Editors' note: This page is being updated after each day of competition.
Day Five Coverage
It was an emotion-filled Finals day as Brazil's Tatiana Weston-Webb and Filipe Toledo swept the podium the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona in clean, rippable four to-six foot Main Break. From the heart shown in the water to the love and compassion of the local surf community back on the beach, here's how it all went down:
An Emotional Win For Weston-Webb
Weston-Webb found her way into the Final against seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore after advancing passed local hero Bronte Macaulay in the Semifinals, who was still very much morning the recent passing of her brother, Jack. Despite the family tragedy, the result is Macaulay's best-ever result at Margaret River, which is just down the coast from her home in Gracetown.
Weston-Webb, who found herself in her second Final in as many events, put on a gritty, full-rail performance against Gilmore to take her first Championship Tour victory of 2021.
"This win is for the Macaulay family," Weston-Webb said afterwards. "I came up against Bronte earlier today and seeing her show up for her heat was so brave. I can't imagine what she has been going through. They are an amazing family with so much love and are such a big part of surfing here in the West and my condolences are with them."
Toledo Makes His Move
Meanwhile, This is Toldeo captured first CT victory since the 2019 Oi Rio Pro. Putting on an absolute rail-surfing masterclass to take the win over South Africa's Jordy Smith, the Brazilian tapped into a new gear which hadn't yet been seen during the event. Going into his turns with more speed and torque in the most critical parts of the waves than we've previously seen, Toledo has put everyone on notice that he means business.
For the effort, Toledo flies up the WSL Leaderboard, going from eighth all the way to third. With Gabriel Medina still wearing the Yellow Jersey and defending World Champ Italo Ferreira in second place, this puts Brazil in firm control of the top three spots of the leaderboard.
"This one is for my son Koa, it's his birthday today and he asked me to win the trophy," Toledo explained. "I promised him I would and I could not break the promise, so this one's for you son, I love you."
"This win will be a huge jump on the rankings for me which I needed," he continued. "This Tour is all about consistency and if you're not showing up in the Finals often, you won't make that Final 5, and that's my biggest goal for the year, to give myself that chance."
WSL Leaderboard Gets A Shake-Up
With four of the 2021 Championship Tour events now in the books, we continues to see all kinds of movement on the WSL Leaderboard. For the women, Weston-Webb now slides into number two in the rankings, while Carissa Moore retains her number one position. Rounding out the Final Five, Stephanie Gilmore moves into third with Caroline Marks hanging onto fourth and Tyler Wright in the fifth spot.
For the men, as noted above, Brazilians are in firm control of the top three spots on the leaderboard thanks to Medina, Ferreira and Toledo. After being forced to withdraw in the Quarterfinals due to a knee injury, John John Florence has slipped to fourth, while Smith's Finals appearance puts him in fifth.
Get Ready For A High-Performance Left
Now the Tour is headed to Strickland Bay at Rottnest Island for the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona. The final stop of the four-event mega Australian leg, while there's also a right, this peak is primarily a high-performance left. This is set to create the stage for some fireworks from the goofy-foot top seeds such as Medina, Ferreira and Weston-Webb. Stay tuned, the waiting period kicks off on May 16.
Day Four Coverage
MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia, Australia (Thursday, May 6, 2021) -- Enjoying a solid southern pulse with six- to eight-foot surf and unexpectedly clean conditions, it was moving day at the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona as the storylines from Main Break continued to play out and a clear picture for Finals day played out.
Florence's Roll Continues
Stopping John John Florence at Margaret River, and after an early morning rain squall and scattered lightning bursts, he continued his march towards the Final. In a gritty performance, he dispatched Brazil's Peterson Crisanto in the first head-to-head match-up of their careers. Posting a 13.50 heat score, it was his lowest total of the event thus far, but more than enough to earn him a spot in the upcoming Quarters.
"I was definitely stoked to be out there. It's nice having those long heats and having time to get warmed up, get a few waves," Florence smiled after the heat.
For The First Time This Season We Won't See Medina On Finals Day
After finding is way into the Finals of all three events thus far, Margaret River continues to be a thorn in the paw of Gabriel Medina, who was eliminated by a hard-charging Seth Moniz in the Round of 16. The heat started with Medina paddling under Moniz to try and gain priority on a set wave, but ultimately he was sucked over the falls and washed inside. Unable to tap into his customary rhythm and build momentum like we're used to seeing, the two-time World Champion appeared a bit out of sorts.
Meanwhile, Moniz managed to put himself on the right waves and capitalize on his opportunities. Ultimately, the heat was decided by a mere 0.31 of a point.
"He got me in a Semifinal at Teahupo'o and it hurt, so it felt good to get one back on him," Moniz explained. "I feel like I left the door open for him the entire heat with a couple of priority mistakes and maybe surfing a smaller board than I should have, so I'm happy it ended up working out for me. I'm loving my time here in West Aus, there are so many sick waves and it really suits my style of surfing."
Gilmore Finds Her Form
When we first saw the match-up on paper we knew there was always going to be fireworks when Australian Olympic teammates Stephanie Gilmore and Sally Fitzgibbons met in the Quarterfinals. And sure enough, the hat did not disappoint.
Gilmore put together one of the best waves seen this year at Main Break, earning a 9.50, the highest score of the day. Fitzgibbons countered, but Gilmore was able to carve out a suitable backup score to take the heat win and earn her spot in the Semifinals. Enroute to her best finish of the season, she will now face Carissa Moore in a clash of the World Champions.
"I just had to hold my nerve and be patient as I knew Sally would keep busy and build a house, and I just needed to get a good wave and do what I do," Gilmore explained afterwards. "It worked, but it could have gone the other way. It was a good battle with Sally, we've had a lot over our careers. It feels really good to break the Quarters. I haven't done that this year."
Weston-Webb Proves To Be One Of Toughest On Tour
Be it her self-assuredness or never-give-up attitude, Tatiana Weston-Webb has found her stride in Australia. Coming off a Finals appearance in Narrabeen, she's now into the Semis at Margaret River courtesy a statement-making 9.23 against two-time World Champion such as Tyler Wright.
"That was the goal this year to stay consistent and just let my surfing do the talking. In the heats I lose it's just about not giving myself enough opportunity," Weston-Webb said.
Margaret River Has A Hero To Cheer For
Margaret River regular Bronte Macaulay has put together a dream run in front of her hometown crowd. When last we saw her she was enjoying a win over World No. 2 Caroline Marks. And with her dad, a Margs legend himself, watching on from the bluff above, she took out hard-to-handle French power surfer Johanne Defay in the Quarters. Applying her well-honed backhand attack, she's into the Semis and on pace for one of the best results of her young career. She'll now face Weston-Webb when competition resumes.
"That was a hectic heat, especially at the end. The rain was making it hard to see my lineups and it was even hard to see where Johanne was after she got that last wave and if it was good," Macaulay said. "I didn't know what was going on, so it was super stressful. I'm so stoked to make it, it's really special, especially at home. All of my family have been coming down each day and cheering me on, so it feels good to keep making heats."
Italo's Excellent Adventure
Celebrating his 27th birthday, Italo Ferreira booked his spot in the Quarterfinals with a pair of excellent scoring rides. Putting countryman Caio Ibelli in a combo situation in which he needed to high-scoring rides to get back in the heat, Ferreira even found an air section to launch from. And if there was any question about the man's unbridled enthusiasm, just go back and watch his dismount from the Red Bull jet ski, it's seriously one for the ages. In an intriguing match-up, Ferreira will now face Filipe Toledo in the Quarters.
South Africans Are Making Moves
Jordy Smith had already shaken hands with Julian Wilson in the final seconds of their heat, all but conceding to the Australian. But then a small left-hander popped up just in time. Jordy went left, hoisted a couple backhand bashes and clinched a stunning buzzer-beater win.
"You've really got to push it to get big scores out there and I feel like we weren't doing that on our waves, they were only allowing for one big turn and you've got to do like three, pretty much, unless you just do one John [John Florence] turn," Smith said.
Meanwhile, rookie Matthew McGillivray is on the way to his best finish of the season after a nail-biting win over Kanoa Igarashi, who made a priority mistake in the opening seconds of the heat that he was never able to recover from.
"I was a bit confused to see him on that wave," said McGillivray. "It was an unfortunate way to start the heat and I feel bad for Kanoa. He was surfing better and had better scores, but that's just the way the heat went, everyone makes mistakes. I don't feel like I surfed well in that heat and I could have put on a better performance. I feel like I have been surfing well in my free surfs but free surfs don't win you heats, so I'm hoping to lift my game ahead of the next heat. I'm stoked to be in the Quarterfinals."
Bring On Finals Day
With more swell in the forecast, when competition resumes we're looking at a very intriguing Finals day. we'll see a Semifinal heat with eleven World Titles accounted for, as Gilmore and Moore battle for a spot in the Finals. Meanwhile, local Macaulay will be up against Weston-Webb.
Meanwhile, the Men's Quarterfinals is also set to open with fireworks, with the Florence/Colapinto pairing. The round ends with the Ferreira/Toledo heat, which promises to be one of the best duels of the entire event. There are only two surfers left in the draw that are currently in the Top Five on the WSL Leaderboard, so whatever happens, expect a lot of movement in the rankings when this thing is done and dusted.
Day Three Coverage
MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia, Australia (Tuesday, May 4, 2021) -- It was moving day for the women as the Quarterfinalists were decided for the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona. In a day that saw smaller, more high-performance surf conditions, there were some big upsets, as well as some big performances from the women atop the WSL Leaderboard. We're getting down to the business end of things here. In case you missed any of the action, here's what went down:
Another Finals Round For Moore
World Number One Carissa Moore is now four for four this season when it comes to making it to Finals Day after making it through the Round of 16 at Margaret River.
Moore's lowest placing after three Championship Tour events this year is a third-place finish, and she's now set herself up to chase a fourth strong result and further solidify her position atop the WSL Leaderboard's Final Five.
With smaller surf, a strong offshore wind and some tricky conditions, the four-time World Champion moved past Macy Callaghan after a very close heat in which both competitors managed to find excellent-range scores.
"I enjoy those heats," Moore said afterwards. "I was getting a little nervous watching the conditions beforehand ... there were some heats that were slow. But Macy actually surfed really, really well and it was a close one, I needed a score on that last one and it definitely was a battle the whole way,"
Local Star Macaulay Upsets Marks, Advances To Quarterfinals
For the local Margaret River surfers, perhaps the heat of the day came when Bronte Macaulay took out World No. 2 Caroline Marks in a heated backhand battle. Applying a lifetime of local knowledge, Macaulay was able to put herself on the best waves of the heat and take advantage of the scoring opportunities that presented themselves, leaving Marks to play catch-up for most of their heat.
"Caroline is so solid, so I knew that was going to be a tough one and I kept telling myself ‘It's your time.' It's nice to compete at home. I feel happy and content when I'm in a familiar place and surrounded by friends and family," Macauley explained afterwards.
"It's so funny, you can't be too humble in this sport, I look at someone like Tatiana and she is so confident, I'm, like, I think I should take a page from her book. You've got to stay true to yourself but at the same time really back yourself at the last few minutes of the heat," she added.
A Preview Of What's To Come At The Rip Curl WSL FInals?
Wright and Weston-Webb seem especially fired up to win. As noted, Weston-Webb has a confidence others want to emulate, while Wright is searching for a strong result after ninth-place finishes in Newcastle and Narrabeen.
In a rematch of their Final together in Newcastle, Moore will take on Isabella Nichols, who's surfing was on point in the Round of 16 and has discovered an appreciation and connection with the Margaret River lineup.
This means there are three World Champions still in the draw and four of the current Final Five are also still in the draw. Given how much talent is still left in the event, we cold be looking at a potential preview of what we could see at the Rip Curl WSL Finals in California this September.
Men's Round of 16 Still To Come
There are also some big match-ups still to come in the Men's Round of 16, particularly some Brazilian super heats. Defending World Champion Italo Ferreira will take on Caio Ibelli, while Jadson Andre faces Filipe Toledo.
The man setting the pace at the moment, John John Florence, will be up against Peterson Crisanto in the first heat of the round. And current World Number 1 Gabriel Medina is looking at a really interesting match-up with Hawaii's Seth Moniz, who seems to have a natural affinity for The Box.
Day Two Coverage
MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia, Australia (Monday, May 3, 2021) -- Eight to ten-foot corduroy lines greeted competitors on the second day of the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona. With plenty of swell marching into Main Break and pristine, offshore conditions, the ocean was certainly more inviting than the hard-fought opening day of the event, which in turn translated into some huge performances by World Champs and underdogs alike. In case you missed any of the action, here's what went down:
Florence Continues To Set The Standard
With overlapping heats running in the Men's Round of 32, John John Florence continued to elevate the game with a turn only he can do. Pioneered at Margaret River and on the North Shore over the years, the layback hack under the lip is proving to be a point of differentiation that nobody seems to have an answer for at the moment.
Florence defeated Leonardo Fioravanti with a 16.04 heat total, applying that searing carve through which he generates speed rather than scrubbing it off. Fioravanti actually had the highest wave core of the heat, knowing he had to go all in if he was to beat Florence at Main Break, but he couldn't find a second wave, while Florence, with the aforementioned turn, was able to convert waves that for others might have been 6s into 7's and 8s.
"It [the turn] definitely feels different to me, I think now I kind of have more of an idea of where I want to do the turns. A lot of it goes into body placement, where you place your weight, too," Florence told the WSL after his win.
"Every winter I spend at home … We have like four different waves that are like this and I get to spend a lot of time figuring out how to do turns and harness that speed, because that's the whole thing, you have so much speed, it's really hard to control that," Florence continued.
Tube Masters Trade Barrels
Another blockbuster heat was local Jack Robinson up against Tour veteran Jeremy Flores. They're two of the best tube riders in the world, and in their heat they both found hollow right-handers, trading off barrels and big turns with Flores eventually taking the win over the rookie Australian.
"Coming up against the local boy, who rips in pumping surf, this is what we do this for," a jubilant Flores explained afterwards. "We are at opposite ends of our careers, his is starting and I'm coming towards the end. If we were in smaller waves I'd struggle to match it in the air but in waves like this, I know I can perform well. It feels good to know I can still match it with a young beast like Jack Robinson. I'm glad to have a heat with him before I end my career and I'm even more glad to win it."
Conlogue Goes From Event Favorite To Early Upset
Conlogue, a former event champion, has been a standout in the freesurfs but struggled to find a backup wave despite logging a 7.27, the highest score of the heat. She kept searching into the final minutes, even taking one of the few lefts of the day, but it flattened out before she could fit a third big turn in.
"I came down last night just to really get a grasp of how big it was and it was huge and the whole bay was closing out," said Erickson. "Today I was nervous again when I saw that we were on. I had a chat with Jessi and Renato about what the forecast was looking like and what to expect, and they really want to elevate and push the women in bigger surf. Being a part of that generation, I can do my part."
Manuel Leans Into Heavy Water Hawaiian Experience
Meanwhile, Hawaii's Malia Manuel surfed one of the waves of the day after fully committing to a big end section hit, winning her Elimination Round heat against seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore and 14-year-old Wildcard Willow Hardy.
Manuel has been charging, surfing The Box before the event began and now surfing big Main Break. Advancing alongside Gilmore, who is also still in the mix, she grows increasingly more dangerous with every passing heat.
Bet On The Backhand
Ryan Callinan was once again strong on his backhand, as was World No.1 Gabriel Medina. Between the two of them they've set the standard for goofy-footers going right at Main Break. Meanwhile, defending World Champion Italo Ferreira -- another goofy -- also advanced to the Round of 16 with strong surfing in the strong offshore winds which he said made it challenging on his backside.
Day One Coverage
MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia, Australia (Sunday, May 2, 2021) -- At the dawning of the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona, the swell grew seemingly with each set until it was a solid 12 to 15 feet by the afternoon.
It was quintessential Main Break: big, raw, windswept and incredibly powerful. For the first time since the Championship Tour took to Australian waters, competitors faced a serious wave, requiring every ounce of experience and ability. There were some career-best scores, perfect rides, defining wins and more on a memorable day of competition. Here's what you need to know:
Florence Delivers On All The Expectation
This was a heat everyone was waiting for, and John John Florence did not disappoint. Florence was coming off two eliminations at the hand of Tour Rookie Morgan Cibilic, and it's safe to say that at Main Break, Margaret River, he had something to prove.
This is a wave at which the two-time World Champion has lifted the performance bar for power surfing in a Championship Tour heat, and today he validated all the hype with a big barrel and searing, critical turns from which he seems to exit with more speed than he came in with. No one can surf these waves quite like Florence...
"It feels super good, and it was cool to get a barrel like that out there, i wasn't really expecting that in my mind I was just thinking turns," Florence said after his heat.
"Margaret River is kind of an unpredictable barrel I guess, it's kind of a warping barrel, and it's really high too so it's tricky to ride."
Moore Keeps Her Momentum Rolling
World No.1 Carissa Moore was the clear favorite going into the event, based on her past results, and she's wasted no time validating that opinion by dropping the first excellent score of the day, an 8.33. The difference between her wave and some of the others in the heat was incredible timing and her trademark power, despite some wobbly, unpredictable waves.
"I was happy to find that one, it's pretty tricky out there right now and it's been a tricky few days warming up. It hasn't really been like normal Margarets where it's focused in one spot, it's been like rogue waves here and there so it's tricky to get underneath it and get those tight ones but happy to find one."
Medina Gets The Job Done In The Big Stuff
Gabriel Medina won his heat with a masterclass in backhand surfing in big, powerful waves. Featuring a critical turn up under the lip for a quick cover-up that he rode out of, it certainly was a departure from his high-flying routine in New South Wales.
"That heat was sketchy but fun, I think I just saw the biggest wave ... in front of me in a heat, like in a heat, that was the biggest I've ever seen," Medina said.
But it was Australia's Ryan Callinan who did the best backhand surfing -- or surfing on the face in general today -- with two turns, on of which he fell out of the lip on a ten foot wave and rode away clean -- earning him the highest score of his career, a 9.93.
Local Wildcard Gets It Done Against Ferreira
Defending World Champion Italo Ferreira faced not one but two locals when he paddled out with wildcard Jacob Willcox and CT surfer Jack Robison. But it was the 23-year-old Willcox who dominated the heat, riding a 6'6" shaped for Sunset Beach on the North Shore of Oahu. The extra length helped Willcox draw some of the most assured, critical lines of the day. Keep an eye on Willcox, he also took Medina out her back in 2017.
A Special Win For Japan
Amuro Tsuzuki beat Malia Manuel and Caroline Marks in the Seeding Round, becoming the first Japanese woman to win a heat on the Championship Tour in more than twenty years. She waited patiently for a big left and then held on after some big turns, falling from the lip in a surge of whitewater and securing a 7.33.
"I was super nervous out there with the bigger surf," said Tsuzuki. "I wasn't particularly comfortable on my backhand but when the waves were coming, I knew that the left would be the best option. I'm enjoying my time here and the challenge of the bigger surf in Margaret River."
South Africans Make A Statement
Going into this event, Tour Rookie Matthew McGillivray was chasing a solid result, and if his performance in the Seeding Round is anything to go by, he's on the right track to make a serious statement at Main Break. With the swell still pulsing, breaking wide into the bay and sending the jet skis running for safe water he dropped a pair of excellent rides, an 8.5 and 9.00.
"It's so good to finally get to surf here at Main Break," McGillivray said. "The surf has just been building all day and it's absolutely pumping. I surfed a board that was made for competing in Hawaii and it worked really well out there. I'm just stoked to have such pumping surf in a heat and it looks like it's going to keep coming so it should be a sick few days."
The big surfer also suited Jordy Smith well, who made short work of his Seeding Round heat to advance on.
What To Look Out For
There's still a few heats of the Men's Seeding Round to run, and the swell and good winds are hanging in there. Meanwhile, when it's time for the Women's Elimination Round two of the USA's best surfers will face off in Courtney Conlogue and Sage Erickson, while Stephanie Gilmore will surf against Malia Manuel, who was spotted charging The Box before the event began, as well as Wildcard Willow Hardy.