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Thu, 4 April 2019

It's all happening in Oz. The first event of the women's WSL CT season kicked off today. Kelly Slater is out of the men's. Jordy Smith is through to Round 3. Here's the lowdown.

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LAKEY LIP LAUNCH: Lakey Peterson is looking as sharp going into 2019. Photo WSL / Dunbar

The first event of the women’s World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) season, the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast, kicked off today after a three-month offseason. The world’s best surfers started the day at Duranbah in 3-5ft surf, completing Rounds 1 and 2.

Following the women, men’s elimination Round 2 said goodbye to its first four competitors, with the day ending with the the Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast, which saw Italo Ferreira (BRA) claim the win.

The 24-year-old is known for his creative antics in the air, landing some of the Championship Tour’s biggest maneuvers and setting the bar for above-the-lip surfing. The Brasilian battled through the 18-surfer field in a leaderboard-scoring format for a place in the top six alongside finalists Filipe Toledo (BRA), Yago Dora (BRA), Mateus Herdy (BRA), Reef Heazlewood (AUS), and Mitch Parkinson (AUS). Ferreira landed a frontside air-reverse to secure the victory. The Red Bull Airborne Series is a three-part WSL specialty event with air shows in Bali and France.

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KNEE FLEXING: Tatiana Weston-Webb on her way to a dominant win in Round 1. Photo WSL / Cestari

In the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast, wildcard Isabella Nichols (AUS) was not flustered by Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and battled with the reigning, seven-time WSL Champion throughout the heat alongside Paige Hareb (NZL) to come out on top. Nichols’ CT debut was nothing short of tactful and displayed the grit QS competitors possess heading into the five-minute mark, by posting a 5.60 under pressure from Gilmore.

With a second-place finish in Round 1, Gilmore will advance to Round 3 to face 2019 CT Rookie Macy Callaghan (AUS) in the head-to-head, elimination round.

Lakey Peterson (USA) made an incredible statement in 2018 when she went toe-to-toe to push Gilmore’s Title campaign all the way to Maui, and renewed that intensity today coming into the 2019 season. The Californian left no doubt in her win over injury replacement Sage Erickson (USA), who will also advance into Round 3, and Coco Ho (HAW).

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SLATER SLIPS: After his loss King Kelly said he needed to be hungrier. Photo WSL / Cestari

The men’s rookie class spoiled yesterday’s proceedings on opening day when Rookie Peterson Crisanto (BRA) helped eliminate 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) alongside veteran Owen Wright (AUS) in Round 2, while reigning World Junior Champion Mateus Herdy (BRA) caused trouble of his own with a big Round 2 win over last year’s World Title contender Julian Wilson (AUS) and simultaneously eliminating Italy’s Leonardo Fioravanti.

However, in the women, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) and Callaghan got a taste of what it takes to compete among the world’s best as both were relegated to Round 2, despite a few shining moments. Hennessy fell to a dominant performance from Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), who posted an excellent 8.33 to a 15.16 total. Malia Manuel (HAW) locked into a second-place finish behind Weston-Webb to advance to Round 3. Finishing last, Hennessy was relegated to elimination Round 2 where she handled the pressure against Hareb and Ho to win to put her back in the Boost Mobile Pro, eliminating Hareb to equal 17th place.

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SMITHSONIAN: This trademark boost from Jordy helped him into Round 3. Photo WSL / Dunbar

In the men's event, Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Ricardo Christie (NZL) showcased their innovative and powerful styles to overcome Caio Ibelli (BRA) in Round 2 Heat 2. Finishing Round 2, Willian Cardoso (BRA) took over for a vital win alongside Sebastian Zeitz (HAW) advancing to eliminate Jadson Andre (BRA).

The Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast will be broadcast LIVE on www.WorldSurfLeague.com and www.Facebook.com/WSL.

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