Wed, 5 June 2019

Jordy Smith hangs on to 5th after the Margie event (won yesterday by Lakey Peterson and John John Florence), and must focus on good results at the Oi Rio Pro and Corona J-Bay Open.

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MARGIE WINNERS: John John is #1. Lakey has yet to break into the top 5. Photo WSL / Cestari

Cranking surf greeted the finalists of the Margaret River Pro at Main Break with 6-8' bombs coming through. Florence (HAW) earned his second event title after defeating his good mate Kolohe Andino (USA) in the Final, while Peterson clinched her first win in the West by taking down Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA).

With the first four stops of the season complete, the 2019 World Title race is starting to take shape heading into the year’s halfway mark, the Oi Rio Pro, and then its on to the Corona J-Bay Open. The 2019 CT rankings will not only decide the year’s World Champions but will also determine the first 18 qualifiers into the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, where surfing will make its Olympic debut. Florence currently leads the rankings on the men’s Jeep Leaderboard and Peterson is gaining momentum with a move up to World #6.

Peterson’s dominating performance comes at no surprise after her hard-fought World Title battle with Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) last year. Unfortunately for Peterson, the results did not go her way and she fell short of her maiden World Title, while Gilmore earned her seventh. After a slow start to her campaign this season, the American’s victory vaults her back on track to win her first World Title and to qualify for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

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SPRAY SHRAPNEL: John John is not afraid to shoot the wave with his rail gun. Photo WSL / Dunbar

“This event has been a hard one for me to overcome,” Peterson said. “I was so stoked that we waited for today and got some decent swell for the Finals. It was super windy, which made it tricky but that’s all a part of this place and it makes the win even sweeter.

“After beating Stephanie (Gilmore) and Carissa (Moore) and making it through the Quarterfinals, I found some extra momentum and fire and had definitely figured it out at Main Break. It’s been such an amazing event. Everyone has been surfing so well, especially in the Final. Tatiana (Weston-Webb) was surfing so well so a big congratulations to her.”

The win puts Peterson’s winning tally up to four CT victories and marks her first victory in Western Australia. In sizeable Main Break conditions, the 24-year-old out-shined opponents Weston-Webb in the Final, three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Semifinals, and Gilmore in the Quarterfinals. Her performance also set the bar with the highest heat total of the season so far, an excellent 18.83 (out of a possible 10).

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TUCKING UP: Lakey Peterson looks set. Watch out Stephanie? Maybe. Photo WSL / Cestari

Florence’s success secures his hold on his World #1 ranking, which he has maintained since winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach earlier this year. The two-time WSL Champion, and now two-time event winner, increases his lead over the men’s field with event runner-up Andino in second (5,740 points behind) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) in third (6,595 points behind). This is Florence’s seventh CT victory and second this season after returning from a knee injury that kept him sidelined from a majority of the 2018 season.

Andino went wave-for-wave with good friend Florence until the last few minutesUnlike fellow Californian Peterson, Andino fell short of clinching victory at Margaret River. In what was the fifth CT Finals appearance of his career and second for 2019, Andino went wave-for-wave with good friend Florence until the last few minutes when Florence used priority and posted a near perfect 9.50 to put Andino out of the running. Although Andino’s maiden CT victory will continue to elude him, he has consolidated the second spot on the Jeep Rankings and puts himself firmly in the World Title conversation for 2019.

“There is no one I’d rather lose to than John (Florence) because I look up to him and his surfing so much,” Andino said. “When the waves get harder and bigger and windier like this John John is always the hardest guy to beat. As we all saw he was demolishing Main Break this week and then obviously won at Bells when it got really big and windy, so he is definitely the guy to beat when it gets like this.

“I was happy to share another Final with him and am happy to continue this awesome start to the year for me. It’s funny because I guess John is sitting in the #1 spot and I’m at #2 and we are heading to Brasil and staying together so that will be really fun."

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KOHOLE CRUNCH: Kolohe Andino is cruising at #2 in the world after Margie. Photo WSL / Cestari

Similarly to Peterson, Weston-Webb hadn’t started 2019 the way that would be expected of her, coming into Margaret River with two ninths and a fifth-place result. The 2015 CT Rookie of Year was one of the form surfers of this year’s event with her powerful backhand surfing on the open walls of Main Break. Weston-Webb fell on a couple of her scoring waves, which brought her short of the required score in her seventh CT Finals appearance. Weston-Webb moves up one spot to World #9 on the Jeep Leaderboard and will now shift her attention to the Oi Rio Pro, in her home country of Brasil.

“I think I was making things too complicated in my mind for the first three events. For this event, I just took it easy and took a lot of the pressure off. It seemed to work as I kept making heats and made it to the Final. I am really happy still and want to keep building momentum. It was great to come back to West Aus. It’s naturally beautiful and has great waves, so it’s good to be back. Now we head to Brasil, which I’m really excited about. I have a lot of things on and a lot of support so it’s definitely one of my favorite events to head too.”

Injury replacement Caio Ibelli (BRA) blitzed through the event, taking down all and sundry but lost to Florence in the first men's Semifinal, falling half a point shy on his final ride. In the first four events, Ibelli was the substitute for the injured Adriano de Souza (BRA). De Souza is scheduled to return to full-time competition at the next event, the Oi Rio Pro, and now Ibelli will be on call if Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), who suffered a shoulder injury at the Box ahead of this event's Round of 32, is unable to return to competition.

For highlights from the 2019 Margaret River Pro, please visit www.WorldSurfLeague.com. The Oi Rio Pro runs from 20 to 28 June.

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GO WEST: Tatiana Weston-Webb sets up the section as she hits the bottom. Photo WSL / Cestari

Margaret River Pro Women’s Final
1- Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.33
2- Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.40

Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.33 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.67
SF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.97 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.80

Margaret River Pro Men’s Final
1 - John John Florence (HAW) 18.50
2 - Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.10

Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal
SF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 14.60 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.10
SF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.83 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.00

2019 Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 24,235 pts
2 - Caroline Marks (USA) 23,440 pts
3 - Carissa Moore (HAW) 23,375 pts
4 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 22,580 pts
5 - Courtney Conlogue (USA) 22,100 pts

2019 Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard
1 - John John Florence (HAW) 27,415 pts
2 - Kolohe Andino (USA) 21,675 pts
3 - Italo Ferreira (BRA) 20,820 pts
4 - Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 19,960 pts
5 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 18,245 pts

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