COOLANGATTA, Queensland/AUS (Wednesday, April 3, 2019) - The 2019 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) season will officially open tomorrow at the Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast. The event will launch what is set to be one of the biggest years in surfing yet with equal prize money, Olympic qualification, and a new level of progression from the world's best surfers.
World's Best Surfers Ready for Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast
2018 WSL Champions Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) are ready to kick off their World Title campaigns wearing the Jeep Leader Jersey at Stop No. 1.
Seven-time Champion Gilmore now leads a dangerous group of women who are ready to push the limits and make their mark on surfing. The field includes Lakey Peterson (USA), who is ranked No. 2 to Gilmore after falling short of the Championship last season. But now, Peterson holds the advantage of being the 2018 Gold Coast event winner. The American is excited to get the season underway and be one step closer to achieving her World Title goal.
"I want to win the World Title this year -- it's always the goal," Peterson said. "My mindset is very similar to last year, but I definitely had a lot of breakthroughs not only with my surfing but with what I learned from being in the World Title race. There is always such an electric atmosphere around this event with it being the first one of the year. The warm water, the early mornings and the beauty of the Gold coast all make for a really exciting competition for the fans and for us, the surfers. This is such an iconic place for surfing, so I'm really happy to be back and starting the season for 2019."
Hailing from Queensland, Julian Wilson (AUS) has always had the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast on his bucket list of events to win and in 2018 he achieved this dream, winning the event in pumping waves on the point at Kirra. Having finished the 2018 season just short of taking his maiden World Title, Wilson is poised for another perfect start in 2019 as he prepares for one of his favorite stops on the elite CT.
"This is the closest event to my home and it's held in waves that are really similar to ones I grew up surfing on the Sunshine Coast, so it's definitely the dream event for me," Wilson said. "The best part is it's the one event in the world that my father comes to watch and it's one that I used to come and watch as a kid so there are plenty of great memories here. It's always exciting to kick the year off and see where everyone's form is at and get a first glimpse of the rookies on the big stage. I can't wait to pull on the jersey and get the season started."
Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Wildcards: Reef Heazlewood, Mateus Herdy, and Isabella Nichols
Mateus Herdy (BRA), 2018 World Junior Champion, has been selected by Quiksilver as the Quiksilver Pro wildcard. Herdy will come up against Gabriel Medina and Ryan Callinan in Heat 6 of Round 1 when the competition gets underway. Aussie upstart Reef Heazlewood (AUS) will be the second event wildcard after winning the trials today and will take on fellow Sunny Coaster Julian Wilson (AUS) and 2019 CT Rookie Seth Moniz (HAW).
Trials winner Isabella Nichols (AUS) will compete in the Boost Mobile Pro as the wildcard. She will face Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Paige Hareb (NZL) in Round 1 Heat 3.
Tyler Wright (AUS), two-time WSL Champion, has withdrawn from the first half of the season and will be replaced by Keely Andrew (AUS). Silvana Lima (BRA) will be out of this event due to an ongoing knee injury and will be replaced by Sage Erickson (USA).
2015 WSL World Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) has withdrawn from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and the entire Australian leg with a knee injury and will be replaced by countryman Caio Ibelli (BRA).
CT Stars Team Up with Local Indigenous Surfers For Annual Juraki Challenge
After an inspiring Welcome to Country ceremony, CT surfers joined forces with some Indigenous Australian surfers for the Juraki Challenge Teams Men's and Women's Heats.
Juraki is an Indigenous not-for-profit community organization committed to creating, supporting and partnering in community activities, programs and events that give Indigenous children opportunities. Today they paired four young men and four young women with CT surfers for two action packed heats. Carissa Moore (HAW) won her second Juraki Challenge in a row with her partner Jalaan Slabb, and Soli Bailey (AUS) took the win with his young partner Julung Slabb.
Young Girls Surf with Heroes at Rising Tides - WSL Girls Program
Female surfers of all levels and ages came together today for the Rising Tides - WSL Girls Program. The event started on the beach at Duranbah where up-and-coming surfers aged 6-to-16 took over the lineup alongside their heroes including Gilmore, Peterson, Moore, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Brisa Hennessy (CRI), and Macy Callaghan (AUS). In addition to the current CT athletes, special guests included 2015 World Champion Chelsea Hedges (nee Georgeson) and newly crowned Big Wave Champion Keala Kennelly. The event picked up again in the evening with the beginner session, where the professional surfers taught young girls how to surf on the beach at Rainbow Bay.
Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast
The Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast will feature the most creative surfers take to the air in this specialty series. The event window will open tomorrow and run through April 9, 2019. 18 surfers will be featured across two rounds. The first round will host six qualifying heats with six surfers in each heat. The second round will be the six-person Final. Invitees include Chippa Wilson (AUS), Eithan Osborne (USA) Matt Meola (HAW) and Filipe Toledo (BRA)to name a few.
The 2019 WSL Championship Tour season will commence with the Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast, starting April 3 and run will through April 13, 2019. The events will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and Facebook.com/WSL. Also check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.
Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Heat 5: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 6: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Mateus Herdy (AUS) Heat 7: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 9: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 10: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 12: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) Red Bull Airborne Round 1: Heat 1: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Kalani David (HAW) vs. Harry Bryant (AUS) vs. Finn McGill (HAW) vs. Mitch Parkinson (AUS), vs. Aaron Kelly (AUS) Heat 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Matt Meola (HAW) vs. Noa Deane (AUS) vs. Kael Walsh (AUS) vs. Thomas Woods (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA) Heat 3: Jack Freestone (AUS) vs. Eithan Osborne (USA) vs. Chippa Wilson (AUS) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) vs. Coby Perkovich (USA) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA)