The 2018 Championship Tour season was unlike any other. From unexpected losses to monumental celebrations -- these images document just a few of the milestones made over the 9 month span.
WSL staff photographers Kelly Cestari, Ed Sloane and Damien Poullenot dig through their archives:
"Patrick Gudauskas during the Billabong Pipe Masters. This was THE wave of the event for me. Pat might not have come out of that thing but the vision was just as good as if he had which I am sure he wished that wave allowed him to get out. Just look at him all casual with the good vibes enjoying the moment before the imminent beat down."
"Ten World Titles between these ladies! Stephanie Gilmore had won her 7th World Title and 3x World Champion Carissa Moore had won the Beachwaver Maui Pro for the third time in her career with a perfect ten in the Final."
"I wanted to get a shot of how eager everyone was for the GOAT to be back in action at J-Bay. The lineup is literally a stones throw from the spectators so finding some fans was the easy part, lining Kelly Slater up between their heads was the tricky part but it worked out."
"Yago Dora during the airshow at the Surf Ranch Pro. The airshow took place at the end of the day's competition and I knew light was going to be an issue but despite that I wanted to be there right till the very end to avoid missing out on anything amazing. I enjoy this one as it's that dusk light and a glimpse of the fading action as if to say, thats it for the day, see you tomorrow."
"If there was a medical procedure for humans to get gills, I would do it. I love underwater images, it's probably my favorite. This is a simple paddle by at the Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o and sometimes it's the simple things in life we enjoy the most."
"The opening ceremony for the Corona Open J-Bay - Men's is always a great song and dance. This year stepped it up a bit with the ceremony taking place in the Corona tent, the light was good enough to get some stock images and then "bad" enough to allow for some creative light play. The dancers put so much energy into their display that a slow shutter was my way of translating that energy into a still image."
"The 2018 Beachwaver Maui Pro was the first time I'd ever been there and I really lucked out, dreamy conditions from start to finish."
"When I'm working for the WSL there's a requirement for tighter, press style imagery which can often be difficult due to distance, lighting etc ... Keramas and Teahupo'o are the two benchmark events that make this approach to image creation as easy as possible, particularly in the mornings when they're front lit."
"Gabriel Medina just took a wave on the buzzer in the Final of the Tahiti Pro. He went through all the emotions but then finally the score came! It was a privilege to share the moment with him. Then Charlie went to congratulate him. It might have been the moment that changed the course of the year and open the road to his 2nd World Title."
"Michael February is a special man on Tour and has a really different style and mood than other surfers. Tahiti was mostly flat this year and I spent a lot of time shooting underwater stuff during lay days. I just love this moment!"
"I have never been able to shoot an epic Nazare paddle session. When I saw the forecast I thought it was going to be too small for a big wave event but finally the swell arrived and it was insane, about as big as it could have been without it needing to be a tow-in session. I was in shock with the commitment of the surfers. I was holding my breath with them on every wipeout. They really redefine, for me, the standard of Big wave surfing ... especially Lucas Chianca and Natxo Gonzalez who were surfing like they were small waves!"
"It was my first CT event of the year and you never know what to expect in Brazil, but I was not expecting such great waves and I think that event made everyone realize that Brazil has good waves. I love these conditions, reminds me of my home spot at La Gravière!"
"Medina just lost in the Semifinals against Italo Ferreira during the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal and lost the hopes to win the World Title in Europe."