Wrapping on Father's Day under a scorching sun, the action at the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe was hot, heavy and filled with progressive surfing from the world's best surfers. With clean and consistent machine-made waves rolling in every four minutes, the top tier Championship Tour surfers were able to set themselves apart from the pack and piece together complete rides utilizing the magic formula of speed, power and flow.
There was no shortage of excitement during the weekend at the Ranch as spots on both the men's and women's WSL Final 5 were clinched by Gabriel Medina and Carissa Moore. In addition, event winners Filipe Toledo and Johanne Defay battled their way to the top of the podium, finally breaking through in the basin to take their wins.
Dedicated to their pursuit of capturing all the access both in the water and behind the scenes, here are some shots from the WSL's crack photo department, who put in the hard yards behind the lens and under the California sun:
The Pressure Cooker
Safe to say that "pressure cooker" was a favorite term at the Ranch this weekend. In interviews and on broadcast, the surfers talked about how much pressure competition at the Ranch brings, and with only a handful of waves to prove their best surfing, the mental game of athletes is one of the most important factors in taking home a win.
Throughout most of the event Gabriel Medina was able to set himself apart from competition and play his own game, tuning into his own rhythm during the event and not watching the waves of his fellow competitors. And while he's no longer undefeated at the Surf Ranch, a runner-up result wasn't a half-bad consolation.
The California Heat
If you can't handle the heat, then get out of the basin. With a high of 111 degrees, the it's safe to say the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe was the hottest of the event this season. Athletes like Stephanie Gilmore made good use of the ice baths in the Red Bull Athlete zones to keep cool between waves. Recovery before, between and after waves especially played a factor at this event.
Make Or Break Stakes
As bonus rounds came into play, no one was safe from elimination. Surfers on the men's side of the event, such as Griffin Colapinto and Ethan Ewing, shook things up and knocked out World Champions Kelly Slater and Italo Ferreira with clutch performances.
The stakes have never been higher. Only two events of the 2021 Championship Tour remain before the finals and results from the Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe are make or break to gaining a spot on the WSL Final 5.
They Never Stopped Hammering
Event winners Johanne Defay and Filipe Toledo have both come runner-up at the Ranch in years past, and finally the two claimed their long awaited victories in 2021, defeating the leaders of the leader board rankings Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina.
The First To Clinch Final Five
Four-time World Champion Carissa Moore and two-time World Champion Gabriel Medina were the first to clinch spots in the WSL Final 5. The Rip Curl WSL Finals will take place at Lowers Trestles in California and will determine the 2021 World Champion. With the pressure to qualify for the final event of the season out of the way, both Carissa and Gabriel can focus specifically on maintaining their first place rankings and the Olympics in July.
The Brazilian Storm
The sportsmanship among the Brazilian surfers is unlike any other country competing on the World Championship Tour. Adriano de Souza announced his retirement after the 2021 season, savoring each tour stop along the way. At the Ranch, his fellow countrymen wore his jersey in honor of his career and impact that he has made on the surf world, especially in Brazil. Adriano ushered in the "Brazilian Storm" that has now taken over the top spots of the tour today. His retirement is a passing of the baton to the next generation.