After firing through the opening two days of the waiting period in classic, overhead, offshore conditions, the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona has gone on hold for the moment until more swell shows up later this week. This quick break in the action has given us the time to dive into the upcoming matchups and froth out a little. WSL Leaderboard frontrunners Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore set the pace on opening day, and while they're sure to have their hands full with the local wildcard talent they're facing, there are other heats that feature some intriguing duels. Here are five heats that have us pumped for the comp to start again:
Rip Curl Rottnest Search Women's Round of 16 Key Matchups:
HEAT 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Sage Erickson has never won a Championship Tour heat against Tyler Wright, who's dominated their heats with a perfect 8-0 record. But that could change at Strickland Bay. The setup is ideal for Erickson's Central California sensibilities as evidence by her great showing in the Seeding Round in which her heat. Wright, who's struggled with injury and inconsistency this season, also won her heat, but Erickson's heat total was over three points higher. Can Erickson finally crack the Wright code? We'll see.
HEAT 6: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Featuring two of Australia's brightest prospects for the next generation, Isabella Nichols and Bronte Macaulay are no stranger to one another after coming up in the Aussie junior ranks. They just met in the three-person Elimination Round with Nichols taking the heat by less than 0.25 of a point, but they've never had a head-to-head heat against one another on the Championship Tour. Both surfers have shown moments of brilliance this season, so expect them to bring their best when they paddle out.
Rip Curl Rottnest Search Men's Round of 32 Key Matchups:
HEAT 12: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
This heat's guaranteed to have some fireworks. Griffin Colapinto's surfing has found another gear recently as he vies for a spot in the Final 5 and eventual Rip Curl WSL Finals, while Mikey Wright is coming off of his first heat win in the Seeding Round all season -- where he beat Colapinto and his older brother Owen Wright. Colapinto's success will hinge on his ability to go big with critical airs and turns. Wright will need to focus on completing his rides and minimizing some of the careless mistakes that have hampered him this season.
HEAT 13: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Don't discount Jacob Willcox, he's a proven giant slayer. He beat Italo Ferreira in the Seeding Round at Margaret River a couple weeks back. He also beat Medina at Margs in 2017. And while he's just a wildcard, Willcox has experience going deep in events, making the Quarters of the 2019 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. Ferreira always paddles out ready to perform, but Willcox has the ability to capitalize on any complacency.
HEAT 15: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
A replay of the 2018 Red Bull Airborne Final in France, Yago Dora ended up taking the win over Jack Freestone. Of course, Freestone got an Airborne win of his own in Bali the following year. Needless to say, don't expect this heat to be a three-to-the-beach affair. The boys are going to figure out the wind, take the the sky, and whoever stomps their landings will live to surf another day.