The 2017 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) Season gets underway today with start of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast waiting period which will run from March 14 – 25 at the famed righthand point-break of Snapper Rocks.
Reigning World Champions John John Florence (HAW) and Tyler Wright (AUS) have been on the Gold Coast preparing for the season opener and are looking forward to hitting the water in their coveted Jeep Leader Jerseys for the first time in 2017.
“I’m really looking forward to getting back in a singlet this week,” Florence said. “It was a great offseason at home, but I’ve been putting in a lot of work for the 2017 season. Last year was great, but I feel like I still have more to learn and more to apply to my surfing. Looks like we’ll have some good surf as well.”
“It’s been a good offseason and I’ve spent a lot of time with my family,” Wright said. “Winning the WSL Title last year was a career goal, but I’m not done yet. I’m feeling stronger and I’m just working on honing my surfing every day. It’s a strong field in 2017 and I’m looking forward to getting amongst it this week.”
After taking some time away from the CT in 2016 and only competing in a few select events, three times World Champion and former Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast event Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) is back in 2017, competing for the entire CT season. Fanning will face off against 11-times World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and Jeremy Flores (FRA) in Heat Seven of Round One and is prepared to give what it takes to claim another title in 2017.
“I feel super prepared for 2017,” Fanning said. “I had made my decision to return quite a while ago so I have had plenty of time to prepare physically and mentally. Last year was great to recharge and so my own thing, I was just going with the flow. I have done that now and am pumped to be back on tour and be fully focussed on competing. It’s nice to kick it off at home at a place I love and am comfortable at but there is always the added pressure of expectation when competing at home. It is looking like e will have waves so it should be a great event.”
Another local who has enjoyed plenty success at Snapper is Six-time Women’s World Champion and multiple time Roxy Pro Event Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). Gilmore had an uncharacteristic fifth place finish at Snapper last year so will be looking to make amends in 2017.
“It’s an exciting time for women’s surfing and an exciting time for the sport,” Gilmore said. “Tyler (Wright) was so dominant last year and Carissa (Moore) is always strong. I’m especially inspired by the level of talent on tour this season and I’m looking forward to getting into some decent waves here over the coming days.”
Trials winners Nat Young (USA) and Alyssa Lock (AUS) will join Quiksilver wildcard Mikey Wright (AUS) in the event draw.
And event organizers will convene tomorrow morning at 7 a.m. local time to assess conditions and make the first call.
Surfline, official forecast for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro, are calling for:
The interaction between strengthening high pressure over the Tasman Sea and a trough east of the Gold Coast will set up a prolonged run of windswell and swell through at least the first half of the waiting period. Local winds will be an issue at times this week and into the weekend but we are expecting periods of favorable conditions.
The event will be broadcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and the WSL’s Facebook page as well as Fox Sports in Australia, Sky NZ, SFR Sports in France, Sport TV in Portugal, EDGE Sports in China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and other territories and on Globo TV in Brazil.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF), Conner Coffin (USA), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Nat Young (USA)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW), Connor O’Leary (AUS), Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA), Mick Fanning (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITL)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 12: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Owen Wright (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Alyssa Lock (AUS)
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Silvana Lima (BRA), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 6: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Lakey Peterson (USA)