Rio Day 2 is ON right now. Results and ting from Day 1 here…

Rio Day 2 is ON right now. Results and ting from Day 1 here…

Yago Dora Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Day 2 is LIVE NOW HERE! 

The opening day of the Oi Rio Pro saw the world’s best surfers greeted by thousands of cheering fans on the beach during the opening Seeding Rounds in three-to-five foot (0.9 – 1.5 metre) waves at Itaúna. The Oi Rio Pro is the fifth stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) and today’s opening heats will play an important role in the athlete’s seedings as they move into the elimination rounds.

The Brazilians competing at the Oi Rio Pro make up one-third of the represented athletes and the largest national contingent in this event. Today marked a strong start for the Brazilians in their home country with 13 out of 17 competitors advancing to Round 3. Silvana Lima, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Gabriel Medina, Yago Dora, Jadson Andre, Adriano de Souza, Filipe Toledo, Italo Ferreira, Deivid Silva, Caio Ibelli, Willian Cardoso, Michael Rodrigues, and Jesse Mendes will all advance to Round 3. Peterson Crisanto, Mateus Herdy, Alex Ribeiro, and Taina Hinckel will have to battle out of the Elimination Round to avoid an early exit.

Brasilians Lima and Weston-Webb Though to Round of 16
Brazilian Silvana Lima and Tatiana Weston-Webb matched-up with Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in their opening heat (Round 1, Heat 5). Fitzgibbons recently defeated Lima in the Quarterfinals at the Corona Bali Protected. Today, Lima got the edge over the Australian in Heat 5 of Round 1. Lima won the heat with a buzzer-beater 13.20 two-wave score (out of a possible 20) to Weston-Webb’s 13.10 and Fitzgibbons’ 9.93.

“There were a lot of nerves for me and I’m sure for everyone that was watching,” said Lima. “You get those butterflies in your stomach and you hear that voice in your head saying ‘Go Silvana.’ Everyone feels pressure, so it’s important to stay calm, focused, and when the opportunity shows up, you need to give it your all. I’m stoked to advance in first place and I’m thankful to everyone for all the energy and support.”

Carissa Moore Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Carissa Moore Earns 250th Heat Win

Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time WSL Champion, celebrated her 250th heat win with a dominating performance against Keely Andrew (AUS) and Johanne Defay (FRA) with an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) and a 7.50 in Heat 2 of the Seeding Round. The Itaúna beach break provided Moore an opportunity to showcase her backhand surfing. Moore and Andrew advance through to the Round of 16 (Round 3). Defay will surf again in the Elimination Round (Round 2) against Malia Manuel (HAW) and rookie Brisa Hennessy (CRI).

“It’s great to get that one out of the way, there are always some first-heat jitters, especially out here where the waves were breaking all over the place,” said Moore. “I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen, but I’m happy everything worked out. It feels super good to get some good scores because I’ve actually struggled these past two years, so it was nice to start off really strong. I made a podium finish a while ago at Barra, so it would be great to make the Final here this year.”

Stephanie Gilmore Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

World Champions Find Early Success, De Souza Returns from Injury
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) comes into the Oi Rio Pro ranked No. 1 in the world, as the defending event winner, and the reigning World Champion. With all of this momentum, Gilmore is undoubtedly an event favourite but fell just 1.6 points short of the win to good-friend Coco Ho (HAW) in Heat 3 of Round 1. Despite the second-place finish, Gilmore will still skip the Elimination Round and advance to Round 3 with Ho. Event wildcard Taina Hinckel (BRA) will be against Fitzgibbons and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in Heat 1 of the Elimination Round.

“I am stoked to get that one,” said Ho. “These rounds are to be able to feel your board and see how you are surfing and I knew I was surfing alright, so I just wanted to get a good wave and had to be calm. It feels good here in Saqurema. There is a lot of ocean and you can ride board, you know you can ride a round-tail, and feel really good. I love it here.”

Brasil’s World Champions Gabriel Medina (2014, 2018) and Adriano de Souza (2015) now advance into the Round of 32. Medina captured the win with a 12.10 heat total over rookie Soli Bailey (AUS) and veteran Adrian Buchan (AUS). In his first heat since October 2018, De Souza’s second-place finish felt like a win for him after returning from a sidelining knee injury. De Souza marches into the Round of 32 where his opponent will be determined following the men’s Elimination Round.

“It feels great to surf a left, just to break the monotony of only surfing rights on Tour,” said Medina. “We don’t really have any lefts, just Teahupo’o, but that’s a barreling wave, so as high-performance goes, it’s really only Saquarema. I love surfing when there are a lot of people watching. Surfing has grown so popular in our country these last few years and I feel blessed to have so much support and feel loved by so many fans. It’s so gratifying.”

Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time WSL Champion, returned to the Brasilian CT for the first time since 2015. The Brasilian crowd roared as Slater entered the water and even more so when he secured a come-from-behind victory in the dying minutes of the heat to take down rookie Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Conner Coffin (USA) in Heat 9. Slater will advance to Round 3, while Coffin is relegated to the Elimination Round (Round 2) for the first time this season.

“It is tough out there,” said Slater. “It is so bumpy and backwashy because the current is going one way and the chop is going the other way and there is a rip that’s going out to sea and the whole energy of the ocean is going down the beach, so it was tricky. You can’t take the first wave of the set and wait for the whitewash to clean up the set. It feels good to be back in Brasil, but it’s a little intimidating, there are some crazy crowds here, but I had some fun.”

Jeep Frontrunner John John Florence (HAW) will also advance straight to the Round of 32 after sending wildcard Alex Ribeiro (BRA) to the Elimination Round and beating injury replacement Caio Ibelli (BRA). Florence posted a 7.50 and a 6.17 and is off to a good start for a third event win in Brasil.

Caroline Marks Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

World Title Contenders Adance in Saquarema

Lakey Peterson (USA) earned a runner-up finish at this event last year in Saquarema but fell short to Gilmore for the win. After her big victory in Western Australia last month, Peterson has resurged her World Title campaign into 2019 and today’s early win keeps her on track.

Caroline Marks (USA), current World No. 2, will also advance to Round 3 after defeating rookie Macy Callaghan (AUS) in second and Van Dijk in third.

Filipe Toledo (BRA), defending event winner, had the chance to showcase his big backside carves in the beach break conditions. His efforts earned him an excellent 8.00 with a 5.97 back-up to advance ahead of injury replacement Frederico Morais (PRT) and World No. 31 Sebastian Zietz (HAW).

“While Brasil is where we most want to compete, it’s also where we have the most obligations out of the water,” Toledo said. “But that’s normal, we’re only here for one week out of the year and we want to give back as much as we can to our fans, the media and everything else. But we try to do everything before the event so we can be one-hundred percent focused during the competition.”

In a rare draw, the only three French male surfers on Tour – Jeremy Flores, Michel Bourez, and Joan Duru – were all seeded into the same heat to close out men’s Round 1. Bourez captured the win with Duru in second. Flores will face 2018 event runner-up Wade Carmichael (AUS) and Jack Freestone (AUS) in the next elimination round.

Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), current World No. 4, will also move into the Round of 32 after defeating Brasilians Jadson Andre and Peterson Crisanto in the opening heat of the the men’s Seeding Round. Current World No. 5 Jordy Smith (ZAF) will have an opportunity to battle back when he surfs again in the Elimination Round 2 (Heat 2) against Buchan and wildcard Herdy.

World No. 3 Italo Ferreira (BRA) also found his rhythm in his opening heat and will move into the Round of 32, but No. 2 Kolohe Andino (USA) will come up against Zietz and Ribeiro in Heat 1 of the Elimination Round after losing in Round 1.

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Seeding Round (Round 1) Results:
Heat 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 8.90 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.10, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 6.17
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.50 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 12.23, Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.20
Heat 3: Coco Ho (HAW) 11.60 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.00, Taina Hinckel (BRA) 8.63
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.83 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.87, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 6.37
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.20 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.10, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 9.93
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.77 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 12.40, Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.00

Oi Rio Pro Women’s Elimination Round (Round 2) Matchups:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Taina Hinckel (BRA)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Seeding Round (Round 1) Results:
Heat 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.17 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.60, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 7.83
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.10 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 8.40, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 6.93
Heat 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.33 DEF. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.27, Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.16
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.97 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 9.60, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.30
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.17 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.07, Mateus Herdy (BRA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 13.67 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.53, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 9.60
Heat 7: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.47 DEF. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 9.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 6.30
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.67 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 9.06, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 6.00
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.87 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.80, Conner Coffin (USA) 9.93
Heat 10: Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.77 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.90, Jack Freestone (AUS) 7.43
Heat 11: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.17 DEF. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.53, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.74
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA) 11.13 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 10.76, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 7.23

Oi Rio Pro Men’s Elimination Round (Round 2) Matchups:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA)
Heat 3: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)

Macy Callaghan Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Ryan Callinan Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Wade Carmichael Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Joan Duru Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

Coco Ho of Hawaii Photo by Damien Poullenot/WSL

John John and Lakey Take Margies…

John John and Lakey Take Margies…

Tatiana Weston-Webb of Brazil, Lakey Peterson of USA, Two-time WSL Champion John John Florence of Hawaii, Kolohe Andino of USA. Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Today Lakey Peterson (USA) and John John Florence (HAW) won the Margaret River Pro, the fourth stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), in six-to-eight foot (1.8 – 2.4 metre) waves at Main Break. Florence earned his second event title after defeating good friend Kolohe Andino (USA) in the Final, while Peterson clinched her first win in the West by taking down Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA).

With the first four stops of the season complete, the 2019 World Title race is starting to take shape heading into the year’s halfway mark, the Oi Rio Pro. The 2019 CT rankings will not only decide the year’s World Champions but will also determine the first 18 qualifiers into the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where surfing will make its Olympic debut. Florence currently leads the rankings on the men’s Jeep Leaderboard and Peterson is gaining momentum with a move up to World No. 6.

Lakey Peterson, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Peterson Jumps Back Into World Title and Olympic Qualification Contention
Peterson’s dominating performance comes at no surprise after her hard-fought World Title battle with Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) last year. Unfortunately for Peterson, the results did not go her way and she fell short of her maiden World Title, while Gilmore earned her seventh. After a slow start to her campaign this season, the American’s victory vaults her back on track to win her first World Title and to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

“This event has been a hard one for me to overcome,” Peterson said. “I was so stoked that we waited for today and got some decent swell for the Finals. It was super windy, which made it tricky but that’s all a part of this place and it makes the win even sweeter. After beating Stephanie (Gilmore) and Carissa (Moore) and making it through the Quarterfinals, I found some extra momentum and fire and had definitely figured it out at Main Break. It’s been such an amazing event. Everyone has been surfing so well, especially in the Final. Tatiana (Weston-Webb) was surfing so well so a big congratulations to her.”

Lakey Peterson,Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

The win puts Peterson’s winning tally up to four CT victories and marks her first victory in Western Australia. In sizeable Main Break conditions, the 24-year-old out-shone opponents Weston-Webb in the Final, three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Semifinals, and Gilmore in the Quarterfinals. Her performance also set the bar with the highest heat total of the season so far, an excellent 18.83 (out of a possible 10).

“After a rough start to the season, the Olympic qualification has definitely been on my mind,” continued Peterson. “I just need to have fun and enjoy myself because if I get too caught up in past results, it can hinder me a bit. My goal right now is to do my best and have fun with my surfing.”

Two-time WSL Champion John John Florence, Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Florence Wins Second Event Title, Furthers Lead on World Rankings
Florence’s success secures his hold at World No. 1, which he has maintained since winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach earlier this year. The two-time WSL Champion, and now two-time event winner, increases his lead over the men’s field with event runner-up Andino in second (5,740 points behind) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) in third (6,595 points behind). This is Florence’s seventh CT victory and second this season after returning from a knee injury that kept him sidelined from a majority of the 2018 season.

“I’m super stoked to win in Margaret River again,” Florence said. “Brother (Kolohe Andino) was pushing me super hard in that heat and it was pretty nerve-racking in those last 12 minutes because it got really slow out there, so I knew I had to pick the perfect wave. Kolohe is scary to surf against in waves like this. That was our second Final out here and he is always such a threat.”

Florence now has three wins in West Australia after today with the first being in 2012 when the event was on the Qualifying Series and a CT win in 2017. The 26-year-old has a close affinity with the South West of Western Australia as evidenced with his iconic free-surfing sections and has used the array of powerful waves to produce some of surfing’s most mind-boggling video parts of the last decade.

“I really love coming here to Margaret River,” continued Florence. “It really reminds me of home in Hawaii. There are so many different waves and lots of power and it’s just a beautiful place to come. I’ve always enjoyed coming here since the first time I competed here when it was a Qualifying Series event and I’m stoked to be back. I can’t even believe where I am at this point of the year, it’s pretty crazy for me. There was a lot of mental and physical stuff to go through after the injury so I’m just stoked to be back surfing and competing.”

JJF, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Unlike fellow Californian Peterson, Andino fell short of clinching victory at Margaret River. In what was the fifth CT Finals appearance of his career and second for 2019, Andino went wave-for-wave with good friend Florence until the last few minutes when Florence used priority and posted a near perfect 9.50 to put Andino out of the running. Although Andino’s maiden CT victory will continue to elude him, he has consolidated the second spot on the Jeep Rankings and puts himself firmly in the World Title conversation for 2019.

“There is no one I’d rather lose to than John (Florence) because I look up to him and his surfing so much,” Andino said. “When the waves get harder and bigger and windier like this John John is always the hardest guy to beat. As we all saw he was demolishing Main Break this week and then obviously won at Bells when it got really big and windy, so he is definitely the guy to beat when it gets like this. I was happy to share another Final with him and am happy to continue this awesome start to the year for me. It’s funny because I guess John is sitting in the No. 1 spot and I’m at No. 2 and we are heading to Brasil and staying together so that will be really fun.”

Kolohe Andino, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Similarly to Peterson, Weston-Webb hadn’t started 2019 the way that would be expected of her, coming into Margaret River with two ninths and a fifth-place result. The 2015 CT Rookie of Year was one of the form surfers of this year’s event with her powerful backhand surfing matching the open walls of Main Break. Weston-Webb fell on a couple of her scoring waves, which brought her short of the required score in her seventh CT Finals appearance. Weston-Webb moves up one spot to World No. 9 on the Jeep Leaderboard and will now shift her attention to the Oi Rio Pro, in her home country of Brasil.

“I’m definitely really stoked with my result here,” Weston-Webb said. “I think I was making things too complicated in my mind for the first three events. For this event, I just took it easy and took a lot of the pressure off. It seemed to work as I kept making heats and made it to the Final. I am really happy still and want to keep building momentum. It was great to come back to West Aus. It’s naturally beautiful and has great waves, so it’s good to be back. Now we head to Brasil, which I’m really excited about. I have a lot of things on and a lot of support so it’s definitely one of my favorite events to head too.”

Tatiana Weston-Webb of Brazil, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 2017 Margaret Pro winner, fell to Weston-Webb in the first heat of the morning. Fitzgibbons held the lead for the majority of the 35-minute Semifinal until Weston-Webb’s buzzer-beater ride turned the heat. Fitzgibbons exits in third, a strong result to go with her runner-up finish on the Gold Coast and two Quarterfinal exits at Bells and Bali.

Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time WSL Champion and two-time event winner, was ousted by Peterson in the second Semifinal. A close battle saw both surfers hitting the excellent range with Moore’s 7.60 and 8.20, but Peterson narrowly advanced with just a 0.17-point advantage.

Julian Wilson (AUS) missed out on his first Final of 2019 with a loss to Andino in the second Semifinal. Despite the loss, the 3rd place finish is the Australian’s best result of the year after two 17th places on the Gold Coast and Bells, and 9th place in Bali.

Injury replacement Caio Ibelli (BRA) blitzed through the 2019 Margaret River Pro, taking down surfing’s biggest names on the way. Ibelli lost to eventual winner Florence in the first men’s Semifinal, falling just five-tenths of a point shy on his final ride. In the first four events, Ibelli was the substitute for the injured Adriano de Souza (BRA). De Souza is scheduled to return to full-time competition at the next event, the Oi Rio Pro, and now Ibelli will be on call if Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), who suffered a shoulder injury at the Box ahead of this event’s Round of 32, is unable to return to competition.

The 2019 WSL CT will now travel to Saquarema, Brasil for the Oi Rio Pro. The competition window opens June 20, 2019, and runs through June 28.

Margaret River Pro Women’s Final Results:
1- Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.33
2- Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.40

Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.33 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.67
SF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.97 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.80

Margaret River Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 18.50
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.10

Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 14.60 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.10
SF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.83 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.00

2019 Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (following Margaret River Pro):
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 24,235 pts
2 – Caroline Marks (USA) 23,440 pts
3 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 23,375 pts
4 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 22,580 pts
5 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 22,100 pts

2019 Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (following Margaret River Pro):
1 – John John Florence (HAW) 27,415 pts
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 21,675 pts
3 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 20,820 pts
4 – Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 19,960 pts
5 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18,245 pts

Margaret River narrows down to the semis…

Margaret River narrows down to the semis…

The fourth stop on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), the Margaret River Pro, is now down to its final four women and final four men after big eliminations today in four-to-six foot (1.2 – 1.8 metre) waves at Main Break.

The men completed the Round of 16 and Quarterfinals to see John John Florence (HAW), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), and Julian Wilson (AUS) still standing, while the women completed the Quarterfinals to determine Semifinalists Lakey Peterson (USA), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Carissa Moore (HAW), and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS).

Lakey Peterson,Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Peterson Defeats Title Rival Gilmore in Quarterfinals with Highest Heat Total of 2019

Lakey Peterson (USA) unleashed the performance of 2019 season so far with the highest two-wave total of the year, a near-perfect 18.83 (out of a possible 20), in Quarterfinal 4. Peterson’s incredible surfing eliminated seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) from the Margaret River Pro in Equal 5th place. Gilmore got the best of a year-long World Title race against 2018 runner-up Peterson to win her seventh World Title, but today Peterson struck back with the dominant win. Peterson now advances to the Semifinals where she matches up with Carissa Moore (HAW).

“The win was really satisfying,” Peterson said. “Steph (Gilmore) and I had the Title race last year and every time we meet up in heats she beats me. Going into that heat just now I was like, ‘I’m done losing to her.’ Steph is such a phenomenal surfer and I feel like this year she is surfing better than ever, so even when I scored my first nine, I was still scared because she could always get an 8.5 or something. That one felt really good and was definitely good for my confidence, so I’m stoked. I love competing with Steph as she always brings the best out in me. I’m really happy to be doing well here at Margaret River.”

Sally Fitzgibbons, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Former Event Winners Moore and Fitzgibbons Through to Semifinals
In a rematch of their Quarterfinal heat at last week’s Corona Bali Protected, three-time WSL Champion Moore took on 2019 CT Rookie Brisa Hennessy (CRI) for a spot in the Semifinals. The rookie clinched the last-minute win at Keramas, but Moore got redemption at Main Break. Hennessy leaves with a 5th place result, while Moore continues her hunt for a third event title heading into Finals Day.

“I had so much more respect for Brisa (Hennessy) after Keramas,” Moore said. “I knew that you couldn’t give her an inch if she needed a score, so I was definitely a little bit nervous especially when that long lull came because all she needed was one wave, but luckily, the universe was on my side this time. I really respect Lakey (Peterson) and she is on fire so our Semifinal should be fun.”

2017 event winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) eliminated current World No. 2 Caroline Marks (USA) in Quarterfinal 2. The high-scoring match-up saw Fitzgibbons put early pressure on the 17-year-old with an 8.17 (out of a possible 10) and 7.33. Marks fought back with a 5.83 and an 8.57 but needed a 6.93 score to advance. Fitzgibbons will face Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in the Semifinals.
World No. 10 Weston-Webb Finds Rhythm in WA, Dispatches World No. 3 Conlogue

After an uncharacteristically slow start to the 2019 CT season, Brasilian Title hopeful Weston-Webb guaranteed her best result of the year after taking down former Margaret River Pro winner Courtney Conlogue (USA) in the opening Quarterfinal. Weston-Webb thrived in the powerful conditions, unleashing her trademark backside re-entries to overcome to current World No. 3.

“I feel like this season so far I have had a few little mistakes that have been pretty costly because a good start is really critical for a good year,” Weston-Webb said. “It doesn’t mean that I can’t come back midway through and I’m feeling really good. Courtney (Conlogue) and I have had some amazing battles over the years. We’ve had many heats and I’m glad to get one back. She’s been doing really well especially with that win at Bells. I was super envious that I missed out on the big day at Bells, so I really wanted to make sure that I was in the Final Series here.”

John John Florence, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

John John Florence Lights Up Main Break During R/16 and Quarters

John John Florence (HAW), 2017 event winner and current World No. 1, commanded the Main Break lineup today with big victories over Italo Ferreira (BRA) in the Quarterfinals and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) in the R/16. Florence scored three excellent rides throughout the day, including his 9.23 (out of a possible 10) to beat Ferreira. Florence took the Jeep Leader Jersey off of Ferreira after Bells Beach and continues to add the pressure to the Brasilian’s World Title campaign after his win today.

Florence’s win against Zietz came with an 8.17 to combat Zietz’s 7.90. Zietz has made a name for himself in West Australia with his Perfect 10s in 2017, event victory in 2016., and standout performances in 2015. Zietz now leaves the West in 9th place, his best finish of the season.

“I got inspired by Lakey (Peterson) in the heat before,” said Florence. “She was ripping in that heat. You just have to find the ones with the clean face on it. It really gives you an edge to be able to surf the wave because there is so much bump it is hard to fit your board and find the spot. I just got lucky on some mid-size ones with clean faces.”
Replacement Caio Ibelli’s Upsets Continue at Margaret River, Eliminates Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith

After eliminating two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) yesterday, Caio Ibelli (BRA) continued his upset streak today with his win over 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA). Ibelli is the replacement surfer for injured athletes on the 2019 CT and has been subbing in for Adriano de Souza (BRA) in the first four events. Ibelli himself missed out on 2019 full-time CT qualification with an injury that occurred at this location last year. The full-time CT wildcard went to Slater this season — giving Ibelli extra motivation to win their matchup. Ibelli got the win with a 14.50 heat total to Slater’s 10.26.

Ibelli went on to face Jordy Smith (ZAF) in Quarterfinal 2. An extremely close heat saw Ibelli advance with only two-hundredths of a point separating the high-scoring heat. Smith’s 15.24 two-wave total included a critical air-reverse for an 8.07 but narrowly missed the mark over Ibelli’s two 7-point rides.

“There was so much going on in that heat,” Ibelli said. “I stepped on an urchin, I was getting hit by sea lice, cut my foot on the reef, so I was just trying to regroup the whole time. When I saw that wave coming, I knew what I wanted and then Jordy (Smith) went on the first wave and I got the best one out the back. I’m feeling so good and staying calm here. At the other events this year, I put so much pressure on myself but this event I’m just letting everything happen naturally and not trying to control everything. I’m stoked to have a rematch with John John (Florence) and am really excited for the Semifinals.”

Julian Wilson, Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Former Margaret River Pro Finalists Andino and Wilson Advance to Semifinals
Heat 3 of the Quarterfinals saw 2019 CT Rookie Seth Moniz (HAW) take on former Margaret River Pro runner-up Kolohe Andino (USA) as the wind dropped and conditions began to turn on at Main Break. Currently sitting in 5th place on the rankings, Andino is positioned to make a big jump up the Jeep Leaderboard with a solid result in Margaret River. The pair had to wait for their opportunity as the competition was placed on a temporary hold while a shark was observed adjacent to the contest zone. Once the shark was confirmed to be moving west and away from the lineup, while being monitored closely by the safety drone and jet skis, the competition resumed. Andino went into overdrive, taking down Moniz and moving on to Finals Day where he will take on Julian Wilson (AUS) in Semifinal 2.

The last heat of the day saw the last two Aussie males left in the draw, Wilson and Ryan Callinan (AUS), go head-to-head in idyllic Western Australian conditions. The pair went back and forth attempting to outdo each other, but Wilson finished with the upper hand as he continues to search for a breakthrough result in 2019.
Recent Form Runs out for Robinson and Igarashi
Local wildcard Jack Robinson’s run in his backyard was ended by good friend Moniz in Heat 5, R/16. With the event moved back to Main Break, Robinson had to show that his skills in the tube were accompanied by an impressive rail game. With the heat coming down to back-up scores, Moniz secured his Quarterfinal position with a second 7-point ride, while Robinson was left needing a 7.11. Robinson has come close to qualifying for the elite CT via the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) but has fallen short the past few years. 2019 could be Robinson’s year as he currently sits in 5th on the QS rankings (Top 10 men on the QS qualify for the CT at the end of the year).

Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) was riding on a high after his first CT win at the Corona Bali Protected last week. Unfortunately, the 21-year-old was unable to continue his run in Western Australia with a loss to Callinan in Heat 8, R/16.
The next call for the Margaret River Pro will be tomorrow, Monday, June 3 at 8:00 a.m. AWST for a possible 8:05 a.m. start. At this time, event organizers will assess the conditions and determine the day’s competition schedule.

Caio Ibelli, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 (Round 4) Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.74 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 12.14
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 13.67 DEF. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.40
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.50 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.26
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.16 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.77
Heat 5: Seth Moniz (HAW) 14.20 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 9.97
Heat 6: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.26 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.73
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.27 DEF. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 11.70
Heat 8: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.57 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 14.07

Margaret River Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 17.73 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.36
QF 2: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.26 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.25
QF 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.90 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.34
QF 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.40 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 11.60

Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Matchups:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
SF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)

Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 14.26 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.10
QF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.50 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 14.40
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.84 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 8.50
QF 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 18.83 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.16

Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal Matchups:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)


First bunch of CT folks get shown the door in WA. Solid swell looming for Saturday…

First bunch of CT folks get shown the door in WA. Solid swell looming for Saturday…

Yago Dora, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

The Margaret River Pro, Stop No. 4 on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), completed the women’s and men’s Elimination Rounds and the first five heats of the Round of 16 in three-to-five foot (0.9 – 1.5 metre) waves at Margaret River Main Break. Today’s first eliminations said goodbye to 11 surfers, including locals Mia McCarthy (AUS) and Jacob Willcox (AUS), and international competitors Johanne Defay (FRA) and Frederico Morais (PRT).

Tomorrow’s competition at Margaret River Pro has a high probability of relocating to The Box, the famed right-hand slab known for producing fast, square-shaped tubes. If the conditions continue to align, the event will likely commence at 7:40 a.m. AWST with the men’s Round of 32 at The Box.

Kelly Slater. Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Floridians Caroline Marks and Kelly Slater Dominate the Day
World No. 2 Caroline Marks (USA) showed that she means business here in Margaret River with the highest two-wave total of the entire event so far, an excellent 17.60 (out of a possible 20). The 17-year-old utilized her powerful surfing against the Main Break’s heavy walls, attacking the lip on her backhand to progress into the Quarterfinals where she will take on 2017 Margaret River Pro winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS).

Caroline Marks, Photo Dunbar/WSL.

“The conditions during our heat were so fun,” Marks said. “Having a jersey on just gives me so much confidence. I’m having the time of my life. I gave that heat my all, but I still have more left in the tank. Hopefully, the waves stay this good. I’ve been paddling out every day no matter what the conditions. I just want to spend as much time out there as possible. I’m still figuring this place out during my heats, but it has been working so hopefully it keeps working.”

In his most impressive performance of 2019, 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) posted an excellent two-wave combination of 16.50 to eliminate Australian Adrian Buchan, despite Buchan having his own excellent 8.13 (out of a possible 10). Slater will take massive confidence from this win as his heat total is not only the highest of the men’s event so far, but it was the first time this season that he posted a wave score in the excellent range. Slater progresses into the Round of 32 with opponent Caio Ibelli (BRA), who finished runner-up in the three man matchup.

“That heat came down to mindset and strategy,” Slater said. “I’ve got a board that I feel I can really push through my turns in these waves and let me put all my power into it. I really didn’t want to rush it out there. I feel like in my first heat I was all antsy and rushed, so I didn’t want to do that again. I just wanted to have fun. I just don’t think I can do this anymore if I’m not having fun, so I really need to set myself before I surf and go out there for the enjoyment of it. When I started on Tour, I didn’t think I’d be competing with guys who are my age now, but I feel like when I go into overdrive I can beat anyone.”

Sally Fitzgibbons, Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL.

Former Event Winners Fitzgibbons and Conlogue Thrive in Round of 16
Fitzgibbons eliminated Johanne Defay (FRA), winner of the 2019 Uluwatu CT, in the Heat 6 of the R/16. Fitzgibbons earned a 6.83 (out of a possible 10) and a 7.27 to leave Defay searching for excellent rides to boost her 9.20 two-wave total (out of a possible 20). Defay now leaves in Equal 9th place for the third time in 2019.

“It’s awesome to walk up those stairs with all of the names of the past winners,” Fitzgibbons said. “It’s very humbling to see my name there amongst all of those legends of the sport. To come back here reminds me a lot of home on the South Coast of NSW, so it’s very homely and a lot of warm energy. I’ve got a good team here with the Micro crew and Surfing Australia. I’m surrounded by a lot of love on the road, which is great.”

Courtney Conlogue (USA), current World No. 3, dispatched Silvana Lima (BRA), current World No. 15, in the opening R/16 heat. Lima got to an early lead, but Conlogue closed the door on the Brasilian with an increase to her scoreline (an 11.44 heat total to Lima’s 6.33 heat total) in final five minutes of the matchup. After a sidelining injury last season, Lima returned to the surfing’s elite stage earlier this month at the Corona Bali Protected and earned a 5th place result. Unfortunately, Lima was unable to take down the former Margaret River Pro winner and exits in 9th place.

Wildcard McCarthy and Rookie Callaghan Exit in Equal 17th
Trials winner and Margaret River local Mia McCarthy (AUS) put up a valiant fight against two seasoned CT veterans, Defay and Lima, in the opening elimination heat of the day. McCarthy showcased her sharp form but faced elimination as their experience prevailed.

After a disappointing opening round heat, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) came swinging back with a 7.33 to start her redemption run. Macaulay held her lead through the majority of the heat until fellow Australian Nikki Van Dijk scored a 7.00, in addition to a mid-range back-up score, to earn first and deal rookie Macy Callaghan (AUS) back-to-back last-place finishes after the Corona Bali Protected.

Jack Robinson, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Heavy blows started early in the men’s Elimination Round 2 with wildcard Jack Robinson (AUS) won his heat after missing his Seeding Round heat due to travel. Robinson dispatched compatriots Jack Freestone and 2018 CT Rookie of the Year Wade Carmichael. Robinson hammered into the dangerous final section, which solidified his win and completed a hefty upset to Carmichael.

“I had a really long transit of 34 hours to get back here and surf in this event, but that doesn’t worry me one bit,” Robinson said. “I just had to get out there and get the best waves and enjoy competing on the home court and have some fun. It’s always good to be home. I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It looks good for The Box so it’s going to be on. I’m going super hard on the Qualifying Series this year so to get this opportunity to surf against everyone here is great.”

Leonardo Fioravanti, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

In 2016, Margaret River helped provide a platform for Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) to catapult into the limelight after taking down 11-time WSL Champion Slater. Today, Fioravanti showed he still has the prowess in Main Break lineup with a clutch performance over Michel Bourez (FRA) and trials winner Jacob Willcox (AUS). The Italian put his name in the excellent range to close out the heat as he looks to better a Quarterfinal result.

Deteriorating conditions forced event organizers to pause the competition eleven minutes into R/16, Heat 6 with Malia Manuel (HAW) and Brisa Hennessy (CRI). Instead of restarting the heat, the heat will resume in more favorable conditions at the time paused when the Margaret River Pro R/16 continues.

The next call will be tomorrow, Saturday, June 1 at 7:30 a.m. AWST for a possible 7:40 a.m. start at The Box. At this time, event organizers will assess the conditions and decide the day’s competition schedule.

The Margaret River Pro will be broadcast LIVE on and . Also check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

Silvana Lima, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Margaret River Pro Women’s Elimination Round (Round 2) Results:
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.10 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.40, Mia McCarthy (AUS) 9.13
Heat 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 12.40 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 11.00, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 9.00

Margaret River Pro Women’s Round of 16 (Round 3) Results:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.44 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.33
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.50 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 6.30
Heat 3: Caroline Marks (USA) 17.60 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.10
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.10 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 9.20
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.34 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.17

Margaret River Pro Remaining Women’s Round of 16 (Round 3) Matchups:
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Heat 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 8: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinals Matchups:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. TBD
Heat 4: TBD vs. TBD

Margaret River Pro Men’s Elimination Round (Round 2) Results:
Heat 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) 12.60 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.83, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.67
Heat 2: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15.34 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 13.00, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 11.23
Heat 3: Yago Dora (BRA) 14.66 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.77, Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.46
Heat 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.50 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.40, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.93

Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 32 (Round 3) Matchups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 6: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 13: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 14: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 15: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 16: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)

Nikki Van Dijk, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Day one of the Corona Bali Protected at Keramas…

Day one of the Corona Bali Protected at Keramas…

Italo Ferreira (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

The Corona Bali Protected, the third stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), got an early start and completed the men’s and women’s Seeding Round (Round 1) on opening day. The competitors showcased their flair in the three-to-four foot (1 – 1.2 metre) waves at Keramas to improve their seeds and avoid the dreaded Elimination Round. The top two surfers in each heat will advance directly to Round 3 (Round of 32 for men, Round of 16 for women), while the third place finishers will go to the Elimination Round (Round 2).
Local Wildcard Rio Waida Upsets with Early Heat Win, Kailani Johnson Relegated to Elimination Round
Wildcard Rio Waida (IDN) may have taken out the heat of his career so far, defeating two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and CT Rookie Deivid Silva (BRA) in their Round 1 matchup. Fresh off an equal third-place finish at the 2018 World Junior Championship, the 19-year-old Indonesian had his opportunity to perform on the big stage today and he capitalized on the opportunity. Waida’s intimate knowledge of Keramas was evident as the low tide conditions made things tough for the internationals who struggled to fire. Waida progresses into the Round of 32, where his next opponent will be determined after men’s Elimination Round 2 closes.

“I was so nervous before that heat but not because of my opponents but just because this is the CT,” Waida said. “I tried to forget about the fact it was Deivid (Silva) and Gabriel (Medina) in my heat and wanted to just focus on me and Keramas. It definitely feels good to have made it into the Round of 32 and I think I’ll feel more relaxed heading into my next heat. I know I’ll be up against another high seed but I know this wave better than most people so once again I’ll just focus on my surfing and the wave of Keramas.”

Unfortunately, Kailani Johnson (IDN) did not find the same wildcard success as Waida and will surf again in Round 2 of the Corona Bali Protected. After her Round 1 heat today against seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Johnson became the first Indonesian woman to ever compete in the Championship Tour event. Johnson will be against three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) and Paige Hareb (NZL) in Heat 1 of the

Stephanie Gilmore (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Elimination Round when competition resumes.

“It’s really cool to see the WSL award a wildcard to the highest Indonesian on the QS,” Gilmore said. “It really shows a commitment to grow surfing in a region where it’s not as popular. You could really see that yesterday with the Rising Tides event. There were so many young Indonesian girls participating and they all surfed so well, but Kailani is obviously leading the pack, so to surf against her in a heat was really special. She seemed nervous before the heat so as we paddled out I gave her a smile and just said, ‘Let’s have fun, we’ve got Keramas to ourselves.’ Then when we got out there she was straight to the peak and hustling for priority, so it shows that you can’t underestimate these girls because they’re hungry and they want it. She is a really accomplished surfer and it is awesome to see her compete on this level.”

“My first heat was actually really fun,” said Johnson. “It was a little bit slow but I am glad when the waves actually came they were fun. I did not make my first heat, but I am so lucky that there is another one and I get another chance to go out there and try my best. I did not know what to expect, but there was so much support when I came in. It was really lovely to see the whole community come out for not only me but Rio’s (Waida) heat, as well.”

Brasilians Toledo and Ferreira Light Up Keramas

Filipe Toledo (BRA) threw down an incredible performance in the shifting Keramas peaks in Heat 5 of Round 1 (Seeding Round). As to be expected, Toledo combined his lightning-fast rail game with his technical aerials to post an excellent heat total of 16.17 (out of a possible 20) to progress directly into the Round of 32 (Round 3).

“To land moves like that takes a lot of training,” Toledo said. “I grew up watching all of the air guys and surfing with my brother who had a lot of tricks, so I had a lot of inspiration to work hard at landing stuff like that. I love combinations, like a big carve to an air, or a barrel to a turn, which Keramas is really good for. I was just stoked to find that section out there and to be able to launch that air.”

Reigning Corona Bali Protected event winner Italo Ferreira (BRA) started where he left off at Keramas, taking out his opening matchup against compatriot Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Ezekiel Lau (HAW). Ferreira progressed with an uncharacteristically low heat total but knows he still has plenty left in the tank when he hits the water in the Round of 32.

“I’m so happy to be back here again and start with a win,” Ferreira said. “A week ago I hurt my ankle and was a bit worried about surfing in this event but am feeling really good now so I’m really happy. The waves were fun today so I can’t wait to surf my next heat here at Keramas.”
Ricardo Christie Proudly Wears Māori Flag on CT Jersey

Ricardo Christie (NZL) took out his Seeding Round matchup against Wade Carmichael (AUS) and rookie Seth Moniz (HAW) with an epic mixture of power and progression. Today’s heat win was special for Christie because he now represents his Māori heritage on his competition jersey sleeve along with the New Zealand flag on the other.

“I saw that Soli (Bailey) was representing his Indigenous Australian flag and realized that it would be an option for me to do as well,” Christie said. “I contacted WSL and they were really helpful in getting it organized, but we didn’t think it would all be ready to go until the middle of the season, so it was a really special moment when I got here and saw it on my sleeve. My Māori heritage comes on my mother’s side and I was brought up in a small, vastly Māori community, so I have so much respect for our culture and I’m really proud to represent my Māori heritage. I have been working hard this year to do my best but having the flag on my sleeve today definitely gave me a little bit of extra motivation.”

John John Florence (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Jeep Frontrunners Florence and Marks Fly Through Opening Heats

Current World No. 1 John John Florence (HAW) got his Corona Bali Protected campaign off to a good start today with a win in his opening heat of the Seeding Round. Florence surfed with confidence, boosting a huge full-rotation air-reverse to progress into the Round of 32 with Michael Rodrigues (BRA). Italian star Leonardo Fioravanti earned third in the heat and will be left to do battle in Elimination Round 2.

Not even a dreaded illness could stop current Jeep Frontrunner Caroline Marks (USA) in her opening heat of the Corona Bali Protected. Marks barely got a chance to watch the surf before her heat as she was focused on overcoming her sickness, but it didn’t matter as she cured her ailments with a dominant performance over Coco Ho (HAW) and Silvana Lima (BRA), who made her first CT appearance in 2019 after returning from a knee injury.

“I wasn’t feeling great this morning and wasn’t really too focused on that heat, so I’m stoked I just pulled the trigger and got out there,” Marks said. “Being in the yellow Jeep Leader Jersey feels really good. I’m here with my family just enjoying Bali and surfing heaps, which is just keeping me really excited. It’s also great having my coach Mike Parsons here. I didn’t even look at the waves because I felt so sick just before the heat and he just told me what to do and it worked. I’m so grateful to have him my corner.”

Caroline Marks (Photo by Cait Miers/WSL via Getty Images)

Veterans Find Rhythm in Clean Conditions

11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) claimed his first Seeding Round victory of the season against Kolohe Andino (USA) and Ryan Callinan (AUS). 2018 event runner-up Michel Bourez (FRA) also advanced with his win over CT sophomores Griffin Colapinto (USA) and Willian Cardoso (BRA).

Keramas standout Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) dominated the Seeding Round with the highest two-wave combination of the women’s event. The veteran impressed the judges with her use of innovation as she landed an impressive air-reverse to win her heat and progress into the Round of 16.

One of the strongest performances of the Seeding Round went to South African Jordy Smith, who posted the second highest two-wave combinations of the men’s Seeding Round, a 14.00 point total. Smith fired a warning shot across his competitors showing that his aggressive brand of power surfing is very well suited to the high-performance walls of Keramas.

In addition to the veterans’ success, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Mikey Wright (AUS) were the sole rookies who won their opening heats today.
The next call for the Corona Bali Protected and the Red Bull Airborne Bali will be tomorrow, Tuesday, May 14, at 6:20 a.m. WITA for a possible 6:35 a.m. start. At this time, event organizers will reassess the conditions to decide the day’s competition schedule.

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 1 (Seeding Round) Results:
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 11.50 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.16, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 7.47
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.00 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.44, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.04
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.90 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.60, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.74
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.50 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.97, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 7.80
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.17 DEF. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 10.40, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 7.60
Heat 6: Rio Waida (IDN) 9.60 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.54, Deivid Silva (BRA) 6.77
Heat 7: Yago Dora (BRA) 11.63 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.33, Soli Bailey (AUS) 9.50
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) 11.24 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.00, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 8.17
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.66 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.23, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.67
Heat 10: Ricardo Christie (NZL) 11.93 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.63, Seth Moniz (HAW) 5.10
Heat 11: Mikey Wright (AUS) 12.00 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 9.50, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 1.77
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA) 12.43 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 9.63, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 8.73

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 2 (Elimination Round) Matchups:
Heat 1: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 2: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 3: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)

Corona Bali Protected Women’s Round 1 (Seeding Round) Results:
Heat 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.60 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 10.90, Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.44
Heat 2: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 13.73 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 12.97, Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.10
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 9.77 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 6.36, Kailani Johnson (IDN) 4.73
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.13 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.34, Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.57
Heat 5: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.34 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.53, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 3.80
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.96 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 10.90, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.87

Corona Bali Protected Women’s Round 2 (Elimination Round) Matchups:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Kailani Johnson (IDN)
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)

ack Freestone. (Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Stephanie Gilmore(Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL via Getty Images)

Favourites dominate in chunky Bells…

Favourites dominate in chunky Bells…

As much as the time difference makes watching this comp a pain in the derriere for us Brits it is definitely worth the toothpicks propping my tired eyelids open this morning. Bells roared to ugly, fascinating life after a swell starved event and it was a sight to behold. Actual carnage, jetski rescues, or not in the case of Italo, abandoned to his fate. John and Gabe dominated, whoever wins their quarter final match up tonight will win the event, and both attacked the end section closeout with a gusto that was a pleasure to watch. This was raw surfing, windy, big, unruly waves that left some lost at sea. Others frothed, Caroline Marks was particularly impressive in the womens. Calling a Courtney/Caroline final with the youngster taking the top spot again. Can anyone hear the words ‘world title’ in the wind?

The highlights clips from the latter rounds haven ‘t dropped yet but here are some good wipeouts…


The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Stop No. 2 on the 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), witnessed some of the biggest surf the event has seen since the historic 1981 contest. The world’s best surfers took on pumping 10-to-12 foot (3 – 3.6 metre) waves with 15-foot (4.5 metre) sets at Bells Beach, narrowing the draw to the final four women and final eight men.

The huge surf encouraged groundbreaking performances – not without its carnage – in the women’s Quarterfinals and men’s Round of 32 and 16. Now, the conditions and matchups have aligned for an epic Finals Day tomorrow, most likely starting at 7:05 a.m. AEST.

Courtney Conlogue, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Final Four Decided in Pumping Conditions at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Two-time Bells winner Courtney Conlogue (USA) eliminated Carissa Moore (HAW), three-time Bells winner and three-time WSL Champion, in the second Quarterfinal. Moore waited patiently in the big shifty conditions while Conlogue got busy and attacked the solid Bells’ walls to put Moore in a combination situation. Conlogue, who is yet to lose a heat at Bells since 2016 (wins in 2016, 2017, injured in 2018), will take on fellow Californian Lakey Peterson (USA) in Semifinal 1.

“I just had a few personal goals for myself during that heat,” Conlogue said. “I felt like I had been surfing well this event but hadn’t had a rhythm yet, so my goal was to go out there and find a rhythm and have some fun. These are the conditions that I love to surf in because they are wild and wooly waves that test you. I changed my equipment a little and it all seemed to work well. ”

Malia Manuel (HAW) guaranteed her first Semifinal appearance at Bells, after eliminating seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), who was hoping to clinch back-to-back Bells title this year. Manuel controlled the heat in its entirety as Gilmore struggled to find a wave that offered any opportunity. Manuel looked comfortable in the massive surf and will move into the Semifinals, guaranteeing a career-best start to the season after finishing Equal 3rd on the Gold Coast earlier this month.

“I survived the 50-year storm today, which is great,” Manuel said. “I had a bigger board, which definitely helped with paddling and then when I was on the wave the extra rail really helped control all of the speed. Coming from Hawaii means I’ve got good experience on bigger boards and in bigger surf. Getting back-to-back Semifinals is so good for the confidence and I’d love to keep it going and push for a World Title.”

Caroline Marks, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Americans Peterson and Caroline Marks continued to stamp their authority on the 2019 Championship Tour, both dominating their Quarterfinal heats to grab a spot in the Semifinals. Peterson dispatched of Hawaii’s Coco Ho while Marks took down 2019 CT Rookie Brisa Hennessy (CRI). At this time last year, Peterson wore the Jeep Leader Jersey at World No. 1, now 17-year-old Marks holds the lead and her success at Bells could keep her in the top spot.

Men’s World Champions Medina, Florence, and Slater Through to Quarters

Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) separated himself from the field in the massive waves at the Bells Bowl today, posting a series of excellent scores across Rounds 3 and 4 to book himself a spot in the Quarterfinals. Out of the five 9-point-plus single wave scores (out of a possible 10) scored this year, four belong to Medina, whose commitment and attack in the big intense surf was undeniable.

“I got so worked and took a couple of sets on the head, so I’m really tired right now,” Medina said. “It’s a good size and hard to hang in there with a lot of water moving. That’s what happens when it’s like this, sometimes you break the board or a leash, but I love it like this. It would be a dream come true to win a Bell. I grew up watching my idols winning this one and it would mean a lot to me and to do it for Brasil.”

John John Florence, Photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL

Fellow two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) was not to be outdone and posted his own brilliance with a near-perfect 18.16 heat total (out of a possible 20) to seal a victory over Owen Wright (AUS). Florence was on fire, but Wright battled with an impressive heat total of 16.97 to narrowly finish runner-up. Florence was lucky to compose himself after he was washed over the button and past Bells Beach down to Winkipop, having to be picked up by the water safety.

“It’s so big out there right now and it’s pretty scary,” Florence said. “There’s so much water moving around and you’re ending up so close to the shelf at Winki. Bells feels similar to Hawaii for me. This wave has a lot of power to it and it’s windy. In Hawaii, we tune all our boards for that. These waves are fun for me because you’re going so fast. You don’t have to generate any of the speed. You can really set your rail if you get a clean face on it. In waves like this everyone has to change their entire game plan. It’s a different mindset. I’m super stoked to go up against Gabe (Medina) in my next matchup. He’s been ripping and dropping some massive scores. Hopefully, the waves are still pumping.”

Fresh off an early round loss at Stop No.1 on the Gold Coast, 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) navigated the huge surf at Bells Beach to progress into the Quarterfinals. Slater looked relaxed in the shifty surf to take down 2019 CT Rookie Peterson Crisanto (BRA). Moving into the final day of competition, Slater will have to overcome Ryan Callinan (AUS) if he is to have a solid tilt at claiming his fifth Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach title.

“It’s wild and wooly out there today and there are some massive waves coming through,” Slater said “I got smashed by a few and think if I saw waves that big in Hawaii, I’d be so scared. I still don’t feel like I’ve got any momentum going really. I kind of just got through that heat. I changed boards halfway through and couldn’t get anything right, so feel lucky to get through and am glad to get into the Quarterfinals. I’ve got a lot of good memories here at Bells. It’s hard to choose the best one. Obviously, winning my first Bell is up there, then there’s the Final with Mick Fanning, even though he won it, was just a great heat, and it was the day that MP (Michael Peterson) passed away – it’s definitely a special place.”

Broken Boards and Committed Turns in Men’s Eliminations Rounds 3 and 4

Filipe Toledo (BRA) bounced back from his poor result on the Gold Coast and now has a shot at a maiden Bells Title on Finals Day tomorrow. Quarterfinal 4 will see the only two former Bells winners left in the men’s draw go head-to-head with Jordy Smith (ZAF) battling Italo Ferreira (BRA).

Italo Ferreira, Photo by Kelly Cestari/WSL

Wildcard Jacob Willcox (AUS) continued his stunning run through the event, this time delivering a loss to rookie Deivid Silva (BRA). CT comeback-kid Callinan also guaranteed his best finish as a full-time competitor (defeating USA’s Conner Coffin) locking into the Quarterfinals where he will take on Slater.
The final call for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be tomorrow at 6:40 a.m. AEST, when event organizers will decide the event’s start time (likely 7:05 a.m. AEST) with men’s Quarterfinals, followed by the women’s and men’s Semifinals, and the women’s and men’s Finals.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.67 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 8.16
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.17 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 9.37
Heat 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.77 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 8.70
Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA) 11.83 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 5.97

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Women’s Semifinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Remaining Men’s Round 3 (H9-16) Results:
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.03 DEF. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 7.80
Heat 10: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.20 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 9.63
Heat 11: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.10 DEF. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.07
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) 17.67 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.24
Heat 13: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.76 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.10
Heat 14: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.03 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.44
Heat 15: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.07 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.93
Heat 16: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.10 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 13.27

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men’s Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 10.80 DEF. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 6.87
Heat 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.93 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 9.93
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.10 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 7.13
Heat 4: Jacob Willcox (AUS) 11.80 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 10.04
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.27 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 7.76
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 18.16 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 16.97
Heat 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.20 DEF. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 6.03
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.10 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 11.03

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)

Italo post horror show, photo by Matt Dunbar/WSL