The World Surf League (WSL) is geared up for a groundbreaking weekend with the inaugural Founders’ Cup of Surfing.
Taking place at the WSL Surf Ranch, powered by Kelly Slater Technology, a 5 000 strong capacity crowd is expected to watch USA, Brazil, Australia, Europe and World Teams compete on the best man-made wave in history over the two-day competition and festival, May 5-6.
In a series of WSL firsts – the first time the WSL Surf Ranch opens its doors to the public, the first live national broadcast, and the first co-ed, continental team-based competition format – the WSL Founders’ Cup of Surfing pres. by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold will introduce an exciting new dimension to competition this weekend in Central California.
Meet the Teams
Australia Team is perhaps one of the strongest on paper with 11 World Titles between Captain Stephanie Gilmore, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, and back-to-back WSL Champion Tyler Wright, and Matt Wilkinson.
Brazil Team boasts two of the world’s most exciting surfers with Team Captain Gabriel Medina, 2014 WSL Champion, and Filipe Toledo, winner of five Championship Tour (CT) events. Joining the two are 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza, seasoned veteran Silvana Lima, and one of the country’s best up-and-comers, Tiana Hinckel.
Europe Team has a combination of talent that spans across the continent, including one of the world’s best tuberiders, Jeremy Flores (FRA); 2017 CT rookies Frederico Morais (PRT) and Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA); a Californian charger representing her German heritage in Frankie Harrer (DEU); and led by Johanne Defay (FRA), one of the most consistent and progressive women on the CT.
USA Team looks to keep the inaugural Founders’ Cup on home soil with the wave system visionary himself, 11x WSL Champion Kelly Slater. This is his first event back after sustaining a foot injury last year. He leads a strong team of American surfers including back-to-back WSL Champion John John Florence, 3x WSL Champion Carissa Moore, and the two Californians Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara), and CT veteran Kolohe Andino (San Clemente).
The World Team are not lacking in any manner when looking across the five-team format as 2017’s World No. 2 Jordy Smith (ZAF) captains a hefty team with the likes of fellow South African Bianca Buitendag, Tahitian powerhouse Michel Bourez, third-year CT competitor and representing his Japanese heritage Kanoa Igarashi, and the veteran talent out of New Zealand, Paige Hareb.
Globally, the WSL’s Facebook page will live stream the event, and the event will be broadcast on television in more than 100 countries.
The WSL 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 Kelly Slater and feedback from visiting WSL surfers.
A private test event last September proved very successful, paving the way for the Founders’ Cup of Surfing to be the first time the public will be allowed onto the grounds.