The 2015 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour season kicks off February 28 on Australia's Gold Coast, where reigning World Champions Gabriel Medina (BRA) and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) also happen to be the defending event champs. As the Top 34 men and Top 17 women prepare to surf Down Under, see some of the biggest moments from last year's event there:
Courtney Conlogue's Two-fer
Josh Kerr (AUS) claimed the first nine-point ride of the season last year with an impressive wave at Snapper. And Carissa Moore (HAW) earned the first 9.00 on the women's Tour. But Courtney Conlogue (USA) was the first surfer from either tour to earn two nine-point rides in one heat.
Fanning's Big Scores
The 2013 World Champion Mick Fanning had a rough start to the 2014 season, finding himself in the unfamiliar territory of Rounds 2 and 5 -- both elimination rounds. But before his eventual loss in the Quarterfinals, he managed to grab two excellent-range scores with a 9.17 and 9.23 in Round 5, leading some fans to hope that he might have been able to find a place on the podium.
Who ended Fanning's bid for a hometown victory? A young Brazilian named Gabriel Medina, then known by only a few as the previous season's 14th-place finisher. But Medina appeared to have grown in both strength and ability when he topped the three-time World Champion in Round 4 and again in the Quarterfinals. His win didn't put a damper on his friendship with Fanning: The two were happy housemates at Rip Curl's Hawaii pad many months later.
Medina vs. Parkinson
Medina appeared to have his work cut out for him against 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson in the Final. Parkinson opened the heat with a jaw-dropping 9.00. He ultimately fell victim to Medina, however, by a difference of .06 points in what would be Medina's first step toward his first World Title.
Gilmore's Strong Start
Stephanie Gilmore came out a little too aggressive at last year's Gold Coast event, earning an interference call in her first heat of the season. But she calmed her nerves and proceeded to win every heat from there on out. Though Gilmore won the World Title in 2014, there were at least three women hot on her heels through the Final of the last event of the year.
With a two-month offseason and a fresh slate, the quest for a World Title begins again February 28. Watch the action unfold LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com.