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WSL Announces Founders’ Cup of Surfing Event for May 2018

February 26th, 2018 No comments

South Africa’s Jordy Smith will lead the World Team at the inaugural Founders’ Cup of Surfing event at the Kelly Slater Wave Co Surf Ranch Credit: © WSL / Rowland

– Michelob Ultra Pure Gold Sponsors First Public Event at Surf Ranch Facility
– Co-Ed Region Versus Region Teams Event with World’s Best Surfers
– Register for Pre-Sale Tickets at Wslfounderscup.Com

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LOS ANGELES, California/USA (Monday, February 26, 2018) – The World Surf League (WSL) today announced the Founders’ Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, a historic region-versus-region teams event featuring a cross-section of the world’s best surfers to be held at Surf Ranch in Lemoore, CA from May 5 – 6, 2018.

Five teams – USA, Brazil, Australia, Europe and World – made up of men’s and women’s surfers from the elite WSL Championship Tour, will compete over the two-day event at the world-class, man-made wave venue of Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California. The competition will be hosted against a festival backdrop honoring the culture of surfing – food, music, beverage, art and special guests will all be on site for enjoyment.

“This technology has captured the imagination of the global surfing community and created a number of new opportunities for the WSL,” Sophie Goldschmidt, WSL CEO, said. “The Founders’ Cup of Surfing will be the organization’s first public event at the facility and we’re very excited to showcase the wave and the world’s best surfers through this unique team format in May.”

The Surf Ranch facility, which was revealed online to the public in December 2015, boasts the best man-made wave in history – a 700-yard, high-performance, bi-directional wave featuring barrel sections and maneuver sections. Primarily existing as a testing facility, the Lemoore site has spent the past two years dialing in the technology under the guidance of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and feedback from visiting WSL surfers. A private test event last September proved very successful, paving the way for the May Founders’ Cup of Surfing to be the first time the public will be allowed onto the grounds.

The Founders’ Cup of Surfing will see the men and women competing alongside one another in the team format, a first for WSL events that will add a new dimension to surf competition. The teams will be made up of three men and two women from each region, and the five-person teams will compete against one another throughout the course of the two-day event.

Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time WSL Men’s Champion, will lead the US men’s and women’s team at the Founders’ Cup. Although still recovering from a foot injury suffered last year in South Africa, Slater is eager to rehabilitate in time to compete in the Founders’ Cup.

“Surf Ranch and the wave system are obviously special to me and it’s really exciting to see it come online for the public in 2018, first with the Founders’ Cup and then with Surf Ranch Open,” Slater said. “As someone who has competed in probably every competition format there is, the Founders’ Cup region-versus-region, co-ed format is really intriguing to me. I think May is going to be a great showcase for the world’s best surfers at the facility.”

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time WSL Women’s Champion, has been one of the standouts at the testing facility throughout the past year and the 30-year-old natural-footer will lead the Australian team at the Founders’ Cup this year.

“The facility and the wave at Surf Ranch is amazing,” Gilmore said. “It’s such a fun wave to surf and really high-performance. Having it come online to complement our ocean-based events in 2018 is really exciting and I’m looking forward to leading the Australia team at the Founders’ Cup in May.”

Gabriel Medina (BRA), 2014 WSL Men’s Champion and last season’s world runner-up, was victorious at last year’s test event at the Surf Ranch facility and the 24-year-old Brazilian will lead his South American colleagues at the venue in May.

“Leading the Brazil team at the Founders’ Cup in May is a real honor,” Medina said. “We have so much talent in Brazil on both the men’s and women’s side that I think we will be in a strong position to do well in the inaugural teams event.”

Johanne Defay (FRA), perennial threat on the WSL Women’s Championship Tour, has been one of the standouts throughout the 2017 training sessions at the facility. Defay will Captain the European squad at the Founders’ Cup.

“The Surf Ranch wave is so fun!” Defay said. “I was pumped when we heard that there would be a CT at the wave this year and now the Founders’ Cup. Team Europe will have some rippers on there for sure.”

Jordy Smith (ZAF), universally-regarded as one of the most progressive and powerful surfers on the planet, will captain the five-person World Team this May.

“Being able to captain the World Team is a real honor,” Smith said. “Our respective countries may not have the same numbers at the elite level as USA, Brazil and Australia, but we are able to draw from a huge talent pool. I’m frothing on the team aspect. It should be really exciting.”

Tickets will be available for sale starting March 12. Registration for pre-sale tickets can be found at WSLFoundersCup.com.

The Founders’ Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold in May will be the first public event held at the facility. The Surf Cup Open, a men’s and women’s Championship Tour event, is scheduled for September 2018.

Presenting sponsor, Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, is made with sustainably sourced organic grains and features ingredients free from artificial colors and flavoring. Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold was born from a commitment to innovate using ingredients and inspiration from nature.

Led by reigning two-time WSL Champions John John Florence (HAW) and Tyler Wright (AUS), the first event of the 2018 WSL Championship Tour will be the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast in Australia from March 11 – 22, 2018.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

ENDS

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About WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running in excess of 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Tyler Wright, John John Florence, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, Kelly Slater, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com
Dave Prodan
SVP of Global Brand Identity
dprodan@worldsurfleague.com
+1 (805) 758-5586

Chloe Kojima
Communications Manager
ckojima@worldsurfleague.com
+1 (310) 386-9181

 

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za

 

 

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker Finishes Fifth as Lucas Chianca Wins Nazare Challenge in Portugal

February 11th, 2018 No comments

Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker on his way to fifth place in the Nazare Challenge in Portugal on Sunday  Credit: © WSL / Justes

Billy Kemper Takes Big Wave Tour Rankings Lead with 17 Days Left in 2017 / 2018 Season

Reigning World Surf League (WSL) Big Wave Tour (BWT) Champion Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker battled through three rounds of daunting six to nine metre (20-30 foot) waves to finish fifth in the Nazare Challenge at Praia de Norte in Portugal on Sunday.

The third stop on the 2017 / 2018 BWT was won by rising big wave star Lucas Chianca, 22, from Brazil who won all three heats he contested with an amazing repertoire of manoeuvres more commonly seen performed on waves a quarter the size of those on offer at this event.

The second-ever BWT event at Nazaré ran over two days after dangerous conditions threatened the competitors following the opening heats on Saturday. Big Wave Tour Commissioner Mike Parsons, alongside the judging panel, rated conditions a Bronze coefficient, awarding the winner 10,000 points.

Competing in just his second BWT event, Chianca earned his first finals appearance and event win today after dominating the competitive 24-man field, made up of the world’s best male big wave surfers. The young Brazilian demonstrated command over Nazaré’s powerful waves and challenging white-water speeds to climb up to No. 5 on the Big Wave Tour rankings.

“I am stoked to win this event,” Chianca said. “Thank you to everyone for all of their support. All these guys competing are so crazy and inspiring. It was hard because when you get the call for BWT events, it is at the last minute. We flew here as soon as we got the call, were a bit tired, and then just went straight into the competition the next day. The waves yesterday were so gnarly and scary. And then today, we were on again. I am super stoked. Thank you.”

Baker, 43, a two-time BWT Champion (2013 and 2017) was the oldest competitor in the six-man final which represented a ‘changing of the guard’ in big wave competition by also featured 2017/2018 Puerto Escondido Challenge winner Kai Lenny (HAW), two-time Pe’ahi Challenge winner Billy Kemper (HAW), and up-and-comers Natxo Gonzalez (EUK), Nathan Florence (HAW), and Chianca, all of whom are in the their early twenties.

Lenny kicked off the hour-long final with a low-range score of 3.83 (out of a possible 10). The next wave of the set saw a split peak with Baker picking up 3.50 on the right while le Chianca gained control of the heat with an authoritative 7.33 on the left.

Gonzalez challenged Chianca with two mid-range scores, but the Brazilian consolidated his lead with a 6.73. Kemper stayed patient and was able to collect a 4.83 and 4.67 at the end of the heat to take second place ahead of Gonzalez, Lenny, Baker, and Florence.

Kemper’s runner-up finish moved him to No. 1 on the 2017 / 2018 BWT rankings, topping Lenny by 2,311 points. His recent success, both on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) and Big Wave Tour, is a testament to his training and commitment to surfing. Not only does Kemper lead the BWT ranks, he recently won the Sunset Open Qualifying Series to put him in second place on the Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional QS rankings.

“I am over the moon right now,” said Kemper. “First and foremost, I want to thank the country of Portugal. All of the people here are absolutely amazing and this place is beautiful. The warm welcome that you give all of us surfers is next to none. I am very thankful. I came here with that goal to make the final and do as best as I could.”

Today’s win marked a first for Chianca, but also a last for his mentor Carlos Burlé (BRA) who pioneered big-wave surfing and rose to become the 2010 BWT Champion. Burlé retired last year but competed at this event as an end-of-career victory lap. The fifty-year-old big wave surfer was eliminated yesterday in Round One Heat 2.

The Mavericks Challenge still has the potential to run before the Big Wave Tour season closes on February 28, 2018. BWT officials will continue to monitor swell systems and weather patterns and will only call the event on when surf reaches the 30-foot-plus mark, mobilizing on 72 hours’ notice.

Nazaré Challenge Final Results:
1 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 19.89
2 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 13.93
3 – Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 13.83
4 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 13.23
5 – Grant Baker (ZAF) 11.04
6 – Nathan Florence (HAW) 10.89

Nazaré Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 14.91, Billy Kemper (HAW) 13.17, Nathan Florence (HAW) 13.13, Alex Botelho (PRT) 12.31, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 11.93, Peter Mel (USA) 11.63
SF 2: Kai Lenny (HAW) 18.70, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.69, Grant Baker (ZAF) 16.99, Nic von Rupp (PRT) 11.43, Ian Walsh (HAW) 11.04, Tom Lowe (GBR) 10.51

Nazaré Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Lucas Chianca (BRA) 17.63, Billy Kemper (HAW) 16.33, Nathan Florence (HAW) 14.31, João de Macedo (PRT) 11.56, Hugo Vau (PRT) 9.43, Pedro Calado (BRA) 7.13
Heat 2: Peter Mel (USA) 15.43, Alex Botelho (PRT) 14.23, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 9.66, Tom Butler (GBR) 3.14, Carlos Burlé (BRA) 0.00, Aaron Gold (HAW) 0.00
Heat 3: Nic von Rupp (PRT) 20.23, Kai Lenny (HAW) 20.23, Natxo Gonzalez (EUK) 17.57, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 14.11, Cristian Merello (CHL) 12.77, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 11.39
Heat 4: Tom Lowe (GBR) 15.10, Grant Baker (ZAF) 13.84, Ian Walsh (HAW) 12.90, Nic Lamb (USA) 11.43, Antonio Silva (PRT) 6.06, Kealii Mamala (HAW) 5.00

WSL Men’s BWT Rankings Top 5 (following Nazaré Challenge):
1 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 27,140 pts
2 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 24, 829 pts
3 – Ian Walsh (HAW) 17,757 pts
4 – Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 14,123 pts
5 – Lucas Chianca (BRA) 13,331 pts
13. Grant Baker (ZAF) 5,694 pts

The 2017/2018 Nazaré Challenge is presented Jogos Santa Casa, and proudly supported by Tourism of Portugal, West Tourism, and Nazaré City Council. The 2017/2018 WSL Big Wave Tour is proudly supported by Corona, the Official Beer of the Big Wave Tour (excluding North America), and Quiksilver Airlift, the Official Inflatable Vest of the 2017/2018 Big Wave Tour.

ENDS

About WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running in excess of 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Tyler Wright, John John Florence, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Mick Fanning, Stephanie Gilmore, Kelly Slater, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

 

Compiled & Distributed by:

Life’s a Beach Communications
PO Box 48272, Kommetjie 7976, South Africa
Tel: +27 (0) 21 783 4965
Mobile: +27 (0) 82 423 1964
Email: lifesabeach@mweb.co.za