Mick Fanning Fights Off A Shark?!

Mick Fanning Fights Off A Shark?!


Were you having a cruisey Sunday watching the J-Bay Open like we were when things escalated quickly? As in really got out of hand fast. All thanks to a shark. Just as it was shaping up to be a classic final a fin appeared behind Mick and next thing you know they are going at it. In the rough and tumble Mick punches the beast on the back sandpapering his hand and the shark left hooked* him. All while we sat there jaws on the floor. Julian Wilson was paddling over fast like a bally hero and the safety team came in quick but it was a terrifying to scene to witness. Helpless as we were behind our screens. Especially when he went underwater. So. Mick’s fine. Shaken not stirred. And below is the official version from the WSL and the YouTube clip has the brown wetsuit making moment we all secretly dread around the two minute mark…

*Yeah, yeah, it tail whipped him but go with the boxing analogy.


The J-Bay Open, Stop No. 6 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), has been called off following a dramatic incident that involved three-time WSL Champion and defending event winner Mick Fanning (AUS) being attacked by a shark in the opening minutes of the Final against Julian Wilson (AUS).


The scene unfolded live on WorldSurfLeague.com as the Australian essentially fought off the two animals before the Water Safety Team quickly arrived and pulled both Fanning and compatriot Julian Wilson into the safety boat. Despite a severed leash, Fanning remained physically unscathed by the incident.


“We are incredibly grateful that no one was seriously injured today,” Kieren Perrow, WSL Commissioner, said. “Mick’s composure and quick acting in the face of a terrifying situation was nothing short of heroic and the rapid response of our Water Safety personnel was commendable – they are truly world class at what they do. The safety of our athletes is a priority for the WSL and, after discussions with both Finalists, we have decided to cancel the remainder of competition at the J-Bay Open. We appreciate the ongoing support we have in South Africa and once again want to express our gratitude to the Water Safety Team.”

“I was just sitting there and I felt something grab or get stuck in my leg rope and I instantly just jumped away,” Fanning said. “It just kept coming at my board and I was kicking and screaming. I just saw fins, I didn’t see any teeth. I was waiting for the teeth to come at me as I was swimming. I punched it in the back. I’m totally fine, I’ve got nothing wrong with me. There’s a small depression in my board and my leg rope got bitten and I’m totally tripping out.”

JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Sunday, July 19, 2015) – Mick Fanning of Tweed Heads, New South Wales, Australia (pictured during the Quarter Finals) was attacked by shark during the Final of the JBay Open and escaped unhurt on Sunday July 19, 2015. The final will not be run, both Fanning and Wilson will receive second place 8000 points and split the prize money. IMAGE CREDIT: WSL / Cestari PHOTOGRAPHER: Kelly Cestari SOCIAL MEDIA TAG: @wsl @kc80 The images attached or accessed by link within this email ("Images") are the copyright of the Association of Surfing Professionals LLC ("World Surf League") and are furnished to the recipients of this email for world-wide editorial publication in all media now known or hereafter created. All Images are royalty-free but for editorial use only. No commercial or other rights are granted to the Images in any way. The photo content is an accurate rendering of what it depicts and has not been modified or augmented except for standard cropping and toning. The Images are provided on an "as is" basis and no warranty is provided for use of a particular purpose. Rights to an individual within an Image are not provided. Sale or license of the Images is prohibited. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

“I was just cruising and waiting for my turn, my opportunity and I knew Julian (Wilson) was down the point,” continued Fanning. “I was just about to get moving and start paddling again and all of a sudden I had this instinct that something was behind me. I started getting pulled underwater and then the thing came up and I was on my board and it was right there. I saw the whole thing thrashing around but I was getting dragged under by my leg rope. I felt like it kicked me off but it was still there going and I was still attached to my board. I felt like I punched it a couple of times and then it was dragging me and then my leg rope broke.”
“I started swimming and screaming and yelling at Jules (Julian Wilson) to move as well, but he was coming at me,” said Fanning. “What a legend, coming after me. I was swimming in and I turned around and I had this thought, what happens if it comes to have another go at me, so I turned around so I could at least see it coming. Before I knew it the boat was there, the jet skis were there and we were in safely. I just can’t believe it. To walk away from that, I’m just so stoked. I want to let all my family and friends know that I’m okay.”
“Mick (Fanning) was kind of out in no man’s land so I was really watching him and had my eyes on him,” said Wilson. “Mick (Fanning) was looking down the point and I saw the whole thing pop up behind him. It can up and he was wrestling it. I saw him get knocked off his board and then a wave popped up and I thought, ‘he’s gone’. I felt like I couldn’t get there quick enough. The results don’t mean anything to me, I’m just happy he’s alive. I literally thought when I was paddling for him that I wasn’t going to get there in time, especially when I saw him off his board and swimming away. I thought it was going to grab him and take him under. I’m so happy we’re both on the beach right now, I was so worried about Mick’s life.”
Both Fanning and Wilson will receive equal second place and 8,000 points on the Jeep Leaderboard. They will split the prize money between them equally, receiving $70,000 each. The result sees Fanning move up two places to second on rankings, Wilson move up to third and Adriano de Souza (BRA) retain the Jeep leader jersey.

Julian Wilson hugs Mick Fanning (Blue) from the safety of shore after Fanning was attacked by a shark during the FInal of the JBay Open on Sunday July 19, 2015.

Before the incident occurred the pair were set for an exciting 40-minute all-Australian Final with Wilson searching for his first CT win and Fanning looking to defend his J-Bay Open title and claim his 21st CT victory. The pair has had four previous head-to-head heats with Fanning claiming the win each time.

Earlier in the day the form goofyfooter of the event, Adrian Buchan (AUS), faced Wilson in an all-Australian clash in the opening Semifinal. Buchan won through each Round of competition before losing out to Wilson in the Semifinals, who won through thanks to his heat-high opening score, sending Buchan home in third place. Previously 30th on the Jeep Leaderboard and in need of a good result after a series of early exits this year the result today sees Buchan jump up ten places to 20th on the Jeep Leaderboard and marks his first Semifinal appearance since the 2014 Billabong Pipe Masters.

“At the moment it doesn’t feel great” said Buchan. “I had an opportunity at the end and didn’t really finish, but like you said I feel really proud that I’ve got my year back on track and I felt like I was doing the surfing here to go all the way. It was great to have a good battle out there with Julian (Wilson) in pumping J-Bay. I feel confident at all the locations coming up, I’ve had big results everywhere and I know I can perform at all the spots left. I’m just going to go there and just surf and rely on my instincts and have fun. That’s what I did here and it really worked.”

The second Semifinal saw Kelly Slater (AUS) and Fanning, the two most successful surfers at Jeffreys Bay and long time rivals, battle for a place in the Final. The pair have had 15 previous man-on-man heats in CT history, with Slater taking 9 wins to Fanning’s 6 and their last match-up was the Final in Fiji in 2013. Two 8-point rides from Fanning with less than ten minutes gone left the 11-time World Champion in a combination situation. Slater managed to escape with an excellent 9.43 for a long floater, quick barrel and series of carving turns but was left searching for a 7.30. Fanning sealed the deal with a 9.63 in the final minutes and sailed through to the Final. The Semifinal berth for Slater marks his best result of the season sees him move up to 6th place on the rankings.
“Now I’ve seen it all,” said Slater of the attack. “I was coming up the beach and I saw all the boats and skis go straight to the lineup. I knew there was only one possible reason that would ever happen in a contest and that’s if someone got attacked by a shark. I ran up the beach trying to get some information. I’m halfway between crying and laughing because he (Fanning) got so lucky. I’m lost for words to be honest. We almost just watched our friend get eaten by a shark and I’m just blown away that there’s no damage at all.”
World no. 1 Adriano de Souza (BRA) was sent home after the Quarterfinals by Wilson. With only seven waves surfed during the 35-minute clash it was the Australian that held the edge and took the win. De Souza wasn’t able to find the waves or the scores he needed but retains his place at the top of the rankings heading into the next event in Tahiti.

“Julian (Wilson) is such a good surfer,” De Souza said. “I think I lost that heat for myself, I lost my rhythm on my last wave and that cost me. I’m definitely in the hunt for a good result in Tahiti right now. I started my training early and I’m trying to get strong. I just need to do well and get to the Quarters or Semis at every single contest. That’s my goal. At this stage everyone has a chance and I’m focused on my training and my equipment.”

Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) was also eliminated in the Quarterfinals at the hands of Semifinalist Slater. Despite a strong showing from the Brazilian and an impressive 17.23 heat total two nine-point rides from the 11-time World Champion were too much for Medina to overcome. A 5th place finish sees Medina move to 15th place on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into Stop No. 7, the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

“We both got some sick waves,” said Medina. “It’s hard to beat Kelly (Slater) out here, especially when the waves are like this. He’s the guy out here and I knew that was going to be tough. There isn’t much I can do, but I had fun out there and I’m happy with the end result. I’m excited for Tahiti. Last year I had a great result over there. Now I’m going back home to get prepared.”


Highlights from the J-Bay Open are available on WorldSurfLeague.com.


J-Bay Open Final Results:

2 – Mick Fanning (AUS)

2 – Julian Wilson (AUS)


J-Bay Open Semifinal Results:

SF 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.40 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.20

SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.13 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 16.26


J-Bay Open Quarterfinal Results:

QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.00 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 15.67

QF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.53 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.33

QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.10 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.23

QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.17 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.00


J-Bay Open Round 5 Results:

Heat 1: Kai Otton (AUS) 16.60 def. Nat Young (USA) 11.34

Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.67 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.83

Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.53 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.00

Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.90 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.87


Fiji Pro: Ladies Opening Day…


The fifth stop of the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), the Fiji Women’s Pro, got underway today with Round 1 running in solid conditions at Cloudbreak. With the swell steadily increasing, the day saw big scores, barrels and upsets, including defending event winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) being sent to elimination Round 2 at the hands of Laura Enever (AUS).

Tatiana Weston-Webb of Hawaii placing runner up during Round 1 of the Womens Fiji Pro in Fiji on Monday June 1, 2015.

The day began with Lakey Peterson (USA) taking on Alessa Quizon (HAW) and rookie Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) in the opening heat of Round 1. Peterson came back from a disappointing result in Fiji last year to sail through to Round 3 with great wave selection despite a strong showing from Weston-Webb. A final attempt from the rookie fell just short and she will surf again in Round 2 alongside Quizon.

“It’s such an amazing wave and it’s really challenging and tricky,” said Peterson. “Last year I didn’t have the best go but I’ve come here a few times since then. It’s a great opportunity to surf a different type of wave so I’m trying to really enjoy that and learn from every heat. It’s definitely intimidating but it will be fun. All the girls have really been charging and we’re all really excited about pushing the sport.”

Laura Enever scored an outstanding 9.5 in Heat 2

An incredible battle unfolded between defending event winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Laura Enever (AUS) in Heat 2 against Coco Ho (HAW). Fitzgibbons opened strong, posting an excellent 8.00 on her first ride, backing it up with a 6.83 to leave her opponents in a combination situation. Enever came back with a near-perfect 9.43 for three powerful turns on a set wave but Fitzgibbons answered with a 9-point ride of her own to solidify her lead. An 8.37 from Enever in the final moments saw her snatch the lead from the current world no. 6, sending her to elimination Round 2 for the first time this year and causing the upset of the day.

Laura Enever interviewed live from the middle of the Pacific Ocean after winning Heat 2

“It’s a big relief to skip Round 2,” Enever said. “I’m so stoked. It really started pulsing for our heat and we were going wave for wave. I feel really comfortable out there. It’s been awesome, all the girls are ripping and I hope we get some more waves.”

Carissa Moore of Hawaii (pictured) winning her Round 1heat at the WOmens FIji Pro in Fiji on Monday June 1, 2015.

Jeep rankings leader Carissa Moore (HAW) posted the score of the heat with ten minutes remaining, finding a barrel for an 8.50 and securing her place in Round 3 with a back-up 6.10. Dimity Stoyle (AUS) and wildcard Mahina Maeda (HAW) will have to battle again in Round 2 when competition continues.

“I’m stoked that I got to come here early and experience some bigger surf,” Moore said. “It’s definitely really tough and I know that there’s girls like Sally (Fitzgibbons) and Courtney (Conlogue) who have a lot of experience here so I’m trying to catch up.”

No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard, Courtney Conlogue (USA), continued her excellent run of form today with a Round 1 win over European threat Johanne Defay (FRA) and replacement surfer Keely Andrew (AUS) thanks to an 11.50 heat total.

“I had so much anticipation to get out here,” said Conlogue. “I’ve been out here for a week now. Last year I was frothing to come surf Fiji, it was one of my dream spots. To not be able to surf it made it that much sweeter to get the jersey on this year and get out in the lineup. I’m so excited about the prospect of some bigger waves to come.”

Tyler Wright (AUS) took an early lead in the penultimate heat of the day, where she faced Silvana Lima (BRA) and Sage Erickson (USA). Lima and Erickson were left trailing through the first half of the heat but came back with an excellent 8.33 and 7.10 respectively to put them back in contention. Neither could find the scores they needed and Wright sails through to Round 3.

“It feels good to win that heat,” Wright said. “I felt a little bit off balance on my new board but once I figured that out I was really enjoying it out there. There’s so much water moving and waves everywhere so I let everyone do their thing and do mine.”

Nikki Van Dijk of Phillip Island, Victoria (pictured) placing runner up during Round 1 of the Womens Fiji Pro in Fiji on Monday June 1, 2014.

An exciting exchange played out in the final heat of the day between Malia Manuel (HAW), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), leaving the South African in first place with others close behind. Manuel quickly stole the lead but Buitendag posted an excellent 9.43 for a series of power turns to reclaim the top spot and the win.

“This is my third time here and last year I came straight after Brazil so spent more than two weeks here before the contest started,” said Buitendag. “It’s every goofyfooters dream so it’s more of a holiday than preparation and it seems to be paying off.”

Bianca Buitendag of Victoria Bay, South Africa (pictured) posting one of the highest wave scores of the day, a near perfect 9.43 (out of ten) winning her Round 1 heat at the Womens Fiji Pro in Fiji on Monday June 1, 2015.
The Fiji Women’s Pro will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com. The world’s best surfing will also be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea, Malaysia and other territories and on Globo TV  in Brazil.
Fiji Women’s Pro Round 1 Results:

Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.00, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 11.00, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 6.83
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 17.80, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 17.67, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.17
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.60, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 12.83, Mahina Maeda (HAW) 7.66
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.50, Johanne Defay (FRA) 7.83, Keely Andrew (AUS) 5.50
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.93, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.13, Silvana Lima (BRA) 10.23
Heat 6: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 17.06,  Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 15.57, Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.40


Fiji Women’s Pro Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Mahina Maeda (HAW)
Heat 4: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 5: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Dimity Stoyle (AUS)

Margaret! Margaret!

John John Florence

The insanity continues as the WSL scores West Oz in feisty form. Vids, pics, results, etc. All here…

MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Friday, April 17, 2015) – The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) ran through the opening 8 heats of Men’s Round 3 at The Box before moving back to Main Break to complete the Round. The day saw big upsets as ratings leader Mick Fanning (AUS) was eliminated at the hands of wildcard Jay Davies (AUS) and Joel Parkinson (AUS) was defeated by Sebastian Zietz (HAW). The women’s competition also got underway with Round 1 in large surf at Margaret River’s Main Break, where the top seeds were dominant with Carissa Moore (HAW), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Tyler Wright (AUS) all moving directly through to Round 3.

Jay Davies

After taking down reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) yesterday, dangerous local wildcard Jay Davies (AUS) caused the upset of the day and eliminated ratings leader Mick Fanning (AUS) in Round 3. Davies posted an excellent 9.50, backing it up with a 7.33 for a 16.83 two-wave heat total, to take the win and send the three-time World Champion home with a 13th-place finish, his worst result of the year.

“That was just so fun, every bit of it,” said Davies. “On that wave I just really had to forget about all the other heats I’ve surfed out here where I’ve pulled back and put my head down. It was the steepest take off and I just wanted to give it everything I had. I thought I was going to come off but luckily I didn’t.


“It’s exciting to compete here in my home town and in front of all my friends and family, which makes it so much sweeter,” continued Davies. “Surfing against Mick (Fanning) just then was amazing, he’s one of my friends and he’s such a champion.”


“I had two waves there that could have been bigger scores but it was sick,” Fanning said. “Me and Jay (Davies) were actually laughing out there. To get to surf The Box with no one else out and trading off waves with one of your mates and getting barreled is all time. Over here the two wildcards that I’ve lost to are world-class surfers — Jay Davies and Yadin Nicol. The Box is sort of a lucky dip and it causes both upsets and great performances. It’s a difficult wave so you just go out there, try and get barreled and it’s fun.”


Heat 4 saw another upset as Sebastian Zietz (HAW) took down Joel Parkinson (AUS). The Hawaiian looked in great from, relishing in the large conditions, and two 7-point rides secured him the win. Today is another disappointing result for the Australian, adding a second 13th-place finish to his results this year.


“He (Joel Parkinson) is really gnarly out there,” said Zietz. “We’ve had a few freesurfs out here and he’s so good. I don’t think either of us really got the best waves that were out there. I was stoked just to make it out of Round 3, which is a really killer for me. We were sitting really deep and both lost priority. It’s so beautiful here and we’ve had such great waves.”


“At the start of the heat we both missed some pretty good waves,” Parkinson said. “I expected more opportunities to come through and it got quiet out there for a while. It felt like 30 minutes goes so quickly out there in those waves, it’s not like 30 minutes anywhere else.”


11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) delivered a Perfect 10 at Main Break today, managing to find a deep barrel followed by a huge carve. Paired with his excellent 9.50 from earlier he secured a 19.50 two-wave heat total, the best of the competition so far, to defeat Glenn Hall (IRL).


“I’ve been coming here since 1993 and that’s probably the best surf I’ve had in a heat,” said Slater. “There were a lot of good waves out there in the heat. I had three of four chances on good waves. I rode a little bigger board and tried to draw lines out and that’s the biggest adjustment I’ve made, my board.”



Despite the wave of the heat from Kai Otton (AUS) he couldn’t find a score to back up his near-perfect 9.57 in his Round 3 heat against defending event winner Michel Bourez (PYF). The Tahitian found an excellent 8.40 and 6.83 to secure the win and a place in Round 4.

“It’s super terrifying out at The Box!” Bourez said. “You have to pick the right waves, you don’t know what the wave is going to do. You take off, hold on and hope that you make the barrel and if you do it’s the best feeling in the world.”

Michel Bourez
John John Florence (HAW), winner of the 2012 Margaret River Qualifying Series event, put on another incredible display of surfing to take the win over Adam Melling (AUS). Florence showed his control and confidence, looking at ease in the waves of consequence while Melling suffered a terrifying wipeout.


“The Box is one of the most challenging barrels out there,” Florence said. “It’s one of the scariest waves I’ve surfed. Some of the waves let you in early if you’re lucky, but then you still have to deal with the steps. There’s a lot of water moving out there so you need to pick the ones when there’s some water on the reef.”


Jordy Smith (ZAF) has withdrawn from the competition after injuring his foot during a freesurf yesterday. The incident will see Jeremy Flores (FRA) advance directly to the Round 4.


Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and Alessa Quizon (HAW) went head-to-head in Round 1 of the women’s contest. The Australian posted a 9-point ride on her second wave for a convincing lead while the Hawaiians trailed. Fitzgibbons looked comfortable in the big waves and went on to back up her excellent score with a solid 7.60 to leave Quizon in a combination and Weston-Webb needing a 9.10. Fitzgibbons’ strong performance moves her directly through to Round 3.


“Preparation is key, especially at a wave like Margaret River,” said Fitzgibbons. “There’s a lot going on and a lot to think about but I really enjoyed the challenge out there today. We got out there nice and early just to get a feel of the lineup. It was a pretty intense experience to out there just metres away while the first heat copped a few sets on the head. It was good to see them get back up and get out there for another one.”


Claire Bevilacqua

Defending event champion Carissa Moore (HAW) faced Coco Ho (HAW) and trials winner Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) in Heat 3 today. Moore posted the first score followed quickly by Bevilacqua. The two-time World Champion caught four further waves for an eventual 12.93 heat total to leave the field in a combination situation. The ratings leader showed great composure and rhythm to moved directly to Round 3 while Ho remained scoreless and will surf again in Round 2 alongside Bevilacqua.


“I just wanted to finish my wave and I wasn’t really thinking too much about the rocks,” said Moore. “I got a little close and the jet ski guy said ‘don’t hit that last section next time’ but I’m glad I’m okay. I’m working with local surfer Andrew Sheridan here and it definitely gives me confidence having him out in the channel.”

Tyler Wright


Tyler Wright (AUS) looked confident and at ease it the big surf, posting the second 9-point ride of Round 1 and the highest heat total of the women’s competition so far. Opponents Silvana Lima (BRA) and Laura Enever (AUS) were each left searching for two scores and will surf again in elimination Round 2 while Wright moves directly to Round 3.


“This is probably one of the first times that I’ve had any kind of strategy,” said Wright. “It was to look out for the rights but not to say no to a left either. It worked out for me. I wasn’t exactly comfortable out there but I was aware of how the ocean was moving.”

Reigning six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) took to the lineup against Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) and Sage Erickson (USA) and Gilmore stole the win, despite posting just one score in the 30-minute heat.


“The heat before ours had so many bomb sets so I was feeling a little bit freaked out and under gunned,” Gilmore said. “I watched Carissa (Moore) sitting way over in the channel and picking off good waves so I thought I’d do the same thing but I think I was a little too deep. I only got one wave and I was out of position. That was actually my first surf at Margarets since I’ve been here and it’s a pretty challenging wave out there.”


The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held from April 15 – 26, 2015. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com.


The world’s best surfing will also be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea Malaysia and other territories and the WSL’s new partner in Brazil, Globo TV.


Adriano de Souza

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 3 Results:

Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA) *Heat did not surf

Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.23 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 10.94

Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 15.20 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 6.10

Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.30 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.50

Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) 13.50 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.37

Heat 6: Jay Davies (AUS) 16.83 vs. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.90

Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.60 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 4.37

Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 7.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 6.77

Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.16 def. Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 15.04

Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.50 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.66

Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.33 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.50

Heat 12: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.50 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.03


Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 4 Match-ups:

Heat 1: Jeremy Florence (FRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), John John Florence (HAW)

Heat 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Nat Young (USA), Jay Davies (AUS)

Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS)

Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS), Owen Wright (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)


Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 1 Results:

Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.60, Johanne Defay (FRA) 8.57, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 5.00

Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.60, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 13.50, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 12.23

Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.93, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 5.60, Coco Ho (HAW) 0.00

Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 8.33, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 7.00, Sage Erickson (USA) 6.00

Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.74, Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.50, Laura Enever (AUS) 5.23

Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.54, Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.67, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 3.20


Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Round 2 Match-ups:

Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)

Heat 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)

Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)

Heat 5: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)

Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Dimity Stoyle (AUS)

Margies Pumps! v2


MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Thursday, April 16, 2015) – Action continued today at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). Competition ran through Men’s Round 2 at both The Box and Main Break and the world’s best battled incredible surf to avoid elimination and a 25th place finish. A day of wipeouts, upsets and outstanding performances unfolded as wildcard Jay Davies (AUS) eliminated Gabriel Medina (BRA), rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL) took down Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Owen Wright (AUS) delivered the wave of the day for a Perfect 10.

Owen Wright

Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) faced trials winner and dangerous local Jay Davies (AUS). Davies came out firing, posting a 6.67 for a deep barrel to take the lead. Medina was able to come back with a 6.67 of his own and edge the lead but the Australian answered back with an excellent 8.50 for deep pit, coming out with the foamball. Medina was left hunting the lineup but his wave in the final moments wasn’t enough and the World Champion is eliminated while the wildcard moves on to Round 3 where he will face Mick Fanning (AUS).

Jay Davies

“I’m feeling super stoked,” Davies said. “It’s a beautiful day in West Oz and I get to surf against some of my idols. I watched Gabriel (Medina) win the World Title last year and I was pumped to get the chance to surf against him at one of the best waves in the world. I get to surf here all the time so hopefully that will help me get through some more rounds. It’s so beautiful out there right now, we had shark cruise through the lineup which was a little sketchy, but it was only a baby one eating some fish. Thanks again to all my friends and family for all their support.”

Ricardo Christie

Rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL) secured his first CT heat win today defeating in-form surfer Filipe Toledo (BRA) in challenging conditions. The lead went back and forth between the pair through the 30-minute bout. Christie took the top spot with five minutes remaining thanks to a 13.26 heat total. In the dying seconds Toledo answered back needing a 5.67 but didn’t get the score and is eliminated from competition, leaving the rookie to take the heat win and a place in Round 3.

“I feel like I’ve just won the competition,” said Christie. “It’s been a tough start to the year for me and it’s pretty sick to have an event out here in waves like this. It’s great to beat Filipe (Toledo) there’s been a lot going his way this year and it’s been going the opposite for me. I would have been spewing if they gave him the score on that last one, it was a pretty small wave. I had a bit of trouble yesterday and I got pumped. I didn’t know where to sit but I’ve kind of figured it out a bit more today. I watched John John (Florence) and Josh Kerr this morning taking off and thought that’s what I have to do.”

“I missed one or two waves on the set before,” Toledo said. “The last wave was too small, which is why I don’t think I got the score. I’m really happy though, it’s my birthday today so I’m relaxing and getting ready for the next event at Lower Trestles and then I go to Brazil.”

The performance of the day came from a stacked heat between Owen Wright (AUS) and Dusty Payne (HAW) in Round 2 today. Wright posted the first big score on his backhand, an 8.50, and the Hawaiian came back with an 8.40, putting him back in contention. Wright stamped his authority on the heat with a Perfect 10 for the biggest wave of the day and a huge, deep barrel.

“I’ve never surfed out here before and this was my first time in the lineup,” said Wright. “The set came so I just went. After my ten I remember going, ‘give me more’. I just love it and I love waves like this. When that wave came through I managed to get in the right spot and it let me in perfectly, the wave did the rest from there.”

Adriano De Souza

An all Brazilian match-up between Adriano de Souza (BRA) and wildcard Alejo Muniz (BRA) got off to a slow start. De Souza opening his account by taking a free-fall drop over the ledge, putting everything on the line, and was spat out at the end. His total commitment was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.80. Despite a 7.50 for Muniz he wasn’t able to overcome his opponent and is eliminated from the competition.

“I tried to be as deep as I could on that 9.80,” said De Souza. “I had to be smart the whole time and when that wave popped up I was in the right place at the right time. I’m so happy to make that thing, it was gnarly and the wave was three-times overhead. I put things on the line and I made the barrel. I’m not completely happy because I was competing against a friend and Alejo came so far to compete at this event and do his best and I would have like to see him do well.”
Local favorite and former finalist at Margaret River Taj Burrow (AUS) defeated Brett Simpson (USA) to advance through to Round 3. Despite a broken board Burrow’s 13.67 heat total was enough to secure the win and the American is eliminated in equal 25th place.

“There’s some pretty wild waves out there today,” Burrow said. “I got a medium one, perhaps a wave I wouldn’t normally take in a free surf, I was pumping through it pretty deep and hit bump and my board broke straight away. It’s a pretty good day out here, but in a heat you can’t be as selective and you just have to go.”

The excellent conditions look set to continue and Surfline, official forecaster for the WSL, are calling for:

Very solid SW groundswell will continue on Thursday, easing through Friday. Another exceptionally strong SSW groundswell is on track for Saturday, and could be even larger than the surf for Wed/Thur. Sunday will see dropping surf, with a further drop in surf on Monday. Morning wind conditions look favorable for the next few days, with some periods of side or onshore flow in the afternoons. Going further out, another strong SW swell looks possible around Wednesday the 22nd. 

The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held from April 15 – 26, 2015. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com.

The world’s best surfing will also be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea Malaysia and other territories and the WSL’s new partner in Brazil, Globo TV.

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 2 Results:

Heat 1: Jay Davies (AUS) 15.17 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 7.67

Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.90 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 11.33

Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.33 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4.83

Heat 4: Ricardo Christie (NZL) 13.26 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.07

Heat 5: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.67 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 7.17

Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.50 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.90

Heat 7: Nat Young (USA) 11.50 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 2.43

Heat 8: Glenn Hall (IRL) 5.44 vs. Kolohe Andino (USA) 4.90

Heat 9: Adam Melling (AUS) 7.53 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5.47

Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.26 vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 11.66

Heat 11: Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.83 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 7.17

Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 16.83 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.07


Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 3 Match-ups:

Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)

Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)

Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)

Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)

Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)

Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Jay Davies (AUS)

Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) va. Ricardo Christie (NZL)

Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)

Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW)

Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)

Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)

Heat 12: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)

Margies Pumps

Kelly Slater

Mama Nature has a sense of humour. This much we know. With much bagging of the WSL going on after not exactly pumping surf the first two events the Margaret River event has opened with a day of mental waves… Here’s the official version:


MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Wednesday, April 15, 2015) – The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), got underway today and the opening 7 heats of Men’s Round 1 saw the world’s best surfers tackling one of the world’s most challenging and infamous waves, The Box. After a morning of incredible action and terrifying wipeouts competition continued at Margaret River’s Main Break with the remaining heats of Round 1.

John John Florence (HAW), who won the Margaret River Qualifying Series event in 2012, opened the day’s competition with a 7.83 for his first wave. Florence threw himself over the ledge and demonstrated his skill and commitment to take a convincing Round 1 heat win. Despite some big wipeouts Florence maintained his charging attitude to secure his place in Round 3, easily defeating Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and Dusty Payne (HAW).

“When we got down here this morning we saw some really good waves,” said Florence. “There’s an end step, which makes it really challenging. It’s hard to pick the right waves and it’s really gnarly if you don’t. It’s definitely scary but I’m so stoked because it’s fun to surf some clean, bigger waves and amazing to get barrelled at The Box.”

John John Florence

Fellow Hawaiian Sebastian Zietz (HAW) found one of the morning’s best barrel rides, scoring an excellent 9.23 (out of a possible 10) and defeating Adriano de Souza (BRA) and C.J. Hobgood (USA) to earn a pass directly to Round 3.

“Adriano (de Souza) got off to a great start — I saw his first wave and it was mental,” Zietz said. “I just kept catching waves, you never know what’s going to come your way out there. Then that one came my way, I just stood tall in the first section and then I thought I was gone and I somehow made it.”

Adriano de Souza

Kelly Slater (USA), the 11-time World Champion, won his heat comfortably by charging fearlessly on multiple waves. Despite relatively low scores, with just a 4.50 and a 3.70 (each out of a possible 10), Slater delivered some amazing surfing in waves of consequence, putting himself on the line. Slater defeated Kai Otton (AUS) and rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL) who will surf again in elimination Round 2.

“It’s fun and exciting out here today,” Slater said. “I didn’t come out for an early surf and when John John (Florence) came in after his heat he said it was gnarly so I was excited. I fell on those two waves and if I watch the highlights I’m going to watch the ones I fell on, those were insane.”

Three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) took to the water wearing the Jeep leader jersey following his win last week at Bells Beach and survived a tough heat against dangerous local surfer and trials winner Jay Davies (AUS) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS). Fanning opened early with an excellent 8.63 to control the heat and Davies challenged with a 7.50. Left needing a 6.50 to take the lead Davies couldn’t find the score and will face Gabriel Medina (BRA) in a highly-anticipated Round 2 match-up while Fanning moves through to Round 3. Medina lost his Round 1 heat earlier in the day to Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW).

“If you think it’s good you just have to take off and hold on,” Fanning said. “It was pretty wild and it’s big and ugly out there, it’s radical but fun. I took a wave that I thought was going to be a good one but it just crumbled and I hit a boil and creased the board so I changed it out.”


Josh Kerr (AUS), 2014 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro runner-up, took one of the most impressive wipeouts of the day, demonstrating just how hard this wave is to ride. Over shallow reef Kerr was launched head first off his board inside the barrel and luckily wasn’t hurt. Shaken but uninjured Kerr wasn’t able to fully recover and placed second in the heat, which see’s him relegated to surf again in elimination Round 2. Fellow Australian Adrian Buchan (AUS) won the heat thanks to an outstanding 9.53 ride, the highest single-wave score of Round 1, and the performance of the day.

“It was dangerous out there!” Buchan said. “That one let me in behind the section, ironically the deeper you are, the safer you are a lot of the time. There was a lot of lumps and bumps and I slipped sideways but somehow managed to hang on. I had one really big set that I had to bail my board on and luckily there wasn’t a wave behind because I was in a really bad position. The fans want to see us in those gnarly waves and that’s what we do.”

“The worst wipeout for me was actually the first one, rather than the one I scorpioned on,” said Kerr. “I fell and I was held down for a while so I was pretty out of breath for the rest of the heat. I tried to get nice and deep but I didn’t handle the second section, went down and landed straight on the reef.”

 After a short break action continued at Margaret River’s Main Break with the remaining five heats of Round 1 where Miguel Pupo (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF) and Julian Wilson (AUS) won through their match-ups to earn a pass directly to Round 3.

Flores took out local favorite Taj Burrow (AUS) and Bede Durbidge (AUS) with a solid 15.00 heat total. With three Pipe Masters out in the lineup competition was fierce but an excellent 8.50 for Flores secured his victory and a place in Round 3.

“I’m just trying to have fun and enjoy everything,” said Flores. “Conditions this year have been tough but this is pretty crazy. I knew it was going to be a tough heat out here today but I’m happy with my performance. I haven’t surfed on big boards since Hawaii so it definitely felt weird but good. We don’t get to surf big waves too often so this is great. I feel comfortable even though it’s really tough.”

Parkinson looked in-form today in his heat against Adam Melling (AUS) and Kolohe Andino (USA). The 2012 World Champion locked in the day’s highest two-wave heat total, a 15.73 out of a possible 20, to secure the win and a place in Round 3.

“I got out there and I was excited to see some size and some swell,” said Parkinson. “I felt happy and relaxed and when I feel like that I seem to do my best surfing. I hope we get to surf at The Box again, it will be amazing.”

Defending event winner Bourez also won through his Round 1 bout, claiming his first heat win of the year, narrowly defeating Nat Young (USA), who will now have to surf again in Round 2 along with rookie Italo Ferriera (BRA).

“I had such a bad start to the year and that was the first heat I’ve made,” said Bourez. “The conditions here are better for me – big, wild and bumpy – so I’m in my element. I like to surf here a lot.”

Alejo Muniz, Fred Patacchia & Gabriel Medina

The excellent conditions look set to continue and Surfline, official forecaster for the WSL, are calling for:

Very solid SW groundswell will continue on Thursday, easing through Friday. Another exceptionally strong SSW groundswell is on track for Saturday, and could be even larger than the surf for Wed/Thur. Sunday will see dropping surf, with a further drop in surf on Monday. Morning wind conditions look favorable for the next few days, with some periods of side or onshore flow in the afternoons. Going further out, another strong SW swell looks possible around Wednesday the 22nd.

The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will be held from April 15 – 26, 2015. Watch the unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing live at WorldSurfLeague.com.

The world’s best surfing will also be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea Malaysia and other territories and the WSL’s new partner in Brazil, Globo TV.

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 1 Results:

Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 13.00, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 4.46, Dusty Payne (HAW) 2.60

Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.73, Jadson Andre (BRA) 3.40, Brett Simpson (USA) 0.50

Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 8.20, Kai Otton (AUS) 3.33, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 3.27

Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.23, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.50, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 4.40

Heat 5: Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 4.30, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 3.96, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 3.27

Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.00, Jay Davies (AUS) 10.27, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 3.34

Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.74, Josh Kerr (AUS) 8.73, Keanu Asing (HAW) 3.33

Heat 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.43, Glenn Hall (IRL) 10.50, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.36

Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.00, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.53, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 8.33

Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.73, Adam Melling (AUS) 8.24, Kolohe Andino (USA) 5.00

Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.76, Nat Young (USA) 14.70, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 9.93

Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.60, Matt Banting (AUS) 8.30, Owen Wright (AUS) 6.80
Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Round 2 Match-ups:

Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Jay Davies (AUS)

Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)

Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. C.J. Hobgood (USA)

Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)

Heat 5: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)

Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)

Heat 7: Nat Young (USA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)

Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)

Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)

Heat 10: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)

Heat 11: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)

Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)

The League Of Not-So-Gentlemen … Fireworks On The WSL

Glenn Hall


The Quiksilver Pro blew up last night.

Medina vented his frustration at the comp organiser, and after getting into a bit of a battle with Glenn Hall, recounted the ‘F-Bomb’ Glenn had allegedly thrown at him and was in the midst of telling Peter Mel that he would “Teach him …” a few words … when he was cut off. Then Freddy P rode his board up a rock into a rail grind and Josh Kerr not to be outdone thew a tantrum and punched his board like it was a Top Gear producer.

It has been quite funny reading the outrage, the indignant comment and some of the reporting that has gone on surrounding #Medinagate and #FreddiesRock.
Just to weigh in with our tuppence worth and put it on the record. We LOVED it all. The reason? It showed the surfers care. It showed their passion and it shows the comp and the tour means something. Something that money can’t buy and the threat of sanctions can’t quell. Desire, emotion and commitment are all on show. Dreams and hopes are on the line, online and there for all to see. It is great sport!

What we don’t love so much is that some areas of the surfing press seem to have turned into pink rinsed Daily Mail readers and are expressing moral outrage at most the above.

In criticising the commish, KP, Medina was a bit harsh, but let’s face it it’s nothing any comp organiser hasn’t heard when conditions don’t play ball. Slap on the wrist naughty world champion! But what has really seemingly shocked everyone though was Medina’s use of the F-Bomb. A word, hardly ever heard on Australian beaches … Errrrrrm … was uttered as Gabriel recounted what Glenn had said after the interference call. Unusually in this kind of situation the clip, now viral, and Medina’s intended statement was’t made better by Peter Mel pulling the mic away as the full sentence and context was lost. “If Glenn tells me to fuck off again I will teach him…”

In the background you can hear Gabe’s true intention if you listen closely which we interpreted as “…bad words in Portuguese.” A little juicy for minors but hardly #thuglife. You’d think. But no the Aussie press, never happy with Brazilian winners, have blown it up into a proper fracas, which it never was. Heated in battle, yes, but no punches over a star dinner. Annoyed apres heat interview, yes, call out: definitely not. And an F-Bomb live, yes, but not used in anger. In fact it could have been quite a funny retort if left to run, yet the headlines are now screaming Medina calls out Hall, and demanding action … Really? Teaching Micro to swear at him in his native language shows wit and a sense of fun.

Since then the WSL have tweeted pics of Glenn and Medina joking in the competitor area. KP has issued a statement saying Medina’s actions were unfitting and would be reviewed. Hopefully it will settled over a cup of tea and a nice cup cake. Glenn’s quoted as saying, “It was a good heat. The end result was a bit wild with the interference but he was way too close to me for me to be able to get a clean take off. I really like Gabriel and I was legitimately stoked for him last year. He’s passionate in the water and a legend out of the water. We did have words out in the water but it’s nothing personal.” See. No biggy.

@wsl #itsON

A video posted by themadhueys (@themadhueys) on

The #FreddiesRock incident has had me laughing for about three hours now. Poor fella had an atrocious heat and thus decided to end it by bouncing his way through the whitewater and onto a rock on the inside. He then ended up running about twenty minutes up the beach to vent his anger away from cameras and thus avoid fines.

In my mind this guy is a bona fide legend! Not only does he care, he wears his heart on his sleeve, and when shit (apologies for the gratuitous swear!) goes down he is one of the most creative and entertaining surfers on tour. I mean who else would have had the insight to grind the rock on the inside? It is surf rage genius! Probably one of the funniest moments in world professional surfing. Not only that Sir P has also set up comp where best photo on “Freddie’s Rock” will win his board. I’m putting him back in my FS team and he will stay there until retirement.

The third incident involved normally happy-go-lucky Mr Josh Kerr punching his board as he came in. I’ve never been massive fan of board punching. There was an outbreak of it in the late eighties as it it became the thing to do. Just seems a bit crass. Punch yourself in the head by all means.

Anyway to the point in hand which is this. Most of the ‘names’ have gone apart from Mick, and the surf has been pretty terrible, but we are all talking about the WSL so the undeniable elephant the room is this: we don’t want grey media savvy surfers who constantly pander to the corporate line. We want passion, we want opinion, we want talking points, and we want surfers being surfers not machines. Be human. Be real. Show the fire.

How boring would it be if everyone came out of a heat as a loser eloquently and submissively accepting defeat. The answer is ‘very’. At its peak elite competition in any sport is one step down from war. It’s about the battle. And for every great sporting winner there has been an outstanding, and often outspoken adversary. There are heroes, there are villains, there are gifted mercurial talents, and there are entertainers. Sure there are spanners in the works for organisations, sponsors and live TV hosts, but life would be pretty dull without the occasional talking point or disagreement. Winners and sport need that spark. Don’t beat it out of them…

Words: Steve England. Photos: WSL


Official press release below:

COOLANGATTA, Queensland/Australia (Thursday, March 12, 2015) Competition continued today at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by BOQ with an action packed day at Snapper Rocks. The Quarterfinalists are set after the opening stop on this year’s Championship Tour (CT) ran through Rounds 3, 4 and 5. The day saw its share of upsets with Gabriel Medina (BRA), Kelly Slater (USA), John John Florence (HAW) and Joel Parkinson (AUS) all being eliminated from competition in Round 3 at the hands of their lower-seeded opponents.

Three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) looked strong throughout the day, first facing Dusty Payne (HAW) in Round 3 where he used his trademark carves to claim a nine-point ride and the top spot. Next he went on to win through Round 4 in a stacked heat against Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Bede Durbidge (AUS) for a place in the Quarterfinals. Beautiful rail work from De Souza almost sent the Australian to Round 5 after the pair tied the heat with 16.50 each, but victory went to Fanning for the highest single-wave score.

“Once you get to these final rounds everyone is ripping,“ said Fanning. “I had a look at the draw last night and thought there was a lot of heats that I didn’t know which way they would go. Everyone on this Tour has the ability to win this event, it’s whoever gets the waves.”

Fanning will face De Souza again in the Quarterfinals, after the Brazilian moved on to dispatch Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in a close Round 5 match-up with a passionate and energetic performance. Wilkinson previously delivered one of the day’s upsets in Round 3, and looked in blistering form as he defeated John John Florence (HAW), eliminating him from the competition.

Filipe Toledo (BRA) was another of the day’s standout performers. He started strong in his highly anticipated Round 3 bout against Kolohe Andino (USA), opening his account with a near-perfect 9.57 and holding the American off with an 8.93 and the day’s highest heat total, 18.50. The progressive Brazilian continued to shine in Round 4 where another nine-point ride helped him dispatch Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Wilkinson to move through to the Quarterfinals where he will face Durbidge.

“I love to surf rights and I’ve been really confident and comfortable,” Toledo said. “The long wait was good for my mind and to figure out my boards. I’ll just keep going and having fun, doing what I loved to do, I’m super stoked. I think this year is going to be a great year for Brazil and for the younger guys on tour.”

Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) is out of the competition after being defeated by Glenn Hall (IRL) in Round 3. Hall put the pressure on from the start, holding the lead with five minutes remaining to leave the champion searching for a 6.73 to turn the heat. Medina went for a wave under Hall’s priority causing an interference and losing his second score, ending his chances of making it through to the next round. Medina leaves in equal 13th place.

“It’s great to beat Gabriel,” said Hall. “It was a good heat. The end result was a bit wild with the interference but he was way too close to me for me to be able to get a clean take off. I really like Gabriel and I was legitimately stoked for him last year. He’s passionate in the water and a legend out of the water. We did have words out in the water but it’s nothing personal.”

Brazilian rookies Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) also dealt out big upsets in Round 3 today. Ferreira eliminated 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) while Dantas took down Joel Parkinson (AUS).

Ferreira built on his momentum from Round 2, where he defeated CT veteran Adrian Buchan (AUS), and held the edge over Slater through their heat, completing an explosive rotation for a 7.17. Despite a board change, Slater couldn’t find the waves or the excellent score required to avoid defeat and leaves the first event of the season in 13th place.

“I’m super stoked to make another heat,” Ferreira said. “Kelly is an inspiration for me and he’s a legend. I got a good couple of waves and some good maneuvers so I’m really pleased.”

“I saw fun waves from the beach before I went out there but I couldn’t find them,” said Slater. “I missed one that might have been okay but in hindsight there’s not a whole lot more I could have done. The first year I won the title I came in 31st place in the first event so I’m not too worried. This is just one event and we throw a couple of results away, but even so it’s not good to get off to a start like this.”

Ferreira made it through to Round 5 where he was eventually defeated by two-time Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner Taj Burrow (AUS), who takes his place in the Quarterfinals where he will face Julian Wilson (AUS).

“The rookies are all on fire, they came out so strong,” said Burrow. “I didn’t take Italo lightly at all and I knew he’d be tough. I tried to be really selective and it was a close heat. I’m hoping for a few more feet on the swell tomorrow.”

Dantas held the lead over Parkinson with a 7.67 and a 5.50 for his aggressive backhand attack, while the 2012 World Champion was left with just a 3.83 on the board. The local favorite looked out of rhythm while Dantas maintained his composure through the heat against his more experienced opponent, securing his win with an 8.10. This is Parkinson’s worst ever result the Quiksilver Pro, taking home an equal 13th place finish.

“I’m just wanted to surf good today,” said Dantas. “I surfed against Parko who knows this bank and has been surfing here his whole life so I was looking for the bigger waves. I have my confidence from yesterday and I’m feeling good.”

“I had no rhythm and no oppportunity, but that’s just the way it went,” said Parkinson. “I haven’t thought about the next event yet. I think it will be the luckiest surfer here that will win.”

Dantas went on to claim his place in the Quarterfinals after defeating Hall in Round 5 thanks to a 9.17 for a series of powerful maneuvers to leave his opponent in a combination situation. He will face compatriot Miguel Pupo (BRA) in the Quarterfinals tomorrow.

The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast is webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.

The world’s best surfing is also broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea, Malaysia and other territories and the WSL’s new partner in Brazil, Globo TV.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Results (1st to R4, 2nd = 13th):

Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.00 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 8.77

Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.67 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.20

Heat 3: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 15.77 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 9.93

Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.60 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.90

Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.43 def. Nat Young (USA) 8.94

Heat 6: Glenn Hall (IRL) 14.23 vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 7.50

Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.56 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 15.00

Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.90 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 14.44

Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.76 def. Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 1.13

Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.67 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 13.90

Heat 11: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.50 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.74

Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.83 def. John John Florence (HAW) 16.13


Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 4 Results (1st to QF, 2nd & 3rd to R5):

Heat 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 17.23, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.47, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.37

Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.37, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.13, Glenn Hall (IRL) 10.50

Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.50, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.50, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.50

Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.83, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.57, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.23


Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 5 Results (1st to QF, 2nd=9th):

Heat 1: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 17.34 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 13.33

Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.73 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.50

Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.94 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.07

Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.83 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.83


Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Match-Ups (1st to SF, 2nd=5th):

QF 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)

QF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Taj Burrow (AUS)

QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)

QF 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)