Owen Wright takes Tahiti.

Owen Wright takes Tahiti.

Owen Wright. Kelly Cestari/WSL

Last night (UK time that is), Owen Wright (AUS) won the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley Stop No. 7 of 11 on the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT), in six-to-eight foot (2 – 2.5 metre) waves at the world-famous Teahupo’o reef pass. The rematch of the 2018 Tahiti Pro Final with Gabriel Medina (BRA) was one for the books with some of the best conditions since 2014.

Owen Wright. Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Owen Wright (AUS) claimed his first event win in Tahiti after defeating Gabriel Medina (BRA), the two-time WSL Champion and defending Tahiti Pro winner. This is Wright’s first CT victory since the 2017 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast when the Australian inspired the world with his incredible comeback from a traumatic brain injury he suffered at Pipeline in 2015.

“I can’t be happier,” said Wright. “Gabby (Medina) was always going to be the toughest matchup and I had no priority and I snuck into those few on the inside. I tried to get as deep as possible and still make it. I teared up out there when the hooter went. I’ve been working hard and I am stoked to win.”

In a rematch of last year’s Tahiti Pro Final, goofyfoots Wright and Medina battled once again at Teahupo’o but this time in heavy barrels. After a slow start, the heat turned into a barrel shoot-out at the twenty-minute mark and saw both surfers go wave for wave. Medina broke away with a 7.83 (out of a possible 10) and backed it up with a second 7-point ride, but Wright fought back with his own 7.73, only needing a 7.21 to win with eight minutes left. Under priority, Wright scored a near-perfect 9.17 to steal the title from Medina.

“I said I really wanted Gabby in the Final just to have that rematch and it was such a special time last year,” continued Wright. “The waves were just so perfect and to share that with a great mate was really special. When you come out here and in your first heat you get a 10, it makes things feel like things are coming. I haven’t won since Snapper and it has been so long. I won so early back then in my recovery and it has been so up-and-down and it has finally felt up and up and up in the last few months. I’ve tried to win this event a lot of times and it is amazing to finally get that today.”

Gabriel Medina. Photo Kelly Cestari/WSL

Medina was not able to defend his title in Tahiti but still has the opportunity to defend his win at the Freshwater Pro pres. by Outerknown, the next stop on the WSL Championship Tour. The second-place finish vaults him up to fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard and another step closer to a third World Title.

“Owen (Wright) really deserved that one,” said Medina. “He started the day off with a 10-point ride and when someone starts like that, I think you feel like it is going to go your way. I am happy for him and stoked to be in the Final against him again. Last year it was me and today he got me. I love to compete against him, he is one of the best so it was good to get second to Owen.”

“I have to enjoy the momentum,” continued Medina. “It is hard to get the rhythm but now I feel like I am there. The win in J-Bay felt good and I think that will help me at the end of the year. Now I am just thinking about the wave pool. I cannot wait. I just want to thank God for the opportunity to have another Final with my great friend. This contest was unbelievable.”

Seth Moniz. Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Rookie Seth Moniz (HAW) captured his career-best performance today after making the Semifinals. Although the 22-year-old fell to runner-up Medina, he showcased his talents in heavy-water conditions in his freshman year on the elite CT. Moniz eliminated injury replacement Caio Ibelli (BRA), who sat right on the requalification cut-line before this event. Ibelli now moves up to 18th on the Jeep Leaderboard and betters his chances of qualifying for the 2020 CT next season after falling short last year.

Jordy Smith. Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Jordy Smith (ZAF) lost to Wright in the Semifinals. Earlier today Smith dispatched 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) to claim a third-place result, which moves him up to World No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard. The earlier eliminations of Top 5 competitors Kolohe Andino (USA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) opened the door for Smith to strengthen his World Title campaign.

The next stop on the 2019 WSL Championship Tour will be the Freshwater Pro presented by Outerknown at Surf Ranch Lemoore from September 19 – 21, 2019.

Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Final Results:
1 – Owen Wright (AUS) 17.07
2 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.93

Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Quarterfinal Results:
SF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.67 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.66
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.16 def. Seth Moniz (HAW) 7.43

Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 19.07 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 16.67
QF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.06 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.67
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.77 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 2.50
QF 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) 15.60 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.83

Current WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 10 (after Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley)
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 36,600 pts
Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,450 pts
Kolohe Andino (USA) 35,175 pts
Gabriel Medina (BRA) 34,695
John John Florence (HAW) 32,690 pts
Italo Ferreira (BRA) 31,280 pts
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 30,780 pts
Owen Wright (AUS) 27,365 pts
Seth Moniz (HAW) 22,885 pts
Kelly Slater (USA) 22,385 pts

Tahiti pumps for the World Surf League crew.

Tahiti pumps for the World Surf League crew.

Michel Bourez. Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

The Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley the seventh stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT), has seen a groundbreaking day of competition take place in heaving, six-to-ten foot (2 – 3.5 meter) barrels at one of the world’s heaviest waves, Teahupo’o. The excitement of the massive and dangerous surf was only elevated by the shakeup on the 2019 Jeep Leaderboard with some of the biggest World Title threats bowing out of the event early while a new crop of hopefuls progressed into the Quarterfinals.

Tahiti Pro 27/8. Highlights from a heavy day

All the action from the Teahupo'o channel. Results and report here: https://www.carvemag.com/2019/08/tahiti-pumps-for-the-world-surf-league-crew/

Posted by CARVE Surfing Magazine on Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Medina Stamps Authority At Teahupo’o — Steps Into Title Contention

Reigning two-time WSL Champion and reigning Tahiti event winner Gabriel Medina (BRA) came into stop seven on this years CT sitting in seventh spot on the rankings. Fresh off a win at the recent Corona Open J-Bay event, the exciting young goofy-footer prepared for his heat by watching every surfer who sits above him on the rankings fall out of the draw. Brimming with confidence, Medina went on to take out his Round of 32 heat over Ezekiel Lau (HAW) but left his best performance, and that of the contest, for his Round of 16 wins where he posted a near-perfect heat total of 19.23 from only two waves. This score included a perfect 10.00 point ride, the first of the 2019 men’s season. Medina will now take on Jeremy Flores (FRA) in Quarterfinal 3 as he looks to well and truly place himself in the World Title conversation.

“That was a nice heat,” Medina said. “I just feel blessed to share waves like that with Griffin (Colapinto) and it felt so good to get a nine and a ten. I’ve been waiting for this moment for the first half of the year — I love this contest, especially when the waves are like this — this is is what I live for, going left and getting barrelled. I think tomorrow will be another good day. I am up against Jeremy (Flores) who is one of the best out here so it will be tough. We should have more good waves like this so I hope we can both enjoy it — I’m excited and looking forward to getting a good result here, it’s really important.”

2015 World Champion Adriano de Souza Finds Form

2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) has only recently returned to competition after a year off with a career-threatening knee injury. The tour veteran has struggled to find the form and consistency he is known for in 2019, but today in seriously critical surf, de Souza put to bed any question that he’s past his best, taking down countryman Italo Ferreira (BRA) in one of the heats of the year with de Souza’s 17.87 two-wave total to much for Ferreira’s 16.83. He then booked himself a spot in the Quarterfinal with a dominant win over Frenchman Joan Duru (FRA) with another excellent heat total, this time 17.50.

World Title Race Sent Into Spin With Top 5 dealt 17th and 13th Place Finishes

Current Jeep Rankings Leader Kolohe Andino (USA) took a blow to his tilt at the World Title, going down to 17-year-old Tahitian wildcard Kauli Vaast (FRA). Andino controlled the heat in its entirety until the final minutes when the local youngster swung on an inside slab and pulled in to take the lead and the win. Vaast was eventually eliminated by his hero and friend Jeremy Flores (FRA), while Andino leaves Tahiti with his equal worst result of the season. Similarly, Italo Ferreira (BRA) equalled his worst result for the year and will now hang onto a 17th in his finish.

2019 season standout Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) was dealt his worst result of the year, going down to in form Jadson Andre (BRA). Whilst Igarashi finishes the event in equal 17th, Andre put on some of the best performances of his career to move into the Quarterfinals and guarantee his best finish of the 2019 CT season. Fellow Brasilian Filipe Toledo (BRA) put on one of his best Teahupo’o performances to move into the Round of 16 but was then eliminated by 2019 Rookie Seth Moniz (HAW) in equal 13th which was still enough to see him move past Kolohe Andino into the top spot on the rankings. This, of course, could change once a winner has been crowned tomorrow.

As the top 5 stumbled and an injured John John Florence (HAW) continues to recover from knee surgery 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) had a massive opportunity to boost up the rankings at one of his pet events in flawless barrels — his speciality. Unfortunately for the 47-year-old Floridian, his event came to an end at the hands of an in-form Jack Freestone (AUS), dashing Slater of the chance to record a sixth event win in Tahiti.

“I’m upset but that’s just how it goes,” Slater said. “Last time I surfed against Jack it was big like this at Margaret River and I kind of ‘frothed out’ and caught lots of waves while he was smart and got the better ones. I had my chance twice but it just didn’t go my way. I think this result will take me out of the picture as there aren’t enough points out there to get me in the hunt for the World Title come Pipeline but stranger things have happened. There has been a lot of upsets today but it will be tough for me now for the rest of this year — especially after that heat.”

With fellow Aussies and top 10 surfers Julian Wilson and Ryan Callinan falling out of the draw, tube specialist Owen Wright (AUS) has a big chance to move into the top 10 and well into Olympic qualification for 2020. Wright’s trademark poise in the tube earned him an 18.50 heat total and a spot into the Quarterfinals while his opponent and local favorite Michel Bourez (FRA) was narrowly pipped at the post.

“That was a very special heat to have Michel (Bourez) here in Tahiti and go wave for wave with him the entire time — it felt like a special heat going down” “I was up at 3:00 am this morning just thinking about what today would bring so I’m sure I’ll struggle tonight to sleep after an amazing day. This place is so beautiful and gives us so much good energy especially when we’ve got waves like this.”

Another quarterfinalist that will benefit from the top 10 carnage today is South African Jordy Smith (ZAF) who is poised for a run at his maiden title with a solid result in Tahiti. Smith made it past Ricardo Christie (NZL) and former event winner Julian Wilson on his way to a Quarterfinal matchup with Adriano de Souza.

“I’m sure it’s tough for those top guys to go down,” “I don’t want to think about them too much, I just need to do my thing and focus on my surfing. That win was a tough one, Julian is a past winner out here and is one of the best so it was never going to be easy. I just need to cruise and focus on tomorrow.”

Caio Ibelli (BRA), 2019 CT Rookie Seth Moniz (HAW), former event winner Jeremy Flores (FRA) and CT comeback kid Jadson Andre (BRA) all displayed brilliance in the challenging conditions to progress into the Quarterfinals which will run tomorrow as we look to crown our 2019 event winner at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley.

WSL Heritage Heat for Hobgood Showdown Sees Twin Damien Take The Win

For the first time, Former Championship Tour standouts C.J. Hobgood (USA), 2001 World Champion, and Damien Hobgood (USA), 2007 Tahiti Pro winner, faced each other at Teahupo’o, a spot each has dominated over the years, for the first time. In classic Tahitian conditions, the brother’s went toe-to-toe in maxing waves at Teahupo’o. Damien’s strong performance proved victorious, but the world’s best surfers were enthusiastic about seeing the iconic twin brothers battle one another in some of the most critical waves on the planet.

Pro Surfers Team Up with Coral Gardners to Restore Nearby Reefs

For the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, WSL collaborated with ‘Glowing Glowing Gone’, a global campaign advocating for greater funding and action for coral reef conservation by highlighting the global danger signaled by fluorescing corals. The collaboration features a complete takeover of the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley event branding to incorporate the exact colors of fluorescing corals, in addition to WSL’s support of Coral Gardeners, a youth-led non-profit organization that is actively restoring coral reefs in the area.

To learn more about how to get involved with Glowing Glowing Gone and the Coral Gardeners, please visit WSLPURE.org.

Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Round of 32 Results:
HEAT 1: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.16 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 9.00
HEAT 2: Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.10 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.34
HEAT 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.73 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 12.36
HEAT 4: Michel Bourez (FRA) 11.60 DEF. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.23
HEAT 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17.87 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.83
HEAT 6: Joan Duru (FRA) 14.67 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 1.43
HEAT 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.20 DEF. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 7.74
HEAT 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.57 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 5.27
HEAT 9: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 14.50 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.16
HEAT 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.27 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.74
HEAT 11: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 18.10 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.07
HEAT 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.03 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.00
HEAT 13: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.00 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.07
HEAT 14: Seth Moniz (HAW) 14.67 DEF. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 9.66
HEAT 15: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 17.73 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 16.96
HEAT 16: Jack Freestone (AUS) 17.17 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 14.20

Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Round of 16 Results
HEAT 1: Jadson Andre (BRA) 18.23 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.84
HEAT 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 18.50 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 18.10
HEAT 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17.50 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 9.27
HEAT 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.54 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.83
HEAT 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.76 DEF. Kauli Vaast (FRA) 13.66
HEAT 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.23 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.43
HEAT 7: Seth Moniz (HAW) 16.40 DEF. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.17
HEAT 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 18.64 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 15.83

Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Quarterfinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
HEAT 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
HEAT 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
HEAT 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)

Adrian Buchan. Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Ricardo Christie. Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Conner Coffin. Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Griffin Colapinto. Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Joan Duru of Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Jeremy Flores. Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Teahupo’o. Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL



Boardmasters champions decided…

Boardmasters champions decided…

It’s been a week like no other in the decades long history of Boardmasters.

There have been storms, there have been cancellations, there’s been some really gross weather but we’ve never had the festival cancelled literally hours after the crew put the final cherry on the Watergate site.
An agonising decision to take from all involved considering the hundreds of hours of work put in from scores of people.
The storm that was forecast lived up to expectations, as nice as the weather was Wednesday and Thursday, Friday and Saturday were grim. Winds peaked at 55mph at the festival site. Events across the UK were cancelled or disrupted. There would’ve been carnage if they’d not cancelled.
I can’t recall a UK surf comp ever not going ahead because the beach was red-flagged and the conditions considered too dangerous as they were on Saturday. And never seen conditions go from mirror flat to pushing eight foot in a day like they did Friday. I’ve also never seen a competitor swept into the devil’s teeth of rocks at North Fistral by a freakish ocean sweep and need RNLI jetski assist. Or a comp be hit by a power cut that took out the judging computers while the competitors dodged close out sets.

It was a battle but we got through it. Congrats to all the winners and competitors for putting on a hell of a show in often tricky conditions. Thanks to Dave Reed for helming the comp, the WSL, Christian Surfers, event staff, Barters and Sam Lam in the commentary booth, judges and everyone else for gritting their teeth and getting through it. There was some great surfing, some great dramatic heats, and the kind of English summer weather where you need full waterproofs with some suncream in the pocket.

Roll on Boardmasters 2020, the weather will be perfectly calm, sunny, and the surf’s going to pump. You read it here first…

More photos at bottom of post…


FISTRAL BEACH, Cornwall – England (Sunday, August 11, 2019) — Boardmasters surfing events culminated today in good three-to-four foot surf at Fistral with the completion of all four events, crowning winners in short and longboard divisions, men and women.

Alice Lemoigne (FRA) and Natsumi Taoka (JPN) paddled out for the first Final in the Boardmasters Longboard Pro and for the first 17 minutes, it was an-all Japanese show of form with Taoka multiplying good waves to build a healthy lead. The 4-time European title winner Lemoigne struggled at first in an unusual manner but dropped the hammer with 8 minutes remaining as she rode a clean wave all the way to the beach with beautiful nose rides for an excellent 8.50 and eventually the win.

“There were little ripples on the face of the wave that made it really tricky to ride in that Final heat,” Lemoigne said. “But then I found a good one and I calmed down and focused on finding a backup. I’m stoked to solidify my first place in the rankings and hope I can seal the deal in Galicia with another European title. I always love coming down here to Newquay, people get really excited to watch us surf and are very supportive so it’s always a pleasure.”

Taoka claims her season-best result with the runner-up at Fistral and will build confidence heading into Galicia for the next big event on the longboard schedule.

Edouard Delpero (FRA) had a very different path to victory in the men’s Boardmasters Longboard Pro Final and left very little chance to Federico Nesti (ITA) as his first wave in the Final was deemed near-perfect by the judges who dropped a 9.50 for his backhand effort. Nesti, who reached his first-ever two-surfer Final gave it his best shot but couldn’t quite rival Delpero and had to settle for second place. The former runner-up in the world, Delpero adds yet another event win to his impressive resume.

“It was unreal to start with a wave like that especially cause they were pretty hard to find,” Delpero said. “Federico surfed great so hats off to him, and I’m happy I was able to have that much fun in the Final. It was another great beach day down here at Fistral and the public was once again super nice to us surfers. Now I have to go back to work at home and hopefully, I’ll manage to get a few surfs in to prepare for Galicia.”

In the QS1,000 Roxy Open Final, the runner-up of last year Yolanda Hopkins (PRT) took on Rachel Presti (DEU) and the Portuguese surfer got active early on, catching many waves to apply pressure on her opponent. Hopkins, who has been collecting solid numbers all week, continued to improve her scoreboard throughout the 25-minute bout and eventually claimed her first-ever victory on the WSL tours.

“I’m so stoked to win for the first time and I just wish my family and my coach were him to share this with me,” Hopkins stated. “I was pretty confident since this morning and tried to fix a couple of things in the first heat and in the Final, I was pretty relaxed and just wanted to surf as I know how to. This victory gives me a lot of confidence in thinking I do have what it takes to win sometimes.”

Presti with the runner-up adds another stellar result to her impeccable track record in Europe and will continue to chase the elusive first place in the next few events in the region.

The show today wrapped up with the Quiksilver Open Final, an all-goofy foot battle between Leon Glatzer (DEU) and Pedro Henrique (PRT). Waves, unfortunately, got somewhat slower and the first 20 minutes of the heat didn’t provide surfers with many great opportunities, limiting the scores to the average range. On the 5-minute mark, both surfers threaded long lefts with a similar approach and dropped extremely similar scores, making things very interesting heading into the final few minutes.

Glatzer finally turned the heat with a solid 7.33 in the last two minutes and despite a great last effort from Henrique, the situation remained and Glatzer walked off with his second QS event win of a young and promising career. Glatzer’s win and Presti’s second place mark a very strong showing from Team Germany in an Olympic qualifying season.

“It’s been a tough week and a lot of hard work with these conditions so I’m drained physically and mentally but I’m on top of the world right now,” Glatzer said. “I’ve been working with my new coach Llewellyn Whittaker and we’ve set very high goals for me so there are no more distractions and I’m 100% focused on improving my surfing especially on beachbreaks. The CT and the Olympics are my two goals short and long-term and I’m glad to have the support of the German Olympic Committee to reach those goals.”

Here are the new European rankings Top 5 following the completion of Boardmasters:

European Men’s QS Top 5:
1 – Vicente Romero (ESP)
2 – Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
3 – Leon Glatzer (DEU)
4 – Tristan Guilbaud (FRA)
5 – Maxime Huscenot (FRA)

European Women’s QS Top 5:
1 – Pauline Ado (FRA)
2 – Yolanda Hopkins (PRT)
3 – Ellie Turner (GBR)
4 – Leticia Canales Bilbao (EUK)
5 – Juliette Lacome (FRA)

European Men’s LQS Top 5:
1 – Edouard Delpero (FRA)
2 – Federico Nesti (ITA)
3 – Ben Skinner (GBR)
4 – Benoit Carpentier (FRA)
5 – Jordan Zervas (GBR)

European Women’s LQS Top 5:
1 – Alice Lemoigne (FRA)
2 – Zoe Grospiron (FRA)
3 – Francesca Rubegni (ITA)
3 – Emily Currie (GBR)
5 – Beth Leighfield (GBR)

Qualifying series surfers will be back to work on Tuesday at the QS1,500 Caraïbos Lacanau Pro in France while for longboarders, a little two-week break will give them time to prepare for the first-ever Galicia Longboard Classic.

Boardmasters’ surfing events are scheduled from August 7-11, 2019 at Fistral Beach, Cornwall – England. For all results, photos, video highlights and press releases, log on to worldsurfleague.com.

Boardmasters are supported by Corona, Monster Energy, Cornish Orchards, VISA, Samsung, Quiksilver, Roxy, Carve Surfing Magazine, Surfgirl, Radio X and DJ Mag among others, with MagicSeaWeed.com as official forecaster.

1 – Leon Glatzer (DEU)
2 – Pedro Henrique (PRT)

1 – Yolanda Hopkins (PRT)
2 – Rachel Presti (DEU)

1 – Edouard Delpero (FRA) 18.23
2 – Federico Nesti (ITA) 13.93

1 – Alice Lemoigne (FRA) 16.43
2 – Natsumi Taoka (JPN) 11.90

J-Bay day one. Top seeds do their thing.

J-Bay day one. Top seeds do their thing.

Kolohe Andino, Photo by Pierre Tostee/WSL

The Corona Open J-Bay, the sixth stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), opened today in clean three-to-four foot (0.9 – 1.2 meter) waves in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. The event completed the men’s Seeding Round, which determines the first elimination matchups, while the women finished the first three heats of the Seeding Round. The next call will be tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, at 7:30 a.m. SAST for a possible 8:05 a.m. start.

Michael February, Photo by Pierre Tostee/WSL

2019 World Title contender Jordy Smith (ZAF) and wildcards Michael February (ZAF), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) and Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) will battle to advance as far as possible in their home country. With all the local support, the four competitors put on a show during today’s Seeding Round.

Smith, the two-time event winner, won his heat against replacement surfers Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) in Heat 4, while February got the advantage over Adrian Buchan (AUS) to place second behind defending event winner Filipe Toledo (BRA) in Heat 6. Toledo posted the highest heat total with a near-perfect 9.10 (out of a possible 10) and an excellent 8.50, but February styled through the lineup to claim his place in the Round of 32 alongside the Brasilian.

“I’m just having a great time here, I was going to come here anyway whether the contest was on or not and I got my whole family here and everyone’s just come together,” said February. “Yesterday the Rising Tides program was awesome,” continued February. “Spending time with all those girls out at the beach and taking them surfing and helping them paddle out was pretty cool. I spoke with them after my heat now and they were pretty stoked. I was happy I got to do that.”

“You just got to take it wave-by-wave,” said Smith. “I think my style suits this wave. I grew up surfing lots and lots of right-hand point breaks. I think that moulds a lot of the South African surfers’ styles and I think it suits Jeffreys Bay pretty good.”

Jordy Smith, Photo by Ed Sloane/WSL

Wildcards De Vries and Buitendag were unable to find the waves skip the Elimination Round. De Vries came up against opponents Kolohe Andino (USA) and Yago Dora (BRA). Although only mid-range scores sufficed for No. 2 Andino and CT sophomore Dora, De Vries failed to secure the 4.84 to advance and will surf again against Ryan Callinan (AUS) and Jack Freestone (AUS) in Elimination Round 2, Heat 1.

“I was really nervous sitting out there knowing this heat could actually go flat for the remaining 20 minutes,” said Andino. “I was really happy that wave came and I’m stoked I went too because it looked like another one was going to come and then there wasn’t, I got lucky. I’m stoked, the position I’m at this year is really rad, I’m excited to be at J-Bay and just surfing long lines, taking it heat-by-heat and just really excited for my Round 3 heat. I’ve done a lot of work on these types of waves and unfortunately at Bells, I didn’t get to showcase it so hopefully, here I can.”

Buitendag fell to World No. 1 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in the final heat of the day (Seeding Round 1, Heat 3). Buitendag missed the 4.80-requirement to Fitzgibbons’ 12.60 and 10.30 and will surf again in Elimination Round 2. Fitzgibbons marches on with the goal to surpass her 13th-place result from J-Bay last year.

Stephanie Gilmore, Photo by Pierre Tostee/WSL

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), seven-time WSL Champion, said yesterday that she wants to capture a second CT win this season before her opponents. After her opening heat at the Corona Open J-Bay, she is off to a flying start with two 7.40s to take down Johanne Defay (FRA) and rookie Macy Callaghan (AUS) in Heat 1. Gilmore impressed the judges with the highest scores of the women’s heats so far but most people are still talking about her ride at the WSL Rising Tides yesterday, which could be the best wave of the event.

“Rising Tides was really special yesterday,” said Gilmore. “We are out here chasing trophies, but those are the moments that you remember when you are on Tour. Just hanging out and spending time with those young girls, maybe it will make their day and maybe it will inspire them to go on to bigger and better things. It just gets them excited about surfing. That is really the most important thing.”

Carissa Moore, Photo by Pierre Tostee/WSL

World No. 2 and three-time WSL Champion, Carissa Moore (HAW), currently sits one place ahead of Gilmore on the Jeep Leaderboard. She secured her spot in the Round of 16 after beating Bronte Macaulay (AUS) and Sage Erickson (USA). In a close move for second place, Macaulay finished a buzzer-beater ride to overcome Erickson and earn her spot in the Round of 16 with Moore.

Gabriel Medina (BRA) won the opening heat of the event against Joan Duru (FRA) and Frederico Morais (PRT). Morais, the replacement surfer for Mikey Wright (AUS), earned a runner-up finish at the Corona Open J-Bay in 2017 and will need to bounce out of the dreaded Elimination Round to reignite his campaign in South Africa.

Adriano de Souza (BRA) narrowly advanced to the Round of 32 after coming up against Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Jesse Mendes (BRA) in Heat 3. De Souza defeated Mendes by less than one point but could not overtake Igarashi who only held a 12.16 two-wave total (out of a possible 20). Mendes will be against Jeremy Flores (FRA) and Morais in Elimination Round 2, Heat 3.
The next call for the Corona Open J-Bay will be tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10, at 7:30 a.m. SAST for a possible 8:05 a.m. start.

The Corona Open J-Bay will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and Facebook.com/WSL. Also check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Seeding Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.03 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 10.57, Frederico Morais (PRT) 9.00
Heat 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.43 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 10.67, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 10.34
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.16 DEF. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 7.33, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 6.74
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.77 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.27, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 8.67
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.43 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 9.84, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 8.30
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.60 DEF. Michael February (ZAF) 12.83, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.77
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.97 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.60, Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.56
Heat 8: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.17 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.84, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 5.27
Heat 9: Ricardo Christie (NZL) 10.66 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.03, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 6.10
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.40 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.67, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.27
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (FRA) 12.24 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.00, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.86
Heat 12: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 13.24 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.23, Seth Moniz (HAW) 10.83

Corona Open J-Bay Men’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Jack Freestone (AUS), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF)
Heat 2: Seth Moniz (HAW), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 4: Willian Cardoso (BRA), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA)

Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Seeding Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.80 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.57, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.40
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.33 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 11.70, Sage Erickson (USA) 9.97
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.60 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.30, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.83

Corona Open J-Bay Women’s Remaining Seeding Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRI), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Silvana Lima (BRA)

Michel Bourez, Photo by Ed Sloane/WSL

Kanoa Igarashi, Photo by Ed Sloane/WSL


Toledo dominates and Sally Fitz’ gets her mojo back at the Oi Rio Pro…

Toledo dominates and Sally Fitz’ gets her mojo back at the Oi Rio Pro…

Filipe Toledo Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL

Yesterday Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) won the Oi Rio Pro, Stop No. 5 on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). The beach came alive throughout the Oi Rio Pro with thousands of fans each day, including today’s Final at Barrinha in four-to-six foot (1.2 – 1.8 meter) waves. Fitzgibbons and Toledo surfed a full day from the Quarterfinals to the Final, resulting in their third CT victories in Brasil.

Toledo successfully repeated last year’s victory at Barrinha with dominant performances against Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Final, Frederico Morais (PRT) in the Semifinals, and Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) in the Quarterfinals. This is Toledo’s third win in Brasil (2015, 2018, 2019) and the eighth of his career.

“Once I get into the Quarters and Semis, it’s like something clicks in my head, especially here in Brasil,” said Toledo. “The crowd just gets me pumped and I just want to do my best. But it’s so hard, surfing can be anybody’s game. With Jordy (Smith) you never know. I had eighteen points, but he could’ve easily gotten two nines as well. I was tense until the last thirty seconds, but that first wave got me feeling pretty confident and I was stoked to get that one.”

Filipe Toledo Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Later on, at the awards podium, Toledo opened up and revealed that he was going through some personal issues throughout the year, but that the energetic Brasilian crowd provided the extra fuel he needed to push through.

“It can be really difficult if you don’t surround yourself with a good support crew and prepare yourself psychologically,” continued Toledo. “If you’re not prepared, the pressure can really get to you. What I really enjoy is the emotion and energy from the fans in Brasil. This gives me energy, focus, and motivation. I’ve been sick all week and feeling really weak and tired. But every time I ran down the corridor to the water, the energy from the crowd would give me a boost. A lot of people don’t know, but I’ve been going through a very difficult year personally. It’s been tough to concentrate on doing what I love most, but the crowd is what pulled me through and I’m eternally grateful. Now let’s head to another of my favourite waves at J-Bay.”

The Brasilian hero is back in the top five, moving up three spots to No. 3 on the world rankings. The next event on the CT is the Corona Open J-Bay, where Toledo is also the defending event winner. With his first win in 2019, Toledo will be fired up heading into an event where he can again defend his event Title.

Jordy Smith Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL

Smith’s runner-up finish advances him one place up to No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard and that much closer to his maiden World Title. The 31-year-old has made the Final Series four times so far this year with only one early exit in Bali. Smith now returns to the Corona Open J-Bay as the obvious favourite in his home country of South Africa where he will now be welcomed home by his fans.

“I think Filipe (Toledo) had a massive support crew down here today,” said Smith. “I think the first wave was a momentum shifter. The wedge moved a little inside, and I missed it, and Filipe got barreled and did an air to a blow-tail and that was just kind of it. The wind picked up right after, but what can I say? He’s an incredible surfer, and I was just honoured to be in a Final and was pleased to finally make one this year. It was a great event and there’s no other crowd like this in the world. I just hope that at J-Bay they can share a little bit of love my way.”

Kolohe Andino Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

California’s Kolohe Andino (USA) lost to Smith in the second Semifinal but still holds his position as No. 2 on the world rankings behind John John Florence (HAW). Andino is gunning for his maiden World Title and his first CT event win in 2019 and shows no sign of slowing down. He came incredibly close in two Finals already this year (Gold Coast, Margaret River) and continued his form in Brasil.

Sally Fitzgibbons Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Fitzgibbons’ win today is her first CT victory since 2017 and her third in Brasil (2012, 2014, 2019). This season the Australian superstar has secured consistent results with four Final Series appearances, including two Finals. Fitzgibbon’s win vaults her to No. 1 in the world, surpassing Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Carissa Moore (HAW) on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“It’s definitely one of those feelings where you feel so alive,” said Fitzgibbons. “The whole process of running down through the crowd cheering and paddling out is pretty sick when it all comes together. After all these years it’s still special and to be in the Final with a friend like Carissa (Moore) is pretty amazing. It could’ve gone either way and it just went my way today, it was unbelievable, this is insane. I knew I needed something special at the end when that set wave came through. When I paddled in, I knew there was some opportunity and I just gave it everything. I just wanted to commit and everything just came together.”

Sally Fitzgibbons Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL

En route to her 11th CT win, Fitzgibbons eliminated Moore in the Final, good friend Keely Andrew (AUS) in the Semifinals, and Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Quarterfinals. The CT veteran has come runner-up to the World Title three times, and this could be a breakthrough year after her success leading up to the season’s halfway mark.

Moore put up some of the strongest performances at the Oi Rio Pro but missed her shot at the event win by just 2.07 points. Fitzgibbons closed the door of the Final with an excellent 8.67 (out of a possible 10), leaving Moore searching for the requirement in the final five minutes. Moore hasn’t lost yet before the Quarterfinals this year but still continues the quest for a win in 2019. The three-time WSL Champion moves ahead one place to World No. 2, also advancing past Gilmore, who drops to No. 3.

“It’s been a really positive year and I’m really happy to make the Finals,” said Moore. “It’s a keeper event for me, but of course, it would’ve been great to win. I’m happy for Sally (Fitzgibbons) and I’m feeling good overall. Like I mentioned after my first round, I would’ve been happy just making it to the Semis, so second place is great. Saquarema has treated me really well, the waves have been fun but challenging and the crowd has been great, so it’s been really good energy for sure.”

Stephanie Gilmore Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

10 World Titles were present in the second Semifinal matchup with seven-time WSL Champion Gilmore against three-time Champion Moore. As the defending event winner and World No. 1, Gilmore had all the momentum on her side heading into this event. The two exchanged incredible rides, starting with Moore’s 7.50, but quickly followed by Gilmore’s near-perfect 9.00. The lead went back-and-forth with Moore’s second 7-point ride and then came down to the buzzer when Gilmore had one final opportunity needing a 6.30 to advance. The Australian put down two turns, but her 5.83 was not enough. Gilmore earned a third-place result in Brasil and now moves into the next stop on the WSL CT, where she is again the defending event winner. Gilmore will focus on repeating last year’s success to stay on top of the world rankings.

Carissa Moore Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Gabriel Medina (BRA), reigning WSL Champion, was eliminated by Andino in the Quarterfinals. A close heat saw air attempts by both surfers, but Andino came away with the win with his 13.10 combined score (out of a possible 20) to Medina’s 12.00. Medina leaves Brasil with his third 5th place finish but advances up to the 8th spot on the rankings.

“I’m pretty pleased with my result here, but there were definitely some difficult moments,” Medina stated. “Conditions today weren’t the greatest, but I felt confident throughout the event and performed well. Now it’s time to focus on the remainder of the year and I hope to get better opportunities in the water, but I’m still happy with everything that went down in Saquarema. I’d like to thank all the fans in Brasil, the energy and the fans are phenomenal and see you all next year.”

The only Brasilian women left in the draw, Silvana Lima (BRA) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) lost to Andrew and Moore, respectively, in the Quarterfinals. Lima’s low-scoring heat saw her miss the mark by only 0.78. Lima is now back to full-time competition after returning from a knee injury last season and needs to get some strong points on the board to climb back up the rankings.

“I’m kind of bummed because I could have easily won that heat,” said Lima. “All I needed was a three to advance, but I ended up falling when the backwash hit the lip. But when it’s not your day, stuff like that happens. I’m still grateful for a good result and now I’m looking forward to J-Bay which is a wave I like a lot.”

Lima also commented on her full recovery from injury: “I feel great, confident and I feel like I’ve never surfed so well after all the preparation and training during my recovery and all the support I’ve gotten. Even though I’m the veteran on Tour and I’m 34-years old, it feels like I gathered all this energy from those seven months away from the Tour and I feel like a 16-year old grommet.”

Weston-Webb exits in Equal 5th place alongside Lima. The 23-year-old has had three appearances in the Final Series this year (5th in Gold Coast, 2nd in Margaret River, 5th in Rio) and moves up two spots to seventh after her result today.

“I felt like I had some moments of brilliance and me and my support crew thought that I won the heat,” said Weston-Webb. “You know, coming here everyone thought that we’d be surfing the left at Itaúna and I felt like we had no reason to be surfing here today. I think it’s necessary to surf lefts on the Tour. Of course, yesterday morning it was pumping at Barrinha, but we only arrived in the afternoon when it wasn’t that great. And despite that, we still came back today. I really wanted to surf Itaúna, but it wasn’t my call. I love the fact that we surf world-class waves on the Tour, but I don’t think the WSL is being fair to the goofies and we need more high-performance lefts on Tour like Cloudbreak, Uluwatu, or Macaronis.”
2018 event runner-up Peterson fell to Fitzgibbons in the opening Quarterfinal. Peterson failed to find or complete any rides under the Australian’s 8.00 and 6.17. The American now sits in 5th place on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into to J-Bay, where she is the event runner-up. Fellow American Courtney Conlogue also lost in the Quarterfinals, her elimination was by Gilmore in a rematch of their battle in Bali. Conlogue comes up to World No. 4.

Injury replacement Morais had a great run in Brasil with a third-place finish, eventually falling to Toledo in the Semifinals. Morias missed the requalification cut-off at the end of last year and has been working to requalify on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS). Taking full advantage as the injury replacement, Morais showcased that he belongs on the elite CT amongst the world’s best surfers. He will continue to compete on the QS while awaiting his next opportunity to sub in on the CT.

Julian Wilson (AUS) has had a slow start to the 2019 season after his runner-up finish to the World Title in 2018. Wilson was the final Australian left in the men’s draw before injury replacement Morais knocked him in out in the Quarterfinals. He now climbs up four places to World No. 9 on the Jeep Leaderboard and is now the highest ranking Australian on the men’s CT.

Florence, two-time Oi Rio Pro winner and WSL Champion, withdrew this morning from the event after injuring his knee in yesterday’s Round of 16. Florence came into the event as World No. 1 and kept his position at the top of the rankings despite the withdrawal.
For highlights from the 2019 Oi Rio Pro, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

The world’s best surfers will now go to next stop on the 2019 World Surf League Championship Tour, Corona Open J-Bay. The event, Stop No. 6 on the CT, opens on July 9 and runs until July 22, 2019 and will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and Facebook.com/WSL.

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Final Results:
1 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.64
2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.57

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 7.63 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 4.40
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.30 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.83

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.17 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 1.20
QF 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) 7.24 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.46
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.33 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.04
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.90 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.66

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.04
2 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8.43

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.00 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 10.30
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.06 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.40

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 11.00 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 7.57
QF 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.17 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.83
QF 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) DEF. John John Florence (HAW) INJ
QF 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.10 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.00

2019 Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (following Oi Rio Pro):
1 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 32,580 pts
2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 31,175 pts
3 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 30,320 pts
4 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 26,845 pts
5 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 26,050 pts
5 – Caroline Marks (USA) 26,050 pts

2019 Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (following Oi Rio Pro):
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 32,160 pts
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 27,760 pts
3 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 27,195 pts
4 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 26,045 pts
5 – Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 24,705 pts

Frederico Morais Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Oi Rio Pro down to the quarters as John John tweaks bad knee…

Oi Rio Pro down to the quarters as John John tweaks bad knee…

An action-packed day at the Oi Rio Pro, Stop No. 5 on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), witnessed over 20,000 fans line the beach for the third day of the competition. The day started at Itaúna for the women’s Round of 16 and then moved down the beach to Barrinha for the men’s Round of 16.

Gabriel Medina Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL

Only four Brazilians remain in the competition today after the Round of 16. Silvana Lima, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Filipe Toledo, and Gabriel Medina still stand, while Taina Hinckel, Jesse Mendes, Michael Rodrigues, and Deivid Silva fell out of the draw. With the Final Series potentially running tomorrow, a capacity crowd is expected to cheer on these national heroes as they battle to bring the event title home.

Lima and Weston-Webb are through to the Quarterfinals after winning their Round of 16 heats against Malia Manuel (HAW) and Coco Ho (HAW), respectively. Both Lima’s and Weston-Webb’s best result in Brasil is a Semifinal finish. These surfers will have the crowd’s support on Finals Day as the only two Brasilian women through to the Quarterfinals after Carissa Moore (HAW) eliminated wildcard Hinckel in Heat 5.

“Surfing these big waves is a little difficult because I’m smaller and the waves here are so powerful,” said Lima. “But luckily, I found that really good one and I was able to advance into the Quarterfinals. It feels great to be competing here, excluding my first round heat, where I was feeling so nervous. It’s such a special feeling hearing the crowd screaming your name and sending positive vibes. Thank you so much to the fans on the beach and watching on the webcast.”

“Coco (Ho) is such a good surfer and not one to take lightly in a heat,” said Weston-Webb. “I was kind of nervous before the heat given the conditions and that anything can happen in this type of ocean so I just really wanted to play a smart heat. I’ve definitely been using the support from the fans; it’s like the coolest thing ever. I love being here in Brasil.”

Kelly Slater Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

The crowd went wild for the first heat that saw 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) up first against defending event winner Toledo. Toledo put on a show with a near-perfect 9.17 (out of a possible 10) to kick off the heat. Slater surfed a few attempts but then captured the lead by besting Toledo’s massive air with deep barrel exit for a 9.50. The heat came down to the final exchanges where Slater earned a 5.33 but was shut down in the last six minutes by Toledo’s tube that garnered him a critical 8.67 for the win.

“That was a really good heat against Kelly Slater,” Toledo said. “I started off with a high score, but I couldn’t really hear anything out there. There was a lot of wind and the crowd was screaming so I didn’t know what I got or what Kelly needed. But at the end of the heat that set came in and I was able to get that barrel for the win. I almost fell on the drop, but I barely made it finished it off with another high score. I hope conditions stay good for tomorrow for another epic finish in Saquarema.”

“Brasil has been like nowhere else in the world for me,” said Slater. “I remember coming here in 1992 and becoming very well-known and there would be like twenty thousand people on the beach and I’d need like ten security guards to escort me to the hotel. I’ve never experienced anything like that before or after in anywhere other than Brasil. I went out and surfed with all the locals today and I was at the bottom of the pecking order. I think the surfing world kind of shunned Brasil for a long time, and I feel Brasil went ‘Ok, we’re going to make our own rules now,’ and I felt that in the water. I mean, everyone was super cool and I knew a lot of the guys like Raoni (Monteiro) and Leo Neves. It was fun to be with them and they let me have a few waves, it was super fun.”

Gabriel Medina (BRA) closed the day with another big performance, this time defeating Michel Bourez (FRA) in Heat 8 for his place in the Quarterfinals. Medina has had a tough season so far with two consecutive 17th place results but will hope to rocket past the Quarterfinals, his best result of the season. The loss is Bourez’s fourth 9th place result this year.

“I’m happy that I won that heat, but conditions were hard and the wind made the wave face bumpy,” said Medina. “Now we’ll just have to wait for tomorrow and I hope the waves get better so I can surf more. I think it’s unfortunate that we came to Barrinha. I didn’t feel it was the right decision. We don’t surf any lefts on Tour and now that we finally get a chance to surf at Itaúna, they put us on the rights at Barrinha. It’s tough being a goofy-footer on Tour. If you want to win a World Title as a goofy, you really need to surf well.”

Stephanie Gilmore Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), seven-time WSL Champion, moves into her fourth Quarterfinal this season after winning against Paige Hareb (NZL) in Heat 7. Gilmore, the defending event winner, currently sits at World No. 1 but has only advanced past the Quarterfinals once this season at the Corona Bali Protected. Gilmore’s next heat will be against Courtney Conlogue (USA), current World No. 5.

John John Florence Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

John John Florence (HAW), two-time event winner and World Champion, was against 2018 event runner-up Wade Carmichael (AUS) in Heat 5. Last year, Carmichael powered through a full day at Barrinha to earn his career-first Finals appearance but was unable to match that rhythm again today. Needing a 6.17, the Australian only scored a 3.83 on his last attempt and will leave in Equal 9th place. Despite the win, Florence hurt his knee and will work to prepare for the Quarterfinals against World No. 5 Jordy Smith (ZAF).

“I had a ton of speed on my last wave and I was going to do a turn and it was kind of breaking already and so I just tried to do a fly away, but the wave broke on my back leg and buckled the same knee I injured last year,” said Florence. “It just got tweaked and I was in a little bit of pain. It’s super powerful out there right now and I get really excited to do airs, so in my head I just felt like I should leave the water and go rest it and try to make sure it’s all good. I’m going to get it looked at and see how it feels tomorrow.”

Florence’s and Kanoa Igarashi’s (JPN) support from the Brasilian fans was made clear during their respective heats today. The crowd roared across the beach for both surfers’ 7-point rides that gave them the advantage over their competitors. Igarashi sits in fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard, and his Quarterfinal berth helps his ranking points after No. 3 Italo Ferreira’s elimination yesterday. Now, the 21-year-old needs to get through Toledo to match his success in Bali.

Keely Andrew (AUS), the replacement surfer for Tyler Wright (AUS), dispatched World No. 2 Caroline Marks (USA) in R/16, Heat 3. Andrew suffered a knee injury in October last year that pulled her out of the final two events of the season and hindered her requalification for the 2019 CT. Now as the replacement for Wright, Andrew has had the past five events to make a comeback for a full-time spot on the 2020 CT. Today’s result is Andrew’s first move past the R/16, and she will work to continue her run at one of her favorite events. Andrew will be against event favourite Lima in the second Quarterfinal.

“I got pretty winded just paddling out,” said Andrew. “I passed by Sally (Fitzgibbons) and she said, ‘Good luck in the washing machine,’ but that’s what we train for and it feels good when you can pull it off. I’m using the same equipment that I used at Margaret River so I’m confident in this board and trusting myself. I love Brasil and I always have, it’s one of my favourite countries in the world. The people are always so passionate and the energy is so positive, plus I love my farofa and beans.”

Marks now exits in Equal 9th, her second Round 3 elimination in 2019 after a first-place finish on the Gold Coast and two Final Series appearances at Bells and in Western Australia.

2018 Oi Rio Pro runner-up Lakey Peterson (USA) eliminated rookie Macy Callaghan (AUS) in the first heat of the R/16. Earlier this month, Peterson conquered the wild conditions in Western Australia for the win and showed the same composure today in the rough surf. Peterson will match-up with Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), who took down Johanne Defay (FRA) in R/16, Heat 2.

“I was out there while it was still dark because I was in the first heat and I just wanted to feel it before I got out there in a heat, that’s something super important to me,” said Peterson. “I went out on a 5’,9” and thought ‘nope’, there’s too much water moving, so I moved up to a bigger board. But I’m super stoked to make it through because it was a really grindy heat. It’s really hard out there, so you’ve got adapt and I eventually found that right for a backup score. I think it’s a good challenge for me and I am always willing to learn something new. The Title race is super close and I feel like this event can really distance the pack.”
Andino, Smith, Wilson, and Morais On Fire at Barrinha

Jordy Smith Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL

Smith is heating up in Brasil with a big win over Griffin Colapinto (USA) in Heat 6. The South African put the American in a combination situation (requiring two new scores) with a 15.63 two-wave total (out of a possible 20).

Kolohe Andino (USA), World No. 2, halted rookie Deivid Silva’s (BRA) run in Brasil with an excellent 8.07 and a 6.00. Silva needed a 7.55 to advance but was not able to score past his 6.53 during the overlapping heat. Silva is still searching for his breakthrough event past this round and will now prepare for the sixth stop on the CT.

Julian Wilson Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Frederico Morais (PRT), an injury replacement, continues to capitalize on his entry into this event with a Quarterfinal result locked in. Morais eliminated CT sophomore Michael Rodrigues (BRA) in Heat 3 and will be against Julian Wilson (AUS) when competition resumes. Wilson took down Jesse Mendes (BRA) in a heated battle that went all the way to the buzzer. The Australian attacked the Barrinha lip for an 8.33, beating Mendes by just 0.40. Wilson is now the only Australian left in the men’s draw.
The next call for the Oi Rio Pro will be tomorrow, June 23 at 6:10 a.m. BRT for a possible 6:35 a.m. start at Barrinha.

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Round of 16 (Round 3) Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.66 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 6.60
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.84 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.94
Heat 3: Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.63 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 8.50
Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.27 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 7.17
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.00 DEF. Taina Hinckel (BRA) 7.40
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.83 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 11.57
Heat 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 9.50 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 5.67
Heat 8: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.10 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 6.43

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
QF 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Round of 16 (Round 4) Results:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.84 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 14.83
Heat 2: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.17 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 10.83
Heat 3: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.83 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 7.43
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.00 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.60
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 12.66 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.33
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.53 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 9.67
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.07 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.53
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.43 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 9.27

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
QF 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
QF 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
QF 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Kolohe Andino of the United States advances to the quarter finals of the 2019 Oi Rio Pro after winning Heat 7 of Round 4 at Barinha, Saquarema on June 22, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL via Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Thousands of Brazillian surf fans enjoying the Round 4 action of the 2019 Oi Rio Pro at Barinha, Saquarema on June 22, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL via Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Sally Fitzgibbons of Australia advances to the quarter finals of the 2019 Oi Rio Pro after winning Heat 2 of Round 3 at Itauna Beach, Saquarema on June 22, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL via Getty Images)

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – JUNE 22: Three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii advances to the quarter finals of the 2019 Oi Rio Pro after winning Heat 5 of Round 3 at Itauna Beach, Saquarema on June 22, 2019 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL via Getty Images)