The World Surf League (WSL) 2021 Championship Tour (CT) will head to the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona for the first stop of the Australian leg. The event window opens on April 1 and will host the world’s best surfers through April 11.
For the first time in over two decades, surfers will be competing for World Title points in New South Wales, and for the first time in almost 30 years, they’ll be doing so in Newcastle, a city steeped in professional surfing history. The Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona will see the WSL Championship Tour descend on Merewether Beach with exciting match-ups expected from the opening Rounds.
Heat 4 of Women’s Round 1 will see seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) take on Johanne Defay (FRA) and Bronte Macaulay (AUS), with all three competitors having won events at Merewether in the past.
The men’s draw is filled with possible favorites as five of the last seven Qualifying Series (QS) winners at Merewether will compete in this year’s CT competition. Injury replacements Mikey Wright (AUS) and Matt Banting (AUS) will come into the draw to replace Kelly Slater (USA) and Kolohe Andino (USA), respectively, as the American duo recover from foot and ankle injuries.
Jeffreys Bay local Matt McGillivray will surf in Heat 6 while fellow South African Jordy Smith will be surfing in Heat 4.
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Women’s Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA), Tyler Wright (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA), Philippa Anderson (AUS)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 5: Caroline Marks (USA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Isabella Nichols (AUS)
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Men’s Round 1 Matchups:
Heat 1: Matt Banting (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Conner Coffin (USA), Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Morgan Cibilic (AUS)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Yago Dora (BRA), Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Crosby Colapinto (USA)
Heat 6: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Matthew McGillivray (ZAF), Jackson Butler (AUS)
Heat 7: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS), Michel Bourez (FRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Seth Moniz (HAW), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 12: Jack Freestone (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Robinson (AUS)
Photo: Matt McGillivray: WSL