LEMOORE, Calif./USA (Thursday, May 3, 2018) - The World Surf League (WSL) is geared up for a groundbreaking weekend with the inaugural Founders' Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold. Taking place at the WSL Surf Ranch, powered by Kelly Slater Technology, 5,000-strong capacity crowds are expected to watch USA, Brazil, Australia, Europe and World Teams compete on the best man-made wave in history over the two-day competition and festival, May 5-6.
In a series of WSL firsts - the first time the WSL Surf Ranch opens its doors to the public, the first live national broadcast, and the first co-ed, continental team-based competition format - the WSL Founders' Cup of Surfing pres. by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold will introduce an exciting new dimension to competition this weekend in Central California.
Meet the Teams
Australia Team is perhaps one of the strongest on paper with 11 World Titles between Captain Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, and back-to-back WSL Champion Tyler Wright, and Matt Wilkinson.
Brazil Team boasts two of the world's most exciting surfers with Team Captain Gabriel Medina, 2014 WSL Champion, and Filipe Toledo, winner of five Championship Tour (CT) events. Joining the two are 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza, seasoned veteran Silvana Lima, and one of the country's best up-and-comers, Tiana Hinckel.
Europe Team has a combination of talent that spans across the continent, including one of the world's best tuberiders, Jeremy Flores (FRA); 2017 CT rookies Frederico Morais (PRT) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA); a Californian charger representing her German heritage in Frankie Harrer (DEU); and led by Johanne Defay (FRA), one of the most consistent and progressive women on the CT.
USA Team looks to keep the inaugural Founders' Cup on home soil with the wave system visionary himself, 11x WSL Champion Kelly Slater. This is his first event back after sustaining a foot injury last year. He leads a strong team of American surfers including back-to-back WSL Champion John John Florence, 3x WSL Champion Carissa Moore, and the two Californians Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara), and CT veteran Kolohe Andino (San Clemente).
The World Team are not lacking in any manner when looking across the five-team format as 2017's World No. 2 Jordy Smith (ZAF) captains a hefty team with the likes of fellow South African Bianca Buitendag, Tahitian powerhouse Michel Bourez, third-year CT competitor and representing his Japanese heritage Kanoa Igarashi, and the veteran talent out of New Zealand, Paige Hareb.
Entertainment Highlights On the music front, Founders' Cup attendees will be treated to Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell DJ'ing Sunday's Finals; Benjamin Booker's blues/boogie/soul headlining performance Sunday, and musical act DAVIE on Saturday. Throughout the weekend, don't miss Clean Spill, The Alive!, DJs Adam 12, Aric Christopher, and HOFF.
Fans should check out the live art installations from renowned artists such as the Haas Brothers whose work will be on view from an island in the middle of Perkins Lake in the festival grounds. Using giant paper flowers and 12' tall characters, Niki and Simon Haas will transform the land into "Haas Island." HULA, aka Sean Yoro, is a self-taught artist and one of Forbes' 2018 '30 Under 30'. Hula will be painting an 8'H x 15'W piece while floating on his paddle board. French duo, Marynn and Little Madi from Biarritz, France, will combine their styles to create an 8' H x 24'L custom mural. Stop by the beach barge along Perkins Lake to view "Every Board Has a Story," a surf inspired art installation and the perfect Instagram photo op! All of the art installations were produced by Alison Palevsky & Jennifer Whitmer of The Keen Experience and are entirely unique to the WSL.
How to Watch
Nationwide, surf fans can watch the Founders' Cup live on CBS from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. PST (2 p.m. - 3 p.m. EST); and the entire event live-streamed across new WSL partner, Turner Sports' Bleacher Report Live, and on WSL platforms, WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL app.
Globally, the WSL's Facebook page will live stream the event, and the event will be broadcast on television in more than 100 countries.
Thanks to Our Partners
Thanks to presenting partner Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, fans can enjoy great views of the competition from the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Impact Zone at the North End of the pool. Share your stoke with the perfect selfie, free giveaways, and an ice cold Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold. Or, if you're looking for a place to cool off in between waves, head over to the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Breaker Bar at the South end of Perkins Lake near Partner Village to catch some shade, more free giveaways, games and more.
Take an adventure with Jeep® Ambassadors Jordy Smith and Malia Manuel in the new "Jeep Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360°," which will be featured in Jeep® brand's Virtual Reality activation located in the Partner Village. Jeep Ambassadors Jordy Smith and Tyler Wright will be stopping by the activation for a meet & greet / signing session.
T-Mobile is setting up the Un-carrier Lounge in the heart of the WSL Surf Ranch, with great views of the competition, a phone charging bar, and custom giveaways. The carrier is also the presenting partner of the in-broadcast Barrel timer and "Dialed Moments" series, featuring Founders' Cup athletes' previous best rides on Kelly Slater's wave.
Stop by the Quiksilver tent in Partner Village to check out the latest in boardshorts and gear, get a free hat, and enter for a chance to win a $500 gift card.
LifeProof will be bringing out their full suite of products including their FRĒ Cases, AQ9 Speakers, Battery Packs, Charging Cables, and New Backpacks.
WSL PURE, the WSL's non-profit ocean conservation program, will promote its NGO partner Surfrider Foundation onsite in Lemoore with the Founders and through the event broadcast.
About WSL Surf Ranch
The WSL Surf Ranch facility, which was revealed online to the public in December 2015, boasts the best man-made wave in history - a 700-yard, high-performance, bi-directional wave featuring barrel sections and maneuver sections. Primarily existing as a testing facility, the Lemoore site has spent the past two years dialing in the technology under the guidance of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and feedback from visiting WSL surfers. A private test event last September proved very successful, paving the way for the Founders' Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold to be the first time the public will be allowed onto the grounds.
For more information, please visit WSLFoundersCup.com.