenching for all involved drowning / rescue / resuscitation, must be weighing heavily on their minds.

The session took a dark turn, no longer an amuse bouche for the Fiji WSL stop, but a serious heads up. No other stop on the tour has the potential for being so outrageously big and perfect. Sure Teahupo’o gets nuts but there’s a point where paddling it is beyond human physics and it goes Code Red for the tow crew.

Cloudbreak, as it has occasionally shown, can be massive and perfect. Outside of the realm of what tour surfers expect or in some cases have any experience in. We all remember the kerfuffle that happened the year the event was put on hold as Cloudy went mental.

With a distinctly dismal Brazil event this year the WSL sorely need the Pacific to deliver. If it’s massive and clean they’ll have no option but to run. Unless the surfers vote not to surf. In which case the public will be baying for blood. And the free surfers that are keen to take it on will garner all the coverage. Again.

It’s a tricky proposition. Surfing Cloudbreak, or Teahupo’o at size, in the name of ‘sport’, is frankly nuts. Even though the surfers now have the option of life-vests under their suits and some of the world’s best water rescue guys on hand.

Mick’s tussle with a shark live was terrifying; a warning shot across the bows. No one wants to be holding the tiller of the professional sports organisation that leads to someone drowning live on the internet in the name of entertainment.

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How many sports involve such risk? Sure you might break a leg playing footy or get concussed playing rugby. Tennis elbow is an issue. A ping-pong ball in the eye sure does smart. Sure F1 and most motorsport comes with a healthy dose of life threatening but it’s not an unruly track that kills you.

Few competitive sports compare.  It’s hard to comprehend getting brutally beaten into a coral razor garden while half the Pacific tears you a new one … all as you struggle to not pass out.

Which leads us to the question: How many sports expect that you risk drowning, wounding and even death to get a score?

This is why watching surfing in serious surf is so magnetic. It transcends sport. It’s not about scores, rash-vests and sponsored messages. It’s man v nature. Plain and simple. It explains why big wave events draw the crowds. It’s why the Pacific leg is the most anticipated part of the tour. Big, clean 10-15 foot Cloudbreak and ‘edge-of-ridable Teahupo’o’ is what we want.

In an age where visual is all and being able to grab the hoi-polloi’s attention in three seconds or less before they scroll on is key. Big, bombing, blue barrels will do that. Here’s hoping the conditions are at the fine line between crazy and awesome.

Words by Sharpy

 

Oi! John John!

John John Florence

John John Florence claimed victory yesterday at the Oi Rio Pro, Stop No. 4 of 11 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, besting rookie Jack Freestone (AUS) in punchy four-to-six foot (1.5 – 2 metre) waves at Postinho.

“I love coming back here to Rio,” Florence said. “This is where I won my first World Championship Tour event. The waves are really similar to Hawaii with their power. Everyone here in Brazil has been so supportive. If it was not for everyone’s support on the beach cheering us on every wave, I do not know if I would have been as stoked. Thank you to everyone.”

Today’s emphatic victory vaults Florence from 13th to 3rd on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard, well within striking distance of the frontrunner position. Florence previously defeated Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Dusty Payne (HAW) en route to the Final today.

“Obviously I want to try to win a World Title, but I am going to take it heat by heat, event by event,” continued Florence. “Hopefully I will come out on top, but we will see. The waves have been challenging and everyone has been surfing so well, so I am stoked to be here and win this event.”

Today’s win marks the Hawaiian’s third elite tour victory, having previously finished atop the field here in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 and in France in 2014.

The Final got off to an exciting start with an exchange that saw Florence deliver an aggressive two-turn combination for a solid 7.00, while Freestone failed to complete his ride, earning a 3.17. Florence continued to heat up, posting more excellent scores. With only ten minutes into the Final, Florence threw up a near-perfect 9.70 by locking in a dynamic two-turn combination. The Hawaiian proved to be unstoppable, finishing with an impressive 18.97 heat total by landing a massive air to earn another near-perfect score, a 9.27, putting the Australian in an impossible combination situation.
Jack Freestone
Freestone, who suffered an injury after the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, returned to Rio in full force after a two-event absence. Today marks Freestone’s first Final appearance and highest career finish on the Championship Tour. To reach the Final, the rookie previously dispatched 2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Miguel Pupo (BRA). Freestone’s second place result will move him from 37th to 19th on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I am very happy,” Freestone said. “It was a long week and I just had to take it heat by heat. To come back from an injury and get second place is amazing, and I am over the moon. I would just like to thank everyone here in Brazil for all of their support. I would like to congratulate John on a crazy win. It was a great time here in Rio.”

Freestone upset the competition by eliminating Medina in Semifinal 2. Medina, the crowd-favorite who previously posted two perfect 10-point rides in the event, was poised to make a Finals appearance, but the rookie threw down an aggressive performance to advance. Medina secured a near-perfect 9.07 with his backside full rotation air, but Freestone continued to chip away with his two-turn combinations. Freestone hammered down a 7.83 and 8.67, forcing Medina to chase a 7.43. Medina was not able to find the waves to combat Freestone’s lead and will walk away with a 3rd place finish, his best of 2016. Today’s results see Medina move up nine places from 18th to 9th on the Jeep Rankings.

“I am stoked to get this result,” Medina said. “I feel like I am back and last year was a great year for me because I was fighting for the Title. I wish I was in the Final against John because that would be sick, but I am so happy with my finish. Hopefully I can keep doing well. I am excited for Fiji and the great waves. I love that place.”

Semifinal 1 witnessed Florence eliminate Adriano de Souza (BRA), reigning WSL Champion. With eight previous match-ups between the two former event winners, this heat adds a sixth win to Florence’s tally. Florence got an early lead by tying together barrels and aggressive railwork, putting pressure on De Souza to post high-scoring rides. Florence furthered his lead with a huge combination maneuver to earn a near-perfect 9.80 and backed that up with an 8.93. De Souza, with only a 12.66 heat score, was caught in a combination that he wasn’t able to escape.

After a slow start on the Australian leg, today was De Souza’s first Semifinal appearance of the year. De Souza’s 3rd place finish will move him up to 6th place on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into Fiji.

“This is a good result,” De Souza said. “I’ve been working so hard to be in a Final, but it was not enough. I think John has the best rhythm with the ocean and his talent is unbeatable. I am happy with my performance from the start of the event to the Semifinal. It was great to have all the support of my family and friends here in Brazil, as well as all the fans. I wish so much to be in the final, but I am happy.”

De Souza previously dispatched 2016 WSL Rookie Davey Cathels (AUS) in the second heat of the Quarterfinals. Cathels put out a solid effort to knock out the reigning World Champion, but fell short by only 2.97 points. Cathels will walk away with a 5th place finish, his highest on the CT.

Florence eliminated Dusty Payne (HAW), injury replacement and former CT charger, in the opening Quarterfinal match-up. Florence found his way out of two deep barrels to earn a 15.17 two-wave score. Payne, with an 8.50 heat total, was not able to find the near-perfect 9.67 he needed to defeat Florence.
John John Florence
The next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Fiji Women’s Pro from May 29 – June 3 followed by the Fiji Men’s Pro from June 5 – 17, 2016.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com 

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – 
John John Florence (HAW) 18.97
2 – Jack Freestone (AUS) 16.13

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: 
John John Florence (HAW) 18.73 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.66
SF 2: Jack Freestone (AUS) 16.50 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.67

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: 
John John Florence (HAW) 15.17 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.50
QF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.97 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.00
QF 3: Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.50 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.60
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.77 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 6.00

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Remaining Round 5 Results:
Heat 4: 
Adam Melling (AUS) 10.80 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 10.00

2016 Samsung Galaxy Top 5 (after Oi Rio Pro): 

  1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 24,500 pts
  2. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 18,750 pts
  3. John John Florence (HAW) 18,700 pts
  4. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 17,500 pts
  5. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 17,200 pts

Tyler Takes Rio!

Tyler Wright

A heated final day at the Oi Rio Women’s Pro, the fourth stop on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, saw Tyler Wright (AUS) claim victory at Barra da Tijuca defeating Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)in a hard-fought Final.

The win today in Rio is Wright’s third of the season, following previous triumphs on the Gold Coast and at Bells Beach. Back-to-back event wins see her take first place on the Jeep Leaderboard and Wright will wear the leader jersey at the upcoming Fiji Women’s Pro. Wright previously dispatched Carissa Moore (HAW) and Johanne Defay (FRA) en route to the Final today.

“This is the best I’ve ever felt,” Wright said. “Over the last six months so many things have happened and it has given me a lot of perspective on the way I want to run my career and surf my heats. I want to say a massive thanks to my family. They make it all worthwhile.”

“I am so excited to win here in Brazil,” continued Wright. “It is fun and there are so many things you need to take into account, and you have to just flow with it. I think this was the most challenging of any event and any final. It was hard work and I am stoked.”
Tyler Wright
The all-Australian Final match-up saw a close battle between Wright and Fitzgibbons. Showcasing her power surfing and control, Wright set the bar early on by dropping an excellent 8.67. Wright continued to back up her opening ride, putting pressure on Fitzgibbons to land a solid score. With ten minutes left on the clock, Fitzgibbons hammered a critical section to earn 7.17 and begin to close the gap on Wright. In the closing minutes Fitzgibbons was left searching for 5.94 while massive sets out the back pushed the athletes further from the take-off. Fitzgibbons was out of position to attempt a final attack and Wright, with a 13.10 two-wave score, defeated Fitzgibbons by 2.76 points to take the win.

Sally Fitzgibbons
Today is the second Final berth for Fitzgibbons this season, who also finished runner-up at Bells Beach. The result will see the two-time Rio event winner move up one place on the Jeep Leaderboard from 6th to 5th. To reach the Final Fitzgibbons took down Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Malia Manuel (HAW).

“It was a great effort by Tyler and huge congratulations to her,” said Fitzgibbons. “In the Final, I was just hoping for one more wave at the end. I could feel that win. I had put myself back into contention, and I loved the challenge today. I really feed off the energy of the crowd. The fans here are so passionate about surfing, so it is a pleasure to come here and perform.”
Courtney Conlogue.
2015 event winner Courtney Conlogue (USA) will relinquish the Jeep Leader Jersey after being defeated by Fitzgibbons in Semifinal 1. With an event win at Bells Beach and runner-up finishes on the Gold Coast and at Margaret River, today’s result marks Conlogue’s first absence from the Finals this season and sees her move to 2nd place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

The bout between Conlogue and Fitzgibbons saw multiple lead changes, as both surfers put everything on the line to advance to the Finals. Fitzgibbons held onto a 14.10 heat score, leaving Conlogue to chase a 6.61. In the dying seconds of the heat, Conlogue had one last opportunity to post the required score, but could not stick the landing.

“This finish is a positive, as third is a keeper result at the end of the season,” Conlogue said. “But I was definitely hoping to get the win and it was a bit frustrating to not catch those skis. I just have to learn from what went on in that heat, so I can draw off of that knowledge for Fiji. Things were zig-zagging all the way through the final minutes. I have to brush my knees off and get ready for the next one.”

Wright took down Carissa Moore (HAW), reigning three-time WSL Champion, in Semifinal 2. Moore has yet to secure a spot in the Finals this season, with a Semifinal finish at each event of the season so far. The World Champion will head into Fiji in third place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

Wright opened up Semifinal 2 against Moore with a huge frontside hook to earn an 8.77, the highest score of the heat and the Semifinal match-ups. Wright controlled the Semifinal with a 13.60 two-wave score, forcing Moore to chase a 7.68. Moore was not able to find the waves to combat Wright.
Stephanie Gilmore
Six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) was eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Moore. The heat marked the seventeenth head-to-head match-up between the two CT superstars, adding a tenth win to Moore’s tally. The Hawaiian got off to a quick start to lock in an excellent 8.77 and continued to better her heat total with a 7.07. Caught in a combination situation, Gilmore struggled to find the scores to close the gap on Moore. Gilmore will walk away with a 5th place finish and moves down one place to 6th on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I think with the few days in between competition I probably got a little too relaxed,” Gilmore said. “I keep putting together great performances, but they sort of fall apart as the event goes on. This event is really testing, it tests your patience and your focus. I definitely struggled out there. I am just having a love affair with the Quarterfinals. But I am looking forward to Fiji. There is a big swell heading there and it is probably a great time to practice and take as many boards as you can out there. We will see what happens.”

 

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – 
Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.10
2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.34

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: 
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.10 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.00
SF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.60 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.10

Oi Rio Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: 
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.73 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.30
QF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 16.50 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 11.10
QF 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.87 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.70
QF 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.84 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 7.50

2016 Samsung Galaxy Top 5 (after Oi Rio Women’s Pro):
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 35,200 pts
2 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 32,500 pts
3 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 26,000 pts
4 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 23,400 pts
5 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 22,950 pts

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: 
Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 3: Nat Young (USA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Lucas Silveira (BRA)
Heat 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Marco Fernandez (BRA)
Heat 8: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jack Freestone (HAW)
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)