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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Thu, 15 March 2018

Lakey Peterson and Julian Wilson have won the Roxy Pro and Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in pumping 6-10ft barrels at Kirra on the Gold Coast of Australia.

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CHAMPIONS: Lakey Peterson and Julian Wilson celebrate on the Gold Coast. Photo WSL / Sloane

While we lost our two South Africans in Round 3 of Stop #1 on the WSL Championship Tour, the move from Snapper Rocks to Kirra delivered quite a spectacle as pumping 6-10ft surf barrelled down the infamous spot. The season opener was characterised by unpredictability and upsets mayhem as a new generation of surfers stepped up to showcase their grit, and potential.

Californian Peterson blitzed the competition to surpass her 2017 Roxy Pro runner-up finish. Along the way she took down two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) in the quarters, Malia Manuel (HAW) in the semis, and Keely Andrew (AUS) in the final. The intensity and innovation of Peterson are paying off with her first CT win since 2012. Last season, she had earned runner-up finishes at this event and in France but now overtakes Wright for the top spot on the Jeep Leaderboard.

“I’m going to hold onto that Jeep yellow jersey until the very last event,” said a determined Peterson. “My goal is to stay steady the whole year and just believe in myself and enjoy the ride. I feel like I’m finally comfortable with my life and with my surfing where I just really want to enjoy it.”

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THICK LIP: Julian Wilson pulls into a gaping Kirra tube. Photo WSL / Cestari

Peterson dominated the final from the get-go, posting an excellent 8.00 point ride for a long barrel ride. She then backed it up immediately with a 7.67, leaving Andrew in a combination situation (needing two scores). Andrew was unable to find a wave of substance, ending on a low score.

Wilson has had a rollercoaster start to his season after injuring his shoulder in a mountain bike crash in late January, then welcoming his child into the world with his wife, Ashley, last week. The Sunshine Coast local was unsure if he would compete at this event but surprised all with the first win of the season and the fourth CT win of his career.

“This is a childhood dream come true to come down from the Sunshine Coast and win the Quiksilver Pro,” Wilson said. “This is the closest event to home for me and watching guys win this event when I was younger is what lit the fire for me to want to be on Tour, so to win, is very special. I learned a lot about myself at this event, and through this injury, and the birth of my baby girl, Olivia, and my wife, Ashley."

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TUCKING IN: Lakey Peterson scored on a few barrel rides. Photo WSL / Cestari

Wilson has always been in the World Title conversation, but this win provides the 29-year-old with his best ever start to his Title campaign. Wilson will sport the yellow Jeep Leader Jersey heading into the next stop on the CT, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach competition, which starts March 28 and runs through April 8, 2018.

"I’m happy to have a better result in Australia than I did after all three events in Australia last year," continued Wilson. "There’s a massive positive in that. I’m looking forward to Bells, to compete again and work off this injury.”

The intense final saw the two Australians, Wilson and Adrian Buchan (AUS), punch wave for wave, fighting their way out of massive tubes. Wilson kicked off the heat with a fiery start, a near-perfect 9.93, by coming out of a huge barrel. Buchan attacked back with a 6.50 and an 8.60 but was unable to overtake his compatriot.

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RUNNING UP: Keely Andrew couldn't get into her stride. Photo WSL / Cestari

Having won two CT events in his career, Buchan is no stranger to the pressure on the big stage. The technically-gifted, rail-surfer moved through the field with precision, even on the final day, where the hollow Kirra waves would put most goofy-footers at a disadvantage. In the end, Buchan was up against the ropes with a rampaging Wilson running away with the lead, but he admitted that he was happy to finish second to his close friend.

“Obviously you want to win events, but I’m so happy to see Julian [Wilson] take this one out,” Buchan said. “I know he’s had so much to deal with recently with his injury and becoming a father, so this win would feel so amazing for him. Sharing pumping Kirra with one other person out -- who happens to be your mate -- is incredible. I don’t think you could ask for anything better than that.”

Griffin Colapinto (USA), the standout rookie from San Clemente California, amazed the world today with the first Perfect 10 of the 2018 CT season. Colapinto miraculously made his way out of three deep barrels in one wave to set the bar for the new season.

“I’ve never had three barrels on one wave so it felt amazing, particularly in a heat,” Colapinto said. “I think it was the best wave of my life. I’m so happy to get third in my first event. I’m loving the CT and hope I won’t be going anywhere for a very long time. I’m loving it here in Australia, the people on the Gold Coast are the best.”

The 19-year-old has been outshining surfing’s veterans in the first event of his rookie season, including his wins over Joel Parkinson (AUS), the 2012 WSL Champion and Gold Coast favorite, and veteran Michel Bourez (PYF). Unfortunately, Colapinto was unable to advance out of his Semifinal matchup against Wilson but will still exit as the rising-star of the event. All eyes will be on the young challenger this season to see how far he will push professional surfing in his rookie year.

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BUCHAN BARREL: Fellow Aussie Ace Buchan fell just short. Photo WSL / Cestari

Earlier today, rookie Tomas Hermes (BRA) delivered another shock to the first event of the year by eliminating Filipe Toledo (BRA) in the quarters. Toledo’s result will boost him from 10th to equal 5th on the Jeep Leaderboard. Hermes’ Semifinal result blasts him up to 3rd on the rankings and well in the 2018 Rookie of the Year race.

The world’s best surfers will now head to Bells Beach for the Rip Curl Pro, Stop No. 2 on the WSL Championship Tour, starting March 28 through April 8, 2018.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results
1 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.43
2 - Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.10

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results
SF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.00 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 9.17
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.77 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.66

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results
QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.50 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 2.50
QF 2: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 8.73 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.33
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.44 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.00
QF 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 16.43 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.44

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results
1 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.67
2 - Keely Andrew (AUS) 5.67

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.00 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.33
Heat 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) 7.50 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6.77

2018 WSL Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard
1 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 - Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7,800 pts
3 - Griffin Colapinto (USA) 6,085 pts
3 - Tomas Hermes (BRA) 6,085 pts

2018 Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard
1 -Lakey Peterson (USA) 10,000 pts
2 - Keely Andrew (AUS) 7,800 pts
3 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6,085 pts
3 - Malia Manuel (HAW) 6,085 pts

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