- WSL / Ed Sloane
- WSL / Ed Sloane

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.

While it all led to Gabriel Medina claiming his 2nd World Title at Pipe and Stephanie Gilmore winning her record tying 7th World Title in Maui, there were a lot of missteps along the way.

WSL staff photographers Kelly Cestari, Ed Sloane and Damien Poullenot dig through their archives:

Kelly Cestari:

Patrick Gudauskas (USA) is eliminated from the 2018 Billabong Pipe Masters with an equal 25 finish after placing second in Heat 10 of Round 2 at Pipeline, Oahu, Hawaii, USA. Patrick Gudauskas - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"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."

7X World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and 3X World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) celebrate their successes at 2018 Beachwaver Maui Pro at Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, USA. Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"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."

11X World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) is eliminated from the 2018 Corona Open J-Bay with an equal 25th finish after placing second in Heat 4 of Round 2 at Supertubes, Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. Kelly Slater at the 2018 Corona Open J-Bay. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"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 Yago Dora - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"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."

Mikey Wright (AUS) advances to Round 3 of the 2018 Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o after winning Heat 4 of Round 2 at Teahupo'o. Mikey Wright - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"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."

Traditioanal African dancers opening the 2018 Corona Open J-Bay at Supertubes, South Africa. African dancers - WSL / Kelly Cestari

"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."

Ed Sloane:

Mick Fanning of Australia placed second in the final of the Rip Curl Pro, Bells Beach, 2018. Mick Fanning and Italo Ferreira - WSL / Ed Sloane

"Italo Ferreira with Mick Fanning on the buzzer of the Final - a seriously charged moment during the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach."

Sally Fitzgibbons of Australia won Heat 1 of Round 3 at the Beachwaver Maui Pro, Honolua Bay, 2018. Sally Fitzgibbons - WSL / Ed Sloane

"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."

Griffan Colapinto of USA won Heat 5 of Round 3 of the Corona Bali Pro, 2018. Griffan Colapinto - WSL / Ed Sloane

"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."

Damien Poullenot:

Gabriel Medina (BRA) Winner of the Tahiti Pro 2018 ,Teahupoo, French Polynesia Gabriel Medina - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"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 at the 2018 Tahiti Pro. Michael February - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"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!"

Lucas Chianca and Natxo Gonzalez at Nazare. Lucas Chianca and Natxo Gonzalez - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"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!"

Jeremy Flores (FRA) advances to Round 3 of the 2018 Oi Rio Pro after winning Heat 9 of Round 2 at Barrinha, Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Jeremy Flores - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"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!"

Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) after Italo eliminated Gabriel from the event at the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2018 Gabriel Medina - WSL / Damien Poullenot

"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."

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