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Jordy Smith Ends 2016 Ranked No. 2 in World after Quarter-Final Finish in Pipe Masters

December 20th, 2016 No comments
Jordy Smith (ZAF, Durban) in action during the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii where he placed fifth and moved to No. 2 on the yearend WSL CT rankings Image: WSL / Poullenot

Jordy Smith (ZAF, Durban) in action during the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii where he placed fifth and moved to No. 2 on the yearend WSL CT rankings Image: WSL / Poullenot

– Michel Bourez wins Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons
– John John Florence Wins 3rd Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title
– Rookie Kanoa Igarashi Claims Runner-Up Finish at First Pipe Masters
– More Information Available at Worldsurfleague.Com

South Africa’s Jordy Smith has ended No. 2 on the 2016 Jeep Rankings after reaching the quarter-finals of the Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons, the final stop on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT) at Pipeline in Hawaii on Monday.

Smith’s fifth place finish in the event earned the Durbanite 5,200 points, sufficient to overtake 2014 WSL champion Gabriel Medina (BRA), but still well short of John John Florence (HAW) who clinched his maiden world title at the penultimate event of the season in Portugal in October.

Smith, who was granted a wildcard into the 2016 CT season after an injury-wracked 2015, won the event at Trestles in California, finished runner-up at Bells Beach, third in Portugal and fifth at Jeffreys Bay and Pipeline to match his previous best yearend result of runner-up to Kelly Slater (USA) in 2010.

The first event victory of his career in Hawaii at the QS10,000 rated World Cup at Sunset Beach two weeks ago, combined with a 25th place in the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa and fifth at Pipeline also earned Smith the runner-up spot behind Florence in the prestigious Vans Triple Crown of Surfing rankings.

Smith started the final day in hollow one to two metre waves at Pipeline by defeating Alex Ribeiro (BRA) in Round 3 before finishing second behind rookie Kanoa Igarashi (USA) in Round 4. After narrowly defeating Nat Young (USA) with an excellent last minute ride in Round 5, Smith posted a heat total of 15.74 (out of 20) in the quarter-final but could not overcome Igarashi’s 18.03 which included a near perfect 9.93 point score for arguably the longest tube ride of the day.

“We come here to get barreled and that’s what happened,” Smith said after his quarter-final loss. “He [Kanoa Igarashi] just got more barreled than I did. I think it just came down to that one last score. I gave him that wave on the inside that apparently just kept funneling across. The wave looked very small to me when I paddled in, but apparently he got nice and deep.”

“To be honest, all around it has been an amazing year for me. This time last year I did not expect to be here as I’d just came fresh off an injury. To finish the year in second is amazing.“

Michel Bourez (PYF) won the Billabong Pipe Masters after defeating Igarashi in the final, his best result of the season and only the second time that the Tahitian made it into the final series (last eight) this year. Victory today also marks the third CT victory of his career and earned Bourez 10,000 points which sees him finish the 2016 season in 6th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I still don’t believe it,” said Bourez. “I’m just happy to be here. Last year I got injured and it was really tricky and tough for me to come back. I almost dropped off tour. I worked really hard at home and tried to stay positive the whole time. I had my baby after Portugal, so I had to travel back and forth during Europe, which was tough.”

Bourez, who previously dispatched Kolohe Andino (USA), John John Florence (HAW) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) before taking on Igarashi in the Final, can add a win at Pipeline to previous wins at Haleiwa and Sunset. Only Hawaiian legends Derek Ho and Andy Irons have also achieved this feat.

“John [Florence] is incredible,” said Bourez. “I’ve lost the Triple Crown twice because of him so that was a little payback. I knew I had to push my level even higher to beat John so that’s what I did. We had such a good day today – Backdoor was pumping and I’m stoked. This is the biggest event to win for a surfer and I did it!”

In his first Pipe Masters appearance, Igarashi has set the bar for the 2017 rookies. At 19-years-old, Igarashi is the youngest competitor on the CT and made a splash this season. Today’s runner-up finish marks Igarashi’s best result this year after a run of 13th place finishes on tour and a 9th at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Igarashi took down 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) before facing Bourez in the Final. Igarashi moves up to 20th on the rankings.

“This is a dream come true,” said Igarashi. “To be in that Final with Michel [Bourez] was really cool. It is something I will never forget. The one moment that really stands out to me is in the Semifinals with Kelly [Slater]. I kind of rubbed the heat off and he was in his rhythm. A big set came in that closed out everywhere and I thought that was going to be my last chance. Right at the end, this crazy wave out of nowhere came in. I laughed because I did not believe it. I stalled as hard as I could and once I came out I fell into shock. I am really proud of myself and cannot wait for next year.”

Slater, the most dominant surfer in this event with seven Pipe Masters titles, will end his season with a 3rd place finish. Slater’s 2016 season saw him claim victory at the Billabong Pro Tahiti and a 3rd place result at the Fiji Pro. The American superstar will start the 2017 season in 7th place on the rankings.

“It’s Kanoa’s day, I hope he wins,” Slater said. “It’s his first time in the Pipe Masters and he’s made the Final, which is pretty sick. He just won the Triple Crown for John [Florence] and put Zeke Lau (HAW) on tour. Both the Finalists have been really on fire today. I did everything I possibly could in that heat to win but the waves just came to Kanoa. I’m excited for next year. I’m feeling pretty good and I’ve been making some headway with getting myself physically into shape. I think I’ve been surfing well. It’s turning more and more into a chess game now and that’s how heats are playing out.”

2016 WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) was eliminated by Bourez in the Quarterfinals. Although he will end his season with a 5th place at Pipe, the Hawaiian has made history with his win at the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational earlier this year, clinching of the World Surfing Title in Portugal and victory at the Hawaiian Pro, the first event of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Florence will lead the elite 34 coming into the 2017 season, which will kick off on the Gold Coast in March.

Florence also capped off his year by winning the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing for the third time in his career.

“It’s been the best year of my life and thank you to everyone that has supported me,” said Florence. “I have had an amazing year and it was a little unfortunate that in that heat I made a couple of mistakes. The waves are really fun right now and I am just stoked to be home and to finish the year. It has been a long year. Now I can just go surfing and take a break for a while.”

Kolohe Andino (USA) was also edged out by eventual winner Bourez in a tough Semifinal match-up. Andino took the early lead with a 13.93 combined score, but Bourez locked in a 15.37 for the slight advantage. The American previously dispatched 2010 Pipe Master Jeremy Flores (FRA) in Round 5 and finished equal 3rd in the event.

The world’s best surfers will return in 2017 with the kick-off event on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia in March.

Highlights from the Billabong Pipe Masters available at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL App.

For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com

Billabong Pipe Masters Final Results:
1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.53
2: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 6.17

Billabong Pipe Masters Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.37 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.93
SF 2: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 15.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 15.00

Billabong Pipe Masters Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.87 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.67
QF 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.20 def. John John Florence (HAW) 14.00
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.24
QF 4: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 18.03 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.74

Billabong Pipe Masters Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.17 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 4.53
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.80 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.50
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.34 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 10.17
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.10 def. Nat Young (USA) 16.17

Billabong Pipe Masters Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.66, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.16, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 5.00
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 11.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.17, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.83
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.24, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 2.77, Nat Young (USA) 1.57
Heat 4: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.34, Kelly Slater (USA) 2.24

Billabong Pipe Masters Round 3 Results:
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.34 def. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 1.93

Top 5 on the 2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard (after Billabong Pipe Masters):
1. John John Florence (HAW) 59,850 pts
2. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 46,400 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 45,450 pts
4. Kolohe Andino (USA) 44,150 pts
5. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 39,500 pts

ENDS

NOTE: Complimentary high resolution images and broadcast quality video footage are available on request for media outlets

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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

#labcomm

Corona Becomes Title Partner of World Surf League’s Corona Open JBay

November 14th, 2016 No comments

 

corona-beer-surfers-500

Cape Town, South Africa (Monday, November 14, 2016) – The World Surf League (WSL) is pleased to announce that one of the world’s most iconic brands — Corona — is becoming the first title sponsor of the WSL Championship Tour event in Jeffreys Bay, South Africa. The event will be called the Corona Open JBay.

“We are thrilled to deepen our partnership with Corona at one of surfing’s most iconic venues” said Mark Noonan, Global Chief Commercial Officer for the World Surf League. “WSL fans in South Africa and around the world will continue to benefit from Corona’s amazing support of the sport they love.”

Corona and the WSL announced a multi-year partnership in March, 2016, making the brand the Official Beer of the World Surf League globally.

“We’re very happy with our partnership with the WSL so far and believe there is still a lot more to be done,” said Thiago Zanettini, Global VP of Corona. “The feedback we’ve received from our on-site activations, athlete partnerships and content collaborations have encouraged us to take our relationship with the WSL to the next level at the iconic South African event. We are excited to become part of JBay’s legendary history and the local lifestyle that complements our ‘This Is Living’ world view. At the Corona Open JBay, we look forward to providing an incredible event experience for both consumers and WSL surfers, while delivering unique content and access to surf fans globally.”

A perennial contender for the world’s best wave, Jeffreys Bay is known for Supertubes, a right-hand point break that pumps with unparalleled consistency with waves breaking as long as 300 meters down the line. Combining incredible surf with a laid back lifestyle, Jeffreys Bay is the perfect location for Corona’s signature event.

About Corona
Born in Mexico and brought up on the beach, Corona is the leading beer brand in Mexico, the 6th most valuable beer brand in the world*, and the most popular Mexican beer worldwide, with sales in more than 120 countries. Corona Extra was first brewed in 1925 at the Cervecería Modelo in Mexico City. Corona is the perfect complement to life’s simple pleasures. The golden color, light refreshing flavor and iconic hand painted bottle, topped off with a freshly squeezed lime.

About The World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza 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.

WSL Contact:
Amy Denman
adenman@worldsurfleague.com

Anheuser-Busch Inbev Contact:
Karen Couck
Karen.Couck@AB-InBev.com

#labcomm

Jordy Smith Wins Hurley Pro in California :: Moves into World Title Contention

September 15th, 2016 No comments
Jordy Smith carves off the top on his way to victory in the Hurley Pro in California on Wednesday  Photo: WSL / Rowland

Jordy Smith carves off the top on his way to victory in the Hurley Pro in California on Wednesday  Photo: WSL / Rowland

– Tyler Wright Clinches Swatch Women’s Pro :: Extends Rankings Lead
– Bianca Buitendag Drops Out of Top 10

SAN CLEMENTE, California, USA (Wednesday, September 14, 2016) – South Africa’s Jordy Smith claimed victory at the Hurley Pro in California on Wednesday, defeating 2012 World Champion Joel Parkinson in the final of Stop No 8 of 11 on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) in 1 – 1.3 metre waves at the high performance cobblestone break of Lower Trestles.

The win was Smith’s fifth on the Championship Tour, his second at Lower Trestles and his best result of 2016 season, earning the 28 year-old from Durban US $100,000 (R1.4 million) and 10,000 points which lifted him to No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard and firmly into the World Title race with three events remaining on the schedule.

“I’ve had a really good surfboard under my feet this event,” Smith said. “I came into the event with an open mind. I missed it last year (through injury) when the waves were firing so I just wanted to come in and take it heat-by-heat. I’ve watched Joel [Parkinson] throughout my career and he’s one of my favourite surfers. I’m frothing and I’m over the moon.”

Smith’s tactics of staying in the inside position at the start paid off and he established a strong lead with a 6.0 and an excellent 8.17 early in the final as the two former event winners went head-to-head. But Parkinson responded with a 6.93 and a critical 8.43, the highest scoring ride of the clash, before Smith added a 7.63 to his tally. Without priority and three minutes on the clock, the Australian needed a 7.27 to take the win, but was not able to land the requirement.

“If I can be in with a shot at the World Title this year then that will be great,” continued Smith. “The European events can go either way so I’m just going to try my hardest and see how it goes. I think my Round 4 match-up against Kelly [Slater] and Michel Bourez was the toughest here, and of course that semi-final against Filipe (Toledo) was a big heat too.”

This event marks Parkinson’s best result of the year and his first finals appearance since the 2014 J-Bay Open where he also earned a runner-up finish. The 2004 Lowers Champion found his form once again, overcoming in-form local wildcard Tanner Gudauskas (USA) in a nail-biting semi-final duel to earn a place in the final against Smith. Parkinson moves up eight places to sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I really fell in love with this wave and this town in 2004,” Parkinson said. “This year was another wonderful year at Trestles and I’m really happy to be back here and on the podium — it feels really good. This event I was so motivated and really keen to notch up a win. The talent of surfing in this event is incredible and I have to give it to Jordy, he’s an amazing surfer and a top World Title contender.”

Tyler Wright (AUS) claimed her fourth Championship Tour victory of the season in an all-Australian final against six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). The win sees Wright retain the Jeep Leader Yellow Jersey, increases her lead on the rankings and moves her ever closer to claiming her first World Title heading into the last three events.

“It’s been quite a journey from this point last year and a lot has changed this season,” said Wright. “It’s all come together and I’m absolutely loving it. I knew I had to get on the better waves facing Steph [Gilmore] in the final. Surfing against her is great, she’s still one of my surfing idols and inspires me to go after things my own way.”

The two finalists have shared 19 head-to-head CT match-ups, with Wright taking her eighth win over Gilmore. Wright opened her account with an excellent 8.50 and 6.37 to put pressure on the six-time WSL Champion and Gilmore charged back with progressive surfing to lock in a 6.00, but still needed an excellent 8.87.

With two minutes left, a set provided the finalists one last opportunity. Gilmore delivered a near-perfect 9.13 but Wright was able to improve her 6.37 with an 8.63 and take the win.

Gilmore posted the highest heat total of the Swatch Women’s Pro in Round 4 and her runner-up finish sees the 2014 event winner move up from 7th to 5th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I love this place and this wave so it’s really nice to come here and get a good result,” said Gilmore. “Congrats to Tyler [Wright]! My goal is just to win an event this season. Since my injury I haven’t really put together a complete performance so we’ll see what happens heading into Europe and in Hawaii, which is a favourite.

South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag was eliminated in Round 2 of the Swatch Women’s Pro, finishing equal 13th and dropping from 10th to 12th on the Jeep Leaderboard. The 22 year-old from Victoria Bay will be determined to deliver great results in Europe and Hawaii to force her way back into the top 10 in order to re-qualify for a fourth successive year on the CT.

The next event on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Cascais Women’s Pro, which will see the world’s best female surfers go head to head in Portugal from September 24 – 2 October. The next CT event for men is the Quiksilver Pro France from 4 – 15 October.

Highlights, images and video footage of every heat from the Hurley Pro and the Swatch Women’s Pro are available at WorldSurfLeague.com

Men’s Hurley Pro Final Results:
1 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.80
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.36

Men’s Hurley Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.23 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.50
SF 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.33

2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (After Hurley Pro)
1. John John Florence (HAW) 41,650 points
2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 37,450
3. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,500
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,200
5. Kelly Slater (USA) 29,650

Swatch Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.13
2- Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.13

Swatch Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.60 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 14.17
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.60 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.60

2016 WSL Jeep Women’s Leaderboard Top 5 (After Swatch Women’s Pro):
1. Tyler Wright (AUS) 63,450 points
2. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 46,200
3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 42,500
4. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 38,450
5. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 37,300

12. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 23,550

ENDS

Note: High resolution images are available on request for media outlets

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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

#labcomm

Career Best Result for Mikey February in Azores :: Jordy Smith into Quarters in California

September 12th, 2016 No comments
Michael February throws an arc of spray on his way to a career best 3rd place result at the Azores Airlines Pro on Saturday  Photo: WSL / Masurel

Michael February throws an arc of spray on his way to a career best 3rd place result at the Azores Airlines Pro on Saturday  Photo: WSL / Masurel

– Early Elimination for Bianca Buitendag at Trestles
– WSL Africa Titles up for Grabs in Morocco this Week

Cape Town’s Michael February posted best result of his professional career on the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) in the Azores on Saturday, while Durban’s Jordy Smith advanced directly into the Quarterfinals of the Hurley Pro Trestles, Stop No. 8 of 11 on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), in California later the same day.

Competing in the QS6,000 rated Azores Airlines Pro, February cut a swathe through the top seeds in the event before being narrowly pipped in the semi-finals, finishing the event in equal third place with earnings of US $5 500 (R77 000) and 3 550 points.

Despite still wearing strapping on the ankle he injured before the Ballito Pro in June, the 23 year-old from Kommetjie benefitted from his powerful manoeuvres and excellent strategic decisions to defeat higher rated opponents such as Pat Gudauskas (USA), Mitch Coleborn (AUS) and others before falling to eventual event winner Ian Gouveia (BRA).

His record setting points haul sees February leapfrog 45 places up the QS leaderboard to No. 35, which cements his place in the remaining top rated QS10,000 events at Cascais in Portugal next week, and the two season-ending Hawaiian events in November and December, and assures him of preferential seeding in those events.

February is now less than 5 000 points off the Top 10 on the QS rankings, and 1 000 points behind Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga), whose 73rd place result in the Azores dropped him three places to No. 27 in the rankings. Although they will be up against the world’s best at Cascais, and particularly in Hawaii, the pair has the opportunity to challenge for a top 10 yearend finish and qualification for the elite 2017 WSL CT.

See full results and video highlights from the Azores Airlines Pro at http://bit.ly/2cSNkK6

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Jordy Smith propelled himself into the 2016 World Title race with a towering display in his Round 4 match-up at the famed high-performance cobblestone break of Trestles on Saturday afternoon. Posting a pair of scintillating 9.0 point rides, the lanky resident of nearby San Clemente dispatched Michel Bourez (PYF) and Kelly Slater (USA) to cutthroat Round 5 elimination heats while progressing directly to the last eight himself.

“Going into that heat with Michel [Bourez], obviously one of the most powerful surfers in the world, as well as Kelly [Slater] — I just wanted to do my best surfing and Round 4 allows you to be a lot more free,” said Smith, who narrowly scraped through his Round 3 heat earlier in the day.

Ranked equal No. 5 on the Jeep Leaderboard coming into the event, Smith is now the highest seeded surfer left in the contest after a series of major upsets saw rankings leader John John Florence (HAW), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS) and Julian Wilson (AUS) all eliminated from competition.

Having already earned 5 200 points, enough to see him move into fourth place in the rankings, Smith will face the winner of the Round 5 duel between Bourez and giant-killing wildcard Brett Simpson (USA) when competition resumes. A repeat of his 2014 victory at Trestles would see Smith move to within 1 000 points of a top three berth heading into the last three events of the year on the CT in France, Portugal and Hawaii.

See results, videos, image and LIVE coverage from 4.30pm daily at http://bit.ly/2bH1E6Q

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Bianca Buitendag was eliminated in Round 2 of the Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles last week, finishing equal 13th in the event where she was runner-up last year.

Sitting right on the qualification bubble going into Stop No. 7 of 10 on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Women’s CT, Buitendag is likely to drop out of the Top 10 who automatically re-qualify for the elite top tier as several lower ranked women are still in contention in California.

With a QS ranking of No. 166, the 22 year-old from Victoria Bay in the Southern Cape, who ended last year ranked a career-high fourth on the CT, will be determined to post good results in the remaining three events of season in Portugal (Cascais), France and Maui in Hawaii in order to retain her seat at Women’s surfing’s highest table.

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The 2016 WSL Africa regional titles for Men and Women will be up for grabs in Morocco when the Quiksilver Pro Casablanca and Roxy Pro Casablanca, both QS1,500 rated events, start tomorrow in front of the Anfaplace Shopping Center in the city.

The second edition for Men and inaugural Women’s event are co-sanctioned by WSL Africa and WSL Europe with the points earned counting towards the surfers’ respective regional rankings.

While WSL Africa rankings leader Beyrick de Vries and second placed Micheal February have opted to remain in Europe to practice for the QS10,000 rated Cascais Pro in Portugal starting next weekend, third ranked Dylan Lightfoot and fourth ranked fellow Jeffreys Bay resident Matt McGillivray will be determined to claim the coveted WSL Africa title, won last year by David van Zyl (Glenashley).

The champions from each region are guaranteed entry into all the major QS events in the following year which is a huge advantage for any surfer hoping to qualify for the elite WSL Championship Tour.

Tanika Hoffman (Hout Bay) and Emma Smith (Jeffreys Bay) will be aiming to overtake current rankings leaders Faye Zoetmulder (Cape St Francis) and Nikita Robb (East London) to clinch the regional Women’s title. Hoffman, currently third, only needs to collect her vest for the first heat to take the lead, but will be wary of Smith who can grab the title by finishing first or second in the event.

Watch the events unfold live at http://bit.ly/2cQBh1m

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AZORES AIRLINES PRO MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.53
2 – Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.10

AZORES AIRLINES PRO MEN’S SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 13.13 def. Michael February (ZAF) 12.00
SF 2: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 14.10 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.93

AZORES AIRLINES PRO MEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 12.97 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 8.26
QF 2: Michael February (ZAF) 15.93 def. Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 15.50
QF 3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 15.27 def. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 11.66
QF 4: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.16 def. Lucas Silveira (BRA) 11.84

++++++

Men’s Hurley Pro Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.27 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.83
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.17
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.27 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.34
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.70 vs. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.50
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.10 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.40
Heat 6: Brett Simpson (USA) 15.16 def. John John Florence (HAW) 8.74
Heat 7: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 17.34 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.13
Heat 8: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.23 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.00
Heat 9: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 16.37 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.94
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.84 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.66
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (USA) 15.67 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 9.67
Heat 12: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 15.47 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.70

Men’s Hurley Pro Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18.50, Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.50, Kelly Slater (USA) 13.16
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.97, Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.60, Brett Simpson (USA) 14.14
Heat 3: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 14.84, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 13.67, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.90
Heat 4: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 14.56, Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.80, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.26

Men’s Hurley Pro Round 5 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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

#labcomm

Slater Wins, Florence Heads Rankings and Smith Up to No. 5 on Epic Finals Day in Tahiti

August 24th, 2016 No comments
Kelly Slater (USA) deep inside a tube at Teahupo’o on his way to victory in the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Tuesday Photo: WSL / Poullenot

Kelly Slater (USA) deep inside a tube at Teahupo’o on his way to victory in the Billabong Pro Tahiti on Tuesday Photo: WSL / Poullenot

In a memorable day for professional surfing, Kelly Slater (USA) rewrote the record books by defeating John John Florence in the final of the Billabong Pro Tahiti, stop No. 7 of 11 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), in flawless and pumping 1.5 to 2.5 metre waves at the fabled break of Teahupo’o yesterday (Tuesday).

The peerless 11-time World Champion improved on his own record-setting legacy by claiming his 55th CT event title and his fifth win in Tahiti; delivering four perfect 10 point rides in the same event, three on the final day, including his third perfect 20 point heat total (only nine perfect heats have been produced in the history of the sport); extending his record as the oldest surfer to win a CT and averaging an incredible 18.29 out of 20 for the seven heats he contested.

“When I look back that will for sure be one of the best wins I have ever had,” said an elated Slater. “To have John John [Florence] in the final is a dream for me. It is no secret that I am towards the tail-end of my career. John John and Gabriel [Medina] are on their way up and those guys are just monsters. John John is everybody’s favourite surfer, so I want to see how many heats I can get with him before I am done, and to have him out here where he and Gabriel are the favourites. This is a really special time for me. I am stoked.”

The win was Slater’s best result of the season and his first CT event win in 32 months, since the Billabong Pipe Masters in 2013. After finishing 25th, 13th and 25th in the first three events of 2016, and then electing not to participate in the fourth event in Brazil in May, he slumped to a worst ever No. 36 on the Jeep Leaderboard.

Since June the 44 year-old he earned 3rd place in Fiji, 5th place Jeffreys Bay and won in Tahiti which has elevated him 28 places to No. 8 in the rankings going into the last four events of the season, all of which he has won multiple times.

“It just came together for me,” continued Slater. “I was on the right waves, I was in sync and totally relaxed the whole time. To be in that Final with John John and lose would have been no problem for me. I was taking each heat as a bonus. I have had such a bad run for me historically over the last couple of years that anything was going to be good.”

Slater’s amazing run through the event also saw him receive the Andy Irons Most Committed Performance Award, a trophy that goes to the standout surfer of the Billabong Pro Tahiti to honour the late three-time world champion and one of Slater’s fiercest rivals. Previous winners include C.J. Hobgood (2015), Owen Wright (2014), John John Florence (2013), Ricardo dos Santos (2012) and Jeremy Flores (2011).

“I’m so stoked, I’ve worked for this thing for years,” said Slater on receiving the trophy after his semifinal victory. “Andy [Irons] would be equally mad and stoked that I won this. Last time I surfed against Andy, it was here at Teahupo’o and he won the event. It was his last win, and I lost to him in the Semifinals. It was a really special heat for me and this is a really special award. This is rad and I can’t wait to put the award in my house. I feel like I’ve won the contest already.”

The runner-up finish for Florence is his best ever result at Teahupo’o and sees the 23-year-old claim the Jeep Leader Jersey from Matt Wilkinson (AUS) who has held it since the first event of the year.

“I am super stoked to be the leader on the Jeep Rankings,” Florence said. “But at this point, it is only a yellow jersey and what counts is at the end of the year. There is still a lot to go this year and I’m going to keep chipping away at it.”

Gabriel Medina (BRA), 2014 event winner and 2015 finalist, took home a third-place finish following an incredible match-up against Florence in the second semifinal. The sensational superheat that is already being touted as ‘Heat of the Year’, saw the pair battle for a place in the final and the chance to claim the Jeep Leader Jersey.

The surfers traded impressive scores throughout the heat, posting seven excellent barrels above 9.00 between them during the bout. The Hawaiian held a slight lead of 18.44 to Medina’s 17.46, but with ten minutes left on the clock, Medina challenged Florence by coming out of a monstrous barrel to earn a Perfect 10 (the fifth of the day) and gain control of the heat.

Under pressure and with four minutes remaining, Florence needed a 9.31. In a dramatic exchange, Florence used his priority to land a critical 9.93 to regain the lead and followed it up with a 9.73 to seal the win.

“It was a really fun heat,” said Medina. “John [Florence] is always hard to beat anywhere. We both had really good waves. It was his day today. I look forward to Trestles.”

South Africa’s Jordy Smith led for most of his Round 5 heat on the final day before eventual semi-finalist Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan (AUS) slotted into an incredibly deep tube and emerged with a 9.10 and the heat win.

The Durbanite matched his career best 9th place finish in Tahiti and moved up two places to equal fifth place with Julian Wilson (AUS) on the Jeep Rankings going into his more favoured events at Trestles, near his new home in California where he won in 2014, and in France and Portugal.

The next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles in California, which will see the battle for this season’s World Titles heat up as the world’s best surfers take on Lowers from September 7 -18, 2016.

Highlights, results, heat reviews and more form from the Billabong Pro Tahiti are available at WorldSurfLeague.com

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI FINAL RESULTS:
1: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.67
2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.23

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.40 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.10
SF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 19.66 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.23

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.16 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.00
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.27 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 17.43
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.90 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.40
QF 4: John John Florence (HAW) 17.34 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.60

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.77 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.60
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 20.00 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.70
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.43 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.33
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 18.30 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.90

2016 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after Billabong Pro Tahiti):
1. John John Florence (HAW) 39,900 pts
2. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 36,000 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 35,700 pts
4. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 26,200 pts
5. Julian Wilson (AUS) 25,200 pts
5. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 25,200 pts

ENDS

NOTE: High resolutions images are available on request for media outlets

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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

#labcomm

Success for Smith and Lightfoot in Tahiti and France

August 22nd, 2016 No comments
Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) in action on his way to 13th place in the Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro in France on Sunday Photo: WSL Europe

Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) in action on his way to 13th place in the Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro in France on Sunday Photo: WSL Europe

South Africans Jordy Smith and Dylan Lightfoot tasted success in separate events in Tahiti and France respectively on the weekend as the World Surf League’s (WSL) Samsung Championship Tour (CT) and Qualifying Series (QS) moved into the second half of the 2016 season.

Smith won his opening heat in the Billabong Pro Tahiti in uncharacteristically inconsistent and small 1.5 metre waves at the fabled surf break of Teahupo’o to advance directly to Round 3 at stop No. 7 of 11 on the CT.

The Durbanite overcame the disadvantage of having to contest the first encounter of the event by posting the heat’s highest single ride score on the first wave and then staying busy throughout the 35 minutes to relegate his rivals Ryan Callinan (AUS) and Dusty Payne (HAW) to cutthroat Round 2 match-ups.

Currently ranked No. 7 on the Jeep Rankings list, Smith will face Matt Banting (AUS) in Round 3 after the injury wildcard defeated Caio Ibelli (BRA) in his Round 2 duel. With the surf forecast for the event indicating that the waves will remain in the 1m to 2m range during the remainder of the event holding period, which runs until Tuesday 30 August, Smith will be keen to improve on his best result of 9th in the event (in 2009 and 2013).

The South African has earned 21 200 points from six events this year, the bulk of which came from his runner-up finish at Bells Beach in Australia at Easter and fifth place at the J-Bay Open last month.

After an injury ravaged 2015 season, Smith will be hoping to stay in touch with the rankings leaders Matt Wilkinson(AUS), John John Florence (HAW) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) in Tahiti before the CT swings through his more favoured events at Trestles in California, where he won in 2014; France (3rd in 2014 and 2011) and Portugal (runner-up in 2014 and 2010).

The 2016 Samsung WSL Championship Tour culminates at the Billabong Pipeline Masters in Hawaii in December where Smith has not placed in the top 12 since his fifth place in 2010, the year he achieved his career best runner-up finish to Kelly Slater (USA) in the chase for the World Surfing Champion title.

Meanwhile in France, Lightfoot bounced back from his early exits in the Ballito Pro and the trials for US Open of Surfing by advancing through two rounds to reach the last 16 of the QS1,500 Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro, held in challenging 2m to 2.5m waves on the Bay of Biscay coast.

The 21 year-old from Jeffreys Bay incurred an interference penalty in his Round 5 heat on Sunday, leaving him fourth in his heat and 13th overall in the event. The 420 points he earned saw Lightfoot, the 2015 WSL Africa Junior champion, move up six places to 114th on the QS rankings, close to his aim of making the top 100 who qualify for the top rated QS10,000 events.

The event was won by Ballito Pro runner-up Joan Duru (FRA), who defeated reigning WSL Junior champion Lucas Silveira (BRA) in the final to maintain his No. 4 spot on the latest QS rankings. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Ethan Ewing (AUS) and Ballito Pro champion Connor O’Leary (AUS) are the top three ranked surfers.

The other South Africans at Lacanau included 2015 WSL Africa champion David van Zyl (Glenashley), who was sidelined in the Round of 64 with equal 33rd place overall. Rookie QS campaigner Michael Monk (East London) and Remi Peterson (Jeffreys Bay), who competes on a Netherlands passport, were eliminated in Round 1.

WSL Africa’s top ranked Qualifying Series competitors, Beyrick de Vries (uMhlanga), Michael February (Kommetjie) and Matt McGillivray (Jeffreys Bay), retained their respective QS rankings of 17th, 73rd and 77th despite not competing at Lacanau.

Lightfoot, van Zyl, Monk and Peterson will compete in the QS1,500 Pro Anglet Chambre d’Amour in the Biarritz area of France starting on Wednesday.

Lightfoot and van Zyl will then be joined by de Vries, February, McGillivray and Slade Prestwich (Durban, currently ranked No. 126) in the QS6,000 Pantin Classic Galicia Pro in Spain, which begins on 30 August, and the QS6,000 Azores Pro from 6 September.

All the action at WSL events can be watched LIVE on www.worldsurfleague.com

BILLABONG PRO TAHITI – UPCOMING ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 6: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 7: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)

WSL Qualifying Series (QS) Men’s Rankings (After Medoc Ocean Lacanau Pro)
1 Fioravanti, Leonardo ITA 17830 points
2 Ewing, Ethan AUS 16500
3 O’Leary, Connor AUS 14700
4 Duru, Joan FRA 14330
5 Silva, Deivid BRA 12680

WSL Africa Members (Top 350 places)
17 De Vries, Beyrick ZAF, uMhlanga 7680
47 Smith, Jordy ZAF, Durban 4800
73 February, Michael ZAF, Kommetjie 3610
79 McGillivray, Matthew ZAF, Jeffreys Bay 3395
114 Lightfoot, Dylan ZAF, Jeffreys Bay 2555
126 Prestwich, Slade ZAF, Durban 2185
166 Staples, Dale ZAF, St Francis Bay 1530
204 Van Zyl, David ZAF, Glenashley 1160
300 Benjamin, Brandon ZAF, Cape Town 695
304 Brand, Davey ZAF, Kommetjie 677
305 Maree, Jordan ZAF, Kalk Bay 675
305 Willis, Bevan ZAF, Umdloti 675
324 Monk, Michael ZAF, East London 628
330 Sykes, Shane ZAF, Salt Rock 610
348 Redman, Daniel ZAF, Umdloti 580
348 Sawyer, Steven ZAF, Jeffreys Bay 580

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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

#labcomm

Fairytale Finish as Fanning Claims J-Bay Open Title at Jeffreys Bay

July 16th, 2016 No comments
Mick Fanning (AUS) on his way to victory in the J-Bay Open on Saturday  Image: WSL / Cestari

Mick Fanning (AUS) on his way to victory in the J-Bay Open on Saturday  Image: WSL / Cestari

– 3 x WSL Champion Takes Record Equaling 4th Win at Jeffreys Bay
– Runner-up John John Florence Moves to 2nd Place on WSL Jeep Leaderboard

JEFFREYS BAY, South Africa (Saturday 16 July, 2016) – Mick Fanning (AUS) produced a fairytale finish by winning the J-Bay Open, Stop No. 6 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), on his return to Jeffreys Bay a year after encountering a shark in the highly publicised 2015 final.

Fanning defeated John John Florence (HAW) in a tense 35 minute final held in clean 1m to 1.3 metre (3 to 4 foot) waves in front of a packed audience lining the beach and the amphitheatre created by the dunes overlooking Supertubes.

“It’s definitely a very different feeling this win,” said Fanning. “There was a real emotional build up coming back here this year. I’m stoked that I got to come back and right the wrongs that happened last year. I’ve done that now so I can move on.”

Today’s win is Fanning’s 22nd Championship Tour victory and his fourth at the J-Bay Open, equaling Kelly Slater’s record of event wins at Jeffreys Bay. Fanning defeated Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Julian Wilson (AUS) en route to the Final today.

“That Semifinal with Julian was really special and it was wonderful to have a heat with him again. Definitely some emotions went into it paddling out and it was just really special having a surf with him out there and both of us coming in safe.”

Fanning, who is taking a personal year in 2016, only competing in select events this season, leaps up from 16th to 5th place on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard.

“It’s awesome to be in 5th place but I don’t really care about results this year,” said Fanning. “I just want to thank everyone who has supported me over the past year, I’ve had so much support, and I’m looking forward to celebrating. For me this year feels a lot lighter not going for a world title so I’m really enjoying my surfing and having a lot of fun. I’ll be surfing at Trestles and I think that might be my last event of the year. World titles aren’t the biggest thing for me at the moment – I’m all about enjoying my surfing.”

Today’s runner-up finish for Florence sees him move up to second place on the Jeep Leaderboard for the first time in his career and close the gap on ratings leader Matt Wilkinson (AUS) heading into the next event on the CT, the Billabong Pro Tahiti.

Florence, who was absent from the J-Bay Open in 2015 due to an ankle injury, defeated local favourite Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the Quarterfinals and Josh Kerr (AUS) in the Semifinals before facing Fanning in the Final and earning his best ever result at Jeffreys Bay.

“I’m really stoked to be back here this year and to be in the Final surfing against Mick,” Florence said. “I wasn’t here last here when everything went down so just to see Mick win it is pretty inspiring coming back after that.”

Josh Kerr (AUS) took on runner-up Florence in the opening Semifinal match-up and both surfers took to the air. Florence took the lead and although Kerr got to his feet before the final buzzer, he didn’t get the score required. Today’s result is Kerr’s best of the season and also his best ever at Jeffreys Bay. Kerr leaps up ten places to 17th on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I’ve really enjoyed the event and it’s been a good result for me,” Kerr said. “Tahiti coming up is one of my favorite locations so I’m looking forward to that.”

A rematch of last year’s dramatic final between Fanning and compatriot Julian Wilson (AUS) played out in the second Semifinal bout. Both surfers opened strong but it was Wilson who had the edge. A strategic and selective Fanning used his priority to best advantage to take the wave of the heat and unleash his typical speed and power, posting a decisive 9.10 to win the heat. Wilson goes home in third place and moves to 9th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“It’s a great result for me,” said Wilson. “It’s really got my year back on track. I’m so pleased I got have that Semifinal with Mick. I just wish I could have found an opportunity and the right wave to have a real chance at winning.”

11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) was defeated in the Quarterfinals by Kerr, finishing the event in 5th place and moving from 26th to 19th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I got here about 5 minutes later than I wanted to be this morning,” Slater said. “I was trying to turn it around during the heat but I wasn’t as patient as I could have been. It really came down to priority in the end and I didn’t quite get the score I needed.”

2014 WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) was eliminated in 5th place by Wilson in Quarterfinal 3 and drops down one place to third on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“Everyone is hard to beat and everyone wants to win,” said Medina. “John John and Filipe, all these guys want to win. I’m lucky I got my first title just two years ago. Hopefully we can all keep battling — that’s what makes it exciting. It’s good to see John and Wilko doing well because I think it will be really exciting at the end of the year.”

Filipe Toledo (BRA) battled Fanning in a thrilling and high scoring Quarterfinal duel in which the lead changed hands several time before Fanning wrapped up the win with a 9.27 and an 8.37. The Brazilian was given an opportunity in the final minute but fell on his last manoeuvre and leaves the event in 5th place, his best ever result at the J-Bay Open, and moves to 13th on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“Definitely it’s a really good result for me,” said Toledo. “I’m really happy to make a really good heat against Mick. It’s always exciting to surf against him. Now I’m just training harder, looking forward and looking for good results.”

Highlights from the J-Bay Open are available at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL app.

The next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Vans US Open of Surfing, which will see the world’s best female surfers resume this season’s title race from July 25 – 31.

J-Bay Open Final Results:
1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.70
2: John John Florence (HAW) 17.13

J-Bay Open Semifinal Results:
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 16.50 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.43
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.10 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.17

J-Bay Open Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 10.70 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.50
QF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.94 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.97
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.33 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.93
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.64 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.40

WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after J-Bay Open):
1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 34,250 pts
2. John John Florence (HAW) 31,900 pts
3. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 29,200 pts
4. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 24,400 pts
5. Mick Fanning (AUS) 23,450 pts

7. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 21,200 pts

ENDS

NOTE: High resolution images will be available for media outlets

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
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

#labcomm

Bianca Buitendag and Jordy Smith Ranked in Top 10 after Drug Aware Margaret River Pro

April 17th, 2016 No comments
Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, ZAF) on her way to the quarterfinals of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Australia  Image: WSL / Cestari

Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, ZAF) on her way to the quarterfinals of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Australia  Image: WSL / Cestari

Sebastian Zietz Claims Victory over World’s Best, Vaults to No. 2 in the World
Tyler Wright Clinches Second Event Title in 2016

South African’s Bianca Buitendag and Jordy Smith are both ranked in the Top 10 in their respective women’s and men’s Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tours (CT) after the third stop of the season, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia.

Buitendag (Victoria Bay, ZAF) advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time this year before being eliminated by three-time WSL and reigning WSL women’s champion Carissa Moore (HAW). Her 5th place finish saw Buitendag climb from eleventh to No. 8 on the Jeep Rankings leaderboard.

Smith (Durban, ZAF), who came into Margaret River ranked No. 3 following his runner-up result at Bells Beach, posted several powerful performances before he was ousted by Brazilian rookie Caio Ibelli in the round before the quarterfinals. Smith dropped four places to No. 7 on the leaderboard after finishing 9th overall in Western Australia.

Tyler Wright (AUS) won the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro on Friday, defeating defending event champion and Jeep rankings leader Courtney Conlogue (USA) in pumping 2 – 2.5 metre waves at the Main Break.

Wright took the lead early in the final and then put her opponent in a combination situation and needing to improve on both her scores when the Australian completed a deep tube ride for a near perfect 9.60 out of 10. Conlogue, who has won three titles at this event, struggled to find the scores to combat Wright and was left needing a 9.97 point ride for victory.

“I knew Courtney was just dropping 9-point rides every heat, so I had to be smart in selecting my waves and turns and not get over excited,” Wright said. “Every wave I had felt dreamy. This event was easy for me. No massive mental challenges, so I was really stoked on that and the happy headspace I’ve been in.”

Conlogue will continue to wear the Jeep Leaders Jersey in the next event in Rio de Janeiro in May as she remains in 1st place position on the rankings. The American continued to demonstrate strong and consistent performances that saw her reach her third straight final on the 2016 CT.

Sebastian Zietz (HAW), a former elite tour competitor and injury replacement surfer on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, claimed his first CT victory at Margaret River in a dramatic final against Julian Wilson (AUS) on Saturday.

Wilson opened up a lead in the final but Zietz responded by posting a 9.10 to stay in contention. A set of waves with five minutes remaining resulted in Wilson taking the first one but not improving his two-wave total while Zietz showcased his trademark Hawaiian power and style to grab the lead.

“I am stoked,” Zietz said. “The pressure was on and I pulled that last maneuver in the white-water and made it. To win was definitely the goal I’d set for a long time. It is epic to win a CT event against all the top guys and come out on top. I just want to dedicate this win to my family and everyone at home.”

After narrowly failing to requalify for this season’s elite tour, Zietz has been competing as an injury replacement in the three Australian leg events. His event win now vaults the Hawaiian to No. 2 in the world heading into the remainder of the year.

“I love the wave here and the crowd that comes down,” said Wilson. “That was a good final. Massive congrats to Seabass [Sebastian Zietz] for his first win. We were able to go blow for blow and produce two great heat totals out there. I am happy to get a good result here and Bells was a better result than last year. I look forward to the rest of the year and to carry that momentum and fire into Brazil.”

The next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Oi Rio Pro from May 10 – 21, 2016

For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Final Results:
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 18.67
2 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.70

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.44 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 12.17
SF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.07 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.07

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 15.00 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 7.20
QF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.33 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 6.67
QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.57 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 6.40
QF 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.53 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 8.74

2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Rankings (After Drug Aware Margaret River Pro):
1. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 26,000 pts
2. Tyler Wright (AUS) 25,200 pts
3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 19,500 pts
4. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 18,200 pts
5. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15,600pts

8. Bianca Buitendag (Victoria Bay, ZAF) 11,800pts

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 – Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 17.40
2 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.67

Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.60 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.50
SF 2: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.27 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.17

2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Rankings (after Drug Aware Margaret River Pro):
1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 24,000 pts
2. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15,750 pts
3. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14,750 pts
4. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13,700 pts
5. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13,450 pts

7. Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) 12,500pts

ENDS

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
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

#labcomm

Smith Runner-Up to Wilkinson at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

April 3rd, 2016 No comments
Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) on his way to second place in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia on Sunday Image: WSL / Sloane

Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) on his way to second place in the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia on Sunday Image: WSL / Sloane

Buitendag Ninth in Women’s Event
Highlights from Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Available at WorldSurfLeague.Com

Jordy Smith (ZAF) posted his best result at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach when he finished runner-up to Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in pumping 2 – 3 metre (6 -10 feet) waves at the iconic venue in the Australian State of Victoria on Sunday.

The second stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach is the longest-running annual surf event in the world and today proved nothing short of historic with Wilkinson’s victory being the first for a goofy-footer at Bells Beach in 17 years (last won by Mark Occhilupo in 1998).

The final showcased Wilkinson and Smith exchanging huge scores as each battled to hold the lead. Wilkinson unleashed his strong backhand to deliver vertical snaps, earning him a 9.20 and an 8.17, challenging Smith to find two new scores at the halfway point. Smith finished with a 14.16 two-wave combined score, but it was not enough to beat Wilkinson’s total of 17.37.

After suffering a string of injuries in 2015, Smith’s performance at Bells puts his WSL Title campaign back on track. Although he experienced an early Round 2 loss at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast last month, he made a major comeback by defeating Australians Adam Melling and Kai Otten, Caio Ibelli (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF) and posting a first victory at Bells over three-time WSL Champion and four-time event winner Mick Fanning (AUS) on his way to the Final.

“Last year I had a back injury and struggled through it, but I am glad to make the Final here today,” Smith said. “This year was a little different for me at Bells. I did not have my expectations so high, and I wanted to put on a good performance and surf my best. I am just trying to put my head down and do the best surfing I can and work as hard as I can.”

The result sees Smith vault to No. 3 on the Jeep rankings heading into the third stop on the Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour – the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – which starts in Western Australia on Friday 8 April.

Following a win at the opening stop of the season on the Gold Coast, the Wilkinson has gone back-to-back to start the year with today’s emphatic victory and now holds a points total that is more than double his nearest challenger.

“I have been trying to win everywhere, forever and it has never happened, and this year I seem to keep picking up trophies, which is making me feel pretty good,” Wilkinson said, “I am so happy to be at Bells. I’ve been coming down to this event for so long, and I’ve always wanted to win it. I finally got my chance.”

Courtney Conlogue (USA) won the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach on Friday, defeating two-former event winner Sally Fitzgibbons in the Final and taking over the Jeep ranking’s leader’s yellow jersey heading into Margaret River.

Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) caused an upset by relegating six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) to Round 2 in the opening round encounter. But the 22 year-old from Victoria Bay was narrowly outpointed by Alessa Quizon in Round 4 and ended her Bells Beach campaign in ninth place overall, slipping to No. 11 in the rankings.

Highlights from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach are available at WorldSurfLeague.com.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Final Results:
1 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.37
2 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.16

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.27 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.40
SF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.17 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.90

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.30 def. Nat Young (USA) 12.33
QF 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.26 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.00
QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.90 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 16.17
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.77 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.26

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Remaining Round 5 Results:
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.50 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 6.33
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.80 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 16.33

2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Top 5 (after Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach):
1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 20,000 pts
2. Conner Coffin (USA) 9,200 pts
3. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 8,500 pts
3. Kolohe Andino (USA) 8,500 pts
5. Mick Fanning (AUS) 8,250 pts
5. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8,250 pts
5. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 8,250 pts

ENDS

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
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

#labcomm

Jordy Smith & Bianca Buitendag into Round 4 at Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

March 28th, 2016 No comments
Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) powers his way over the falling lip on his way to Round 4 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia  Image: WSL / Sloane

Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) powers his way over the falling lip on his way to Round 4 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Australia  Image: WSL / Sloane

Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag have advanced to Round 4 of the men’s and women’s events at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, the second stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).

Both South Africans suffered early exits at the first event of year on the Gold Coast of Australia two weeks ago and, being the tallest surfers on their respective tours, have relished the additional size and power of the waves at Bells Beach, the iconic venue for this event for past 55 years.

Smith, after finishing second to John John Florence (HAW) in their non-elimination Round 1 heat held in one metre waves on Friday, was able to use his full repertoire of carving rail manoeuvres to defeat dangerous injury replacement Adam Melling (AUS) in unruly double overhead, three metre conditions on Saturday.

The Durbanite continued his momentum on Sunday, slashing his way through the 1 to 1.5 metre onshore surf on Sunday to post victory over Kai Otton (AUS) and advance to Round 4. There he faces three-time world champion and four-time and defending Bells champion Mick Fanning (AUS) and rookie Conner Coffin (USA) with the heat winner progressing directly to the quarterfinals while the other two compete in elimination two-man Round 5 heats.

Smith, a three-time semifinalist at Bells, and Fanning are the only top-12 seeded surfers remaining in the bottom half of the draw following a series of major upsets that saw Joel Parkinson, Florence and Gabriel Medina sidelined by rookies Coffin, Caio Ibelli (BRA) and Davey Cathels (AUS), while Kelly Slater was ousted by Michel Bourez (PYF).

Buitendag started her Bells campaign with a well deserved Round 1 win over six-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore and rookie Chelsea Tuach of Barbados to skip Round 2. However, the 22 year-old from Victoria Bay was relegated to third place by reigning world and Bells champ Carissa Moore and fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel in Round 3.

Buitendag faces a match up with another Hawaiian in Alessa Quizon when competition resumes with the winner advancing to a quarterfinal clash with Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and the loser eliminated from the event in equal ninth place overall.

Sunday’s action was capped off with the WSL Heritage Series heat between Australian former world champions Barton Lynch (1988) and Damien Hardman (1987, 1991). Despite the challenging lineup, the icons surgically dismantled the tricky Bells conditions on their backhand, with Lynch walking away the victory

Surfline, the official forecasters for the event, are predicting a dropping swell and onshore winds for Tuesday and Wednesday. Clean but small conditions are likely for Thursday before the swell fills in again with offshore winds from Friday.

Event organizers will reconvene each morning at 8am local time (11pm SA time) to assess conditions for a possible recommencement of competition.

All the action from the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach can be watched LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com which also features full results, images, video footage, the Heat Analyser, news, forecasts, and more.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.00 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.83
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 13.50 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 7.67
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.44 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.67
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.47 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 8.37
Heat 5: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.37 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.60
Heat 6: Mason Ho (HAW) 15.10 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.33
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.60 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 11.57
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.26
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.27 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.26
Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.83 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.70
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.54 def. John def. John Florence (HAW) 15.50
Heat 12: Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.40 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.07

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Nat Young (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Mason Ho (HAW)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Davey Cathels (AUS)

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.66, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 10.40, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 4.77
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.27, Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.60, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 6.30
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.50, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.10, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 6.76
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) 7.10, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 6.36, Tyler Wright (AUS) 4.83

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 4: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)

ENDS

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly 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, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy 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.

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 Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
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

#labcomm