Upsets as Surfers Find Their Feet on Opening Day

Upsets as Surfers Find Their Feet on Opening Day
11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater of USA

After a much-anticipated start, the World Surf League Championship Tour has officially opened for the 2019 season.  The first day of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast saw the completion of Round 1 where the men took on Duranbah, the event’s back-up site, in four to five-foot conditions.

The Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast also got underway today with the first Qualifying Round. The Red Bull Airborne is a three-part speciality series that highlights surfing’s most creative feats. The event saw no shortage of action with standout airs from CT star Italo Ferreira (BRA), aerial specialist Chris ‘Chippa’ Wilson (AUS) and Hawaiian surfer-skater Kalani David.

Newcomers Shine on Opening Day

2019 CT rookie Seth Moniz (HAW) and event trials winner Reef Heazlewood (AUS) delivered a heavy upset to 2018 World No. 2 Julian Wilson (AUS), sending him to elimination Round 2. Three-time World Champion Mick Fanning handed down his No. 7 jersey to the 21-year-old Moniz, who carried its winning form with a CT debut heat win.

“It’s pretty amazing wearing Mick Fanning’s jersey here at D-Bah,” said Moniz. “I came here three weeks ago and got to surf with a whole week straight with Mick, and I got a few little secret tips from him. It’s pretty awesome to have all the support I do here and back home.”

Round 1 winners also included CT sophomores Griffin Colapinto (USA), Michael Rodrigues (BRA), third-year elite competitors Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Joan Duru (FRA), along with veterans Adrian Buchan (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), and Kolohe Andino (USA), who will all advance straight into Round 3.

Mixed Results for World Champs and Rookies

Reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) reignited the fire he walked away with last season with his signature flair and power to defeat event wildcard Mateus Herdy (BRA) and CT returner Ryan Callinan (AUS).

“It’s good to start off the year like this and this jersey feels special,” Medina said. “I’ve got two stars on here, which seems like World Cup stars and it’s cool to have these on there. It’s the third year of the Gabriel Medina Institute and we have 32 kids and they have a whole routine kind of like we do as athletes. It’s cool giving these kids opportunities to become professional surfers or whatever they want to be in the future and it’s amazing to give back some of what surfing’s given me.”

© WSL / Cestari
2019 CT Rookie Mikey Wright of Australia.
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