2021 WSL CT HEATING UP
Photos courtesy of WSL, credit to Matt Dunbar and Cait Miers
After a fiery Australian leg of the 2021 Tour, we can't wait to watch the rest of the season progress. It is about the halfway mark through this season and with all the craziness of covid, competitive surfing has prevailed. We have seen veterans uphold their reputations and young guns strive for upset. One thing for sure is that it is great to have it all back. Read below to catch up on all the action!
Nerves and excitement were high for the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup as it was the first CT event since a tense Maui Pro and Pipe Masters back in December. There were no in-person spectators for these events so the energy for Newcastle was powerful. The surf built over the course of the comp and it comes as no surprise that Carissa Moore and Italo Ferreira reclaimed their yellow Leader Jerseys. No one really knew what to expect coming into this event, but Moore quickly reminded us. It was also impressive to see rookie on tour, Isabella Nichols, be the match up against Moore in the Final.
Moore and Marks On Each Other's Heels
The Narrabeen Classic provided great competition amongst surfers as much of the contest came down to wave selection. The Quarterfinals and Semifinals were uniquely stacked for both the men and women. Caroline Marks and Gabriel Medina came out on top this time, making movements on the Leaderboard. Caroline Marks rose to the No. 2 spot and is definitely gunning for Moore, her Olympic team partner.
The Margaret River Pro yet again presented a completely different Finals Day than the previous two events. Tatiana Weston-Webb was hungry for a win after finishing second to Marks in Narrabeen. Peak performance for Weston-Webb and Filipe Toledo was cause for a Brazilian sweep on the podium. It was an emotional win for Tati as she took out 7-time World Champion, Stephanie Gilmore, and local hero Bronte Macaulay, who was mourning the recent passing of her brother, Jack Macaulay. The end of Margs River left the Leaderboard with quite a shake-up. Wetson-Webb took No. 2 and Stephanie Gilmore rose to 3rd, knocking Marks to 4th position.
Strickland Bay Sees First Ever CT Event
Rottenest Island sits off the coast of Perth and when conditions are favorable, Strickland Bay can see waves as excitable as infamous Teauphoo and Pipe. It is an intimate island and the powerful swells are never seen by a vast majority of people. The actual Bay is only even accessible by walking or bicycle! Sally Fitzgibbons, creeping up the leaderboard all season, just earned the No. 2 spot after an amazing finish in Strickland Bay. She was on fire the whole competition, knocking out Tyler Wright with a 9-point ride in the Semis, and then claiming the win against Johanne Defay in the Final. Sally is definitely a strong competitor and knows how to win. Johanne Defay has also been climbing the ladder and should not be ruled out yet for the WSL Finals. Additionally, Medina secured his 2nd win of the season, sending a clear message to his competition.
What To Expect For The Rest Of The Season I think it is fair to say that while predictions can be made, the first half of this season has proved to be quite distinctive and unpredictable, if you will. Many switch-ups have been made on the Leaderboard and the past 5 events have all seen a different female winner. Wright, Moore, Marks, Weston-Webb, Fitzgibbons, and Gilmore are the top contenders for now but I will still stick by the old phrase, "It's anyone's game." Make sure to follow the tour as it continues to California for the Jeep Ranch Pro in June, which should yet again shake up the Leaderboard as the ranch requires very progressive surfing. Be sure to check out https://www.worldsurfleague.com for more event review and season predictions!
*Our thoughts are with the Macaulay family during this time as they and the surfing community are mourning the loss of jack Macaulay.