It was a cracker 2016 for the WSL women, and this year looks to be just as good – if not better.
Who can forget Tyler Wright’s incredible year, triumphing over tragedy and securing her maiden world title in France?
Many had suspected Tyler would be the next Aussie female surfing superstar, including Layne Beachley.
“I’ve always rated her as world championship material, and it was great to see her have the courage to declare such an audacious goal,” Beachley said of Wright.
Surfing royalty! 👑 🏄
— #Laureus17 (@LaureusSport) January 24, 2017
The Aussie contingent heading into 2017 is looking strong with favourites including six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, golden girl Sally Fitzgibbons, big-wave charger Laura Enever and last year’s Rookie of the Year Keely Andrew re-joining Wright on Tour.
Completing the Aussie line up is QS qualifier Bronte Macaulay.
Who to Watch in 2017
Each year the calibre of surfing coming from the women just keeps growing. There is an incredibly talented line-up of surfers on tour this year.
Our favourite heading into 2017 would have to be Keely Andrew. The 22-year-old from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland showed an intense thirst for results in her first year on tour. Taking out the best rookie gong, Andrew landed in the top 10 in five out of the 10 CT stops, finishing the year in 14th position on the CT and second on the QS.
Andrew’s coach for the past three seasons, Tim Just of Fluid Performance, along with the rest of her team, are well prepared and excited heading into the new season.
“Keely is at the peak of her physical preparation (dry land training) leading into the Australian leg of both tours (WQS & WCT) and has continued to build on the form she had at the back end of 2016,” Just said of his charge.
“She has continued to refine her equipment with JR and has a new unreleased model under her feet that goes sooo good.
“She has begun working with a nutritional expert, Dr Gary Slater from USC, to get the most out of her training and recovery. She is going into 2017 with no stone left unturned! We are all super excited for this season to get underway that’s for sure!”
Andrew will also be working with National coach Andy King at each WCT event.
With her strong determination and focus, and an excellent coaching and support team in place we’re expecting to see some great things from Andrew’s camp in 2017.
A video posted by Keely Andrew (@keelyandrew) on
After Tyler Wright’s exceptional performance in 2016, a lot of fans are expecting to see her back up her first world title with a second. We’re fairly confident the Aussie champ has it in her, and we will be cheering her on for a second world title.
Can the Wright family clean up this year with brother Owen on the comeback trail? It’s something we would love to see!
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) January 12, 2017
Another female who has always been great to watch is American Lakey Peterson. Coming in as this year’s wild card entry, Peterson missed the first half of 2016 due to a broken ankle.
The California surfer is known for her progressive style and was the first female to complete an aerial manoeuvre in competition. Always giving an entertaining performance, Peterson’s heats are a must-watch.
— The Surf Channel (@TheSurfChannel) January 27, 2017
Brazil’s Silvana Lima caused a stir last year when she came out and said, despite her success, she couldn’t lock down sponsors because she lacks “the model look”.
Appearances aside, Lima can surf, and after finishing first on the QS last year, she qualified for the CT for the third time. The 32-year-old had a strong year in 2016, showing she was well and truly back after a knee injury.
— Summer Erickson (@Aloha_Summers) January 15, 2017