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Fri, 7 September 2018

It's an effort to score 8.50 in a wave pool, but Kelly Slater was the man to do it on Day 1 of the first Surf Ranch Pro presented by Hurley. Surfers get another chance tomorrow to make the finals on Sunday.


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VIVA LE BOOST: Joan Duru gets air off a freshwater lefthander. Photo WSL / Cestari


Surfers in the eighth stop on the World Surf League (WSL) have to surf two lefts and two rights tomorrow, and the top eight go through to the final, while the top four go through for the women.

The competition today and tomorrow at Lemoore, California, host the Qualifying Rounds, where each surfer will surf four waves each (two rights and two lefts). On Saturday, all competitors will have one last chance to make the Final with two more waves (one right and one left).

Kelly Slater (USA), the wave’s co-creator and 11-time WSL Champion, ignited the day’s performances with a big 8.50 (out of a possible 10) on his right-hander in Run 2 and totaled a 14.57 (out of a possible 20). Slater’s opening run was easily forgettable, but he came back firing to make up for it and now holds the No. 1 spot for the men’s event.

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EYES ON THE PRIZE: Setting up the off-the-top is young Kelly Slater! Photo WSL / Cestari


“For us first guys going it’s a lot of pressure on us to set the standard so we can be in the mix later,” Slater said. “I feel like I surfed the left better on my first wave but the second one I was chasing and not transitioning well. The first run was below average. I fell on both and felt like I should’ve been a touch deeper. But, just the way the tube section works, sometimes the wave slows down right there and forces you out then you just pull back in.”

Surf Ranch Pro Trials winner Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) surfed the event’s first wave to the tune of an average 4.50, letting his nerves prevail. Ohhara recovered on his second run for a 6.00 and still has two waves to showcase his talents.

Joan Duru (FRA) took over his opening day runs against Keanu Asing (HAW) and Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) after following up on his second run right-hander with explosive backhand surfing to garner a 6.23, which moved into No. 2 on the overall standings. However, Ian Gouveia (BRA) came out and took the No. 2 from Duru with a 7.23 and 7.10. The Brasilian has put his time in at the WSL Surf Ranch, coming up from Southern California every chance he could, and it’s showing in his early performances.

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WILD WILKO: Matt Wilkinson goes finless on a lefthander. Photo WSL / Cestari


“For us first guys going it’s a lot of pressure on us to set the standard so we can be in the mix later,” Slater said. “I feel like I surfed the left better on my first wave but the second one I was chasing and not transitioning well. The first run was below average. I fell on both and felt like I should’ve been a touch deeper. But, just the way the tube section works, sometimes the wave slows down right there and forces you out then you just pull back in.”

Surf Ranch Pro Trials winner Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) surfed the event’s first wave to the tune of an average 4.50, letting his nerves prevail. Ohhara recovered on his second run for a 6.00 and still has two waves to showcase his talents.

Joan Duru (FRA) took over his opening day runs against Keanu Asing (HAW) and Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) after following up on his second run right-hander with explosive backhand surfing to garner a 6.23, which moved into No. 2 on the overall standings. However, Ian Gouveia (BRA) came out and took the No. 2 from Duru with a 7.23 and 7.10. The Brasilian has put his time in at the WSL Surf Ranch, coming up from Southern California every chance he could, and it’s showing in his early performances.

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WISE SAGE: Sage Erickson in the tube on one of her alloted rights. Photo WSL / Rowland


Event wildcard Bethany Hamilton (HAW), injury replacement Macy Callaghan (AUS), and Paige Hareb (NZL) got opening round action underway as Hareb’s backhand attack shined to earn a 13.00 heat total and the outright lead -- but only briefly after Sage Erickson’s (USA) debut. The Ojai, California, native stepped up and delivered on her second right to earn a solid 14.07 heat total heading into the weekend’s third run.

With the eight surfers completing rides ranging from throwaway scores to excellent surfing, six-time WSL Champion, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), and World Title contender Lakey Peterson (USA) know what’s required of them tomorrow.

During the Qualifying Round, each athlete will surf six waves (three lefts and three rights) over three runs (made up of one left and one right consecutively). The best scoring right and the best scoring left are added together to create each athlete’s total score. At the end of the Qualifying Round the Top 8 Men and Top 4 Women on the leaderboard will advance to Final.

The Final will see each athlete surf another three runs (six waves total) and the male and female surfers with the highest score will win the event.

WSL forecaster Surfline is calling for ... oh no wait. Sorry. No need.

Men’s Qualifying Round Leaderboard Top 8
1 - Kelly Slater (USA) 14.57
2 - Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.33
3 - Tomas Hermes (BRA) 14.20
4 - Yago Dora (BRA) 13.80
5 - Joan Duru (FRA) 13.73
6 - Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.70
7 - Connor O’Leary (AUS) 13.56
8 - Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.56

Women’s Qualifying Round Leaderboard Top 4
1 - Coco Ho (HAW) 14.94
2 - Sage Erickson (USA) 14.07
3 - Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.54
4 - Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.00

Full men’s leaderboard HERE
Full women’s leaderboard HERE.

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