March 10 – 21 2016.
Adriano de Souza (BRA) and Carissa Moore (HAW), reigning WSL Champions, will lead the men’s and women’s fields respectively at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast.
De Souza clinched an emotional maiden world title in the final event of the 2015 season, the Billabong Pipe Masters, and is the latest champion to emerge from the current ‘Brazilian Storm’ group. In a sport that has traditionally been dominated by champions from Australia, South Africa, Hawaii and the Mainland USA, De Souza backed up compatriot Gabriel Medina’s (BRA) historic 2014 WSL Title, stewarding a Brazilian contingent that now occupies 40% of the WSL Top 10.
The Brazilians will be challenged by the world’s best surfers, inclusive of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 2015 threats Julian Wilson (AUS) and Jeremy Flores (FRA), returning-from-injury Jordy Smith (ZAF), recent Eddie champion John John Florence (HAW) and a host of others.
Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time WSL Champion and 2015 WSL Runner-Up, last week announced that he would be taking a ‘personal year’ in 2016, surfing in select events while recharging after one of the most intense seasons in history. Fanning will be on hand at the opening stop of the season.
Moore’s emphatic win in pumping surf at the final stop of the 2015 season, the Target Maui Pro at Honolua Bay, secured a third world title for the powerful Hawaiian. With her dynasty firmly established, the Hawaiian icon will look to further solidify in 2016. However, six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) will return from injury this season to challenge alongside compatriots Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Tyler Wright (AUS) as well as 2015 Runner-Up Courtney Conlogue (USA).
The opening stop of the tour since 1998, the Gold Coast is home to the world-renowned ‘Superbank’, a man-made, sand-bottom pointbreak that offers righthand waves in excess of a mile long. The venue has already enjoyed one of the best cyclone seasons in history this year, and all are anticipating an electric start to the 2016 season.
Owen Wright (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS) and Alejo Muniz (BRA) have withdrawn from the opening event of the season due to ongoing injury rehabilitations. They have been replaced by Adam Melling (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS) and Sebastian Zietz (HAW) respectively at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.