Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Caroline Marks (USA) have won the Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast, the opening stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).
The final day’s action took place at Duranbah Beach, the event’s backup site, in 0.6 – 1.2 metre waves to determine the first winners of the season.
South Africa’s Jordy Smith (Durban) finished third overall to jumpstart his 2019 world title campaign and possible qualification for the 2020 Olympic Games.
Smith, the biggest surfer on the CT, struggled to post high scoring rides in the early rounds but improved as the event progressed.
The Durbanite’s semi-final clash with eventual winner Ferreira was a see-saw duel in which the lead change hands several times as the two protagonists took to the air with futuristic manoeuvres in the small but clean beach-break waves.
Despite recording the single highest score of the clash – an excellent 8.67 out of 10 for a high-flying 360 degree rotation, Smith was overtaken by the Brazilian who racked up a heat total of 15.33 out of 20 (8.0 + 7.33) to clinch his place in the final.
Having ended the 2018 season at No. 5 on the Jeep Rankings, Smith now heads for the second event on the schedule, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach near Melbourne next week, buoyed by an opening result that is a big improvement on the 13th place he earned on the Gold Coast last year.
The 2019 CT is also the first opportunity for the world’s best surfers to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where surfing will make its Olympic debut.
The Championship Tour rankings at the end of this season will determine 18 of the 40 available places (10 men and 8 women).
After today’s results, the surfers are one step closer to both qualifying for the Olympics and winning the prestigious WSL World Title.
Two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) was eliminated by Jordy Smith (ZAF) in the quarter-finals.
Medina was a standout at D-Bah, posting the highest heat total of the entire event during the earlier rounds.
Kelly Slater (USA), the 11-time world champion who has missed most of the events in the past 18 months while recovering from an ankle injury incurred in Jeffreys Bay in 2017, returned fit and focussed for another tilt at an unprecedented 12th world title.
The 45-year-old continues to match the feats of surfers less than half his age at the world’s most challenging venues but was eliminated early in the 0.5 to 1 metre beach break waves, finishing equal 33rd at Duranbah.
2019 WSL Championship Tour will now head to Stop No. 2, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
The event window will open on April 17 and run through April 27, 2019. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and Facebook.com/WSL.
For highlights from the Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.
Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Caroline Marks (USA) 13.83
2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.67
Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast Semi-final Results:
SF 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.67 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.50
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.90 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 9.87
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.57
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.43
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semi-final Results:
SF 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.23 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 8.96
SF 2: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.33 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.67
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarter-final Results:
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 11.00 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.56
QF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.33 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 11.47
QF 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.17 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.23
QF 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.07 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.77
2019 WSL Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (after Gold Coast):
1 -Caroline Marks (USA) 10,000 points
2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 7,800 points
3 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6,085 points
3 – Malia Manuel (HAW) 6,085 points
5 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 4,745 points
5 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 4,745 points
5 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 4,745 points
5 – Sage Erickson (USA) 4,745 points
2019 WSL Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (after Gold Coast):
1 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10,000 points
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 7,800 points
3 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 6,085 points
3 – John John Florence (HAW) 6,085 points
5 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 4,745 points
5 – Conner Coffin (USA) 4,745 points
5 – Wade Carmichael (AUS) 4,745
5 – Seth Moniz (HAW) 4,745 points