The days remain long and the action kept cooking at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro pres. by Rip Curl with more dreamy swell at Snapper Rocks. Challenger Series threats in the form of former Championship Tour (CT) competitors and hungry newcomers shined as icons of the sport fell early while other familiar faces flourished.

Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro Day 3 Post Show: Shake-Ups At Snapper Send Icons Packing, Fitzgibbons Holds Firm In Early Goings
Leo Fioravanti and Cam Richards flare up on the GOAT, Sally Fitz continues her fight back, plus Gabriela Bryan keeps her reign as Challenger supreme alive.

Fresh off the disappointment of falling below the Mid-season Cut line and losing their spot on the Championship Tour, Ezekiel Lau and Leonardo Fioravanti have come into the first stop of the Challenger Series with their intentions set. For Fioravanti, a seemingly effortless win was apparent as the lightning fast natural footer found a few long walls to eliminate 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater in what was a bitter-sweet victory for the Italian.

"That heat really went to plan for me and I'm stoked how it played out," said Fioravanti. "To surf against Kelly Slater is always an honor and I want to say now a big thank you to Kelly Slater - he has been my inspiration and he has done so much for the sport for a long time. I'm also very appreciative of all the support here from the Italian community who have turned up to support me - It's fantastic."

Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro Day 3 Highlights: Zeke Lau, Reigning Challenger Victor Bryan Lay Waste To Dreamy Snapper
Also, the Callum Robson clinic continues along with Manuel's massive performances amid devastating blows to men's veterans.

Lau needed something big towards the end of the heat against in-form competitors Jorgan Couzinet, Lucas Silveira, and Matheus Navarro to guarantee his spot in the next round - and that is what he got. Dropping into a thick tube behind the Snapper Rock and disappearing from sight, Lau flew out and laid several of his trademark frontside gouges to post a near perfect 9.57 - and a two-wave total of 18.07 (out of a possible 20) which was the highest of the event so far.

"That was a crazy heat" said Lau. "I was patient early and had to wait quite a while for my first wave and my competitors were getting good scores but then I got a great score and then managed to get that late final ride and take the heat at the end but it was a stressful heat throughout. I've scored well here in past years and the waves are great so I'm feeling good and confident to keep going here for sure."

Conner Coffin looked in incredible step with the waves at Snapper Rocks with the Santa Barbara local taking a convincing win in his Round of 48 heat. Coffin will be hoping to build momentum through the event as he looks to build confidence ahead of the rest of the 2022 CS season.

Next Generation Step Up to the Plate
Nolan Rapoza Nolan Rapoza locking in and topping former Gold Coast Pro victor Julian Wilson, also advancing, in their Round of 48 battle. - WSL / Andrew Shield

Being the battleground to qualify for the Championship Tour, the Challenger Series is the first opportunity the world gets to lay eyes on the next generation of elite level competitive surfers and today in pumping waves at Snapper Rocks a handful of the next gen put on impressive displays to move closer to Finals Day and get their Qualification Campaigns off to a great start.

Local boy Sheldon Simkus, Adur Amatriain, Dylan Moffat, and Nolan Rapoza were some of the main names that stood out with their scores and results on Day 3 of competition. Moffat was impressive with an excellent two-wave heat total to win his heat whereas it was the composure of Californian Rapoza to claim a heat win over an inform Julian Wilson that really impressed surf fans today."

"I'm so stoked to be surfing the Challenger Series and putting myself up against surfers like Julian Wilson who has been an idol of mine for many years," said Rapoza. "I need to surf against and beat these guys to get to where I want to be, which is onto the Championship Tour and I'm definitely up for the challenge."

Caitlin Simmers Caitlin Simmers already proved to the world what she's capable of and continues that showcase. - WSL / Matt Dunbar

Another young Californian who continues to impress is Caitlin Simmers, who progressed through her Round of 32 heat today in second place behind form surfer Malia Manuel. It was an epic match-up with Manuel taking on two prodigy's in Simmers and trialist winner Sierra Kerr.

"I am really enjoying competing in waves like this - these are easily the best competition waves I've ever surfed in," said Simmers. " My goals this season are about enjoying all these locations that we get to surf more than anything - qualification is a goal but enjoying the experience is the most important and I'm loving the Gold Coast."

Big Names Come to Play at Snapper Rocks
Malia Manuel Malia Manuel can't keep her name out of the excellent range and we're not mad about it. - WSL / Matt Dunbar

Malia Manuel stunned the crowd once more with a brilliant 16.53 heat total as Jadson Andre, Sally Fitzgibbons, Nikki Van Dijk, Isabella Nichols, Connor O'Leary, and Jackson Baker were some of the more established names that saw success on Day 3 at Snapper all finding their way into the next Round of competition.

For some, this success is all about building confidence ahead of the rest of the CT season whilst for others, it's a fantastic opportunity to grab an early result on the Challenger Series while they look to reinstate themselves at the elite level.

Next call, 6:45 a.m. AEST.

Challenger Series 2022 Explained

The Challenger Series is the battleground where surfers compete to qualify for the elite Championship Tour (CT), surfing's most prestigious competition tier. Following the 2022 CS season, the Top 10 men and Top 6 women on the Challenger Series rankings will qualify for the 2023 Championship Tour season. Out of the eight Challenger Series competitions, only the top five results will count toward their end-of-year rankings.

The 2022 Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro presented by Rip Curl Challenger Series event will run at Snapper Rocks from May 7 - 14.

World Surf League
Download it for free on the App store. Download it for free on Google Play.