Stephanie Gilmore entered the Roxy Pro with the clouds of 2016 still lingering. The 6x World Champion was enduring the longest winless streak of her career in Championship Tour competition. Could she get back to the old Steph? Even she was curious to find the answer.
Carissa Moore showed up on the Gold Coast with a special coach in tow, 2001 World Champion CJ Hobgood. While she was eliminated by Steph Gilmore in the Quarterfinals -- an early exit for Moore -- her surfing at Snapper was as strong as ever. Moore typically doesn't drift lower for more than a year, so be on the lookout for a bounce back.
Sally Fitzgibbons had one of her worst seasons ever in 2016. But we saw a much more engaged version of Sally at this year's Roxy Pro. While some of the women were dejected by the storm surf that plagued Snapper, Sally's enthusiasm never faded, and that optimism was on display in her surfing too.
Sally Fitzgibbons lights up most of the places she goes with this smile. It's obviously a lot more contagious after a huge heat win.
Nikki Van Dijk was the first one to remind fans that the season starts anew at Snapper. She delivered that message in the form of an impressive win over reigning World Champion Tyler Wright in Round One.
Johanne Defay has firmly climbed into the contender category on the women's side. The woman from Reunion Island is best known for her lethal backhand, but it was her frontside whip that earned her a trip to the Semifinals at Snapper. Keep your eyes on this one.
Lakey Peterson had good reason to be motivated for the Roxy Pro. She missed it last year after suffering a broken ankle in the pre-season. She had plenty of down time to envision herself coming back strong at Snapper. She'd tap into that vision before every heat, too.
Stephanie Gilmore's utter domination at her home break is an inspirational sight to behold. It's not just her ability to pull moves like this...it's also her uncanny ability to wrangle tons of waves from the most ferocious free-surfing lineup on earth.
Nikki Van Dijk displayed a noticeable boost in confidence this year at Snapper. It's exactly the kind of swagger she's going to need to get some upward mobility on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Lakey Peterson grew up surfing Santa Barbara's renowned right point breaks, so it shouldn't have come as a surprise that she did well at Snapper. The Californian is back at full speed this year, and she's got her eyes squarely on the big prize.
Stephanie Gilmore is always ready to park it in the tube at Snapper Rocks and when she does, you can bet she's doing it with the kind of style that's been refined by long, long, periods of practice.
Tyler Wright's clearly soaking it all in this year. After her heartfelt speech at the WSL Awards Banquet her entire family stuck around for the season opener at Snapper. While Tyler lost in the Quarterfinals, she got over it quickly. Owen's baby, Vali, helped. But Owen did some pretty good cheering up himself.
Stephanie Gilmore's ride up the beach was especially sweet this year. After a couple of rough years filled with injuries and doubts, she'll be looking to capitalize on this win just as she has so many times before. In fact, in four out of her five previous wins at Snapper, she went on to win the World Title.