SAN CLEMENTE, CA/USA (Friday, September 18, 2015) – Three-time World Surf League (WSL) Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) has claimed the 2015 WSL Jeep Leader Jersey after squaring off against then-ratings’ leader Adriano de Souza (BRA) in a hotly-contested Final at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. On the women’s side, two-time WSL Women’s Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) bested South African Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) to take the Swatch Women’s Pro at Trestles, her third Championship Tour victory of the season, and take the ratings’ lead heading into Europe.
The Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro, stops No. 8 and 7 respectively on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), enjoyed classic California conditions during the opening days of the competition window, allowing the world’s best athletes to raise the bar on high-performance surfing. While conditions today were a departure from those enjoyed during the initial rounds, the performances of the WSL elite remained razor sharp and the competitive nerves steely.
From the start of the Hurley Pro Final Fanning looked in rhythm and at ease. De Souza was left in need of two good scores to put himself back in the heat after Fanning posted a near-perfect 9.77 for a series of clean and powerful turns. The Brazilian battled back with some critical surfing of his own to escape the combination with a 9.07 and powered back to the lineup to hunt down the 8.38 he needed to topple Fanning. He couldn’t find the score however, and it was Fanning that claimed the win. The final scores were 17.44 (7.67 and 9.77) for Fanning to De Souza’s 16.44 (7.37 and 9.07).
“This has been a great event for me,” Fanning said. “I came in early and we had amazing waves. I’ve had such a great support team here so I’ve been having a lot of fun. My mum’s been here too which has been really special.”
“It’s been wild year for me,” said Fanning. “This wave and this event are all about performance. To walk away with this trophy is really special. I want to congratulate Adriano — he surfed amazing and he always puts up a huge fight.”
“Every heat has it’s challenges,” continued Fanning. “From the first heat, to Round 3 against Kolohe Andino and then Kelly, Ace Buchan and Gabriel. When you’re surfing on the Championship Tour you surf against the best in the world. A fourth world title won’t be easy, especially when I have to surf against people like Adriano.”
De Souza became the first Brazilian to make a Final at the Hurley Pro today and adds another great result to his season despite dropping down one place on the Jeep Leaderboard to No. 2.
“It’s very special to make the Final with a legend like Mick Fanning,” said De Souza. “We had such a good battle out there. We were both fighting but outside the heat we are both friends. I’m really happy to be part of this Final and thanks so much to everyone for coming down. Big congratulations to Mick, he’s just so good. I tried to make a comeback with my last wave but it wasn’t to be. I’m still chasing my first world title and this result will definitely help.”
On the women’s side the Swatch Women’s Pro Final saw Moore take on Buitendag. Each of the surfers opened big – Moore with an 8.00 and Buitendag with a 7.67. The South African delivered big, powerful turns in the pocket but, with nearly half the heat gone, did not have a backup score, leaving in Moore in first place. The middle of the heat saw an exciting exchange and the Hawaiian was rewarded with an 8.37 to advance her lead. She kept the pressure on until the heat’s end and claimed victory. Final scores were 16.37 for Moore (8.37 and 8.00) and 13.84 for Buitendag (7.67 and 6.17).
“This is such a sweet win for me and I’m so, so stoked,” said Moore. “That was a really tough Final against Bianca and I’m just so happy to make it through. I love this wave — it’s my happy place. It’s always so special for me to be here because I grew up competing at Lower Trestles. It’s just so awesome to come here on the women’s tour so big thanks to everyone for making that happen.”
“That heat with Tyler in the Quarterfinals was really special and very emotional,” continued Moore. “I had a tough time at this event last year so to make it through that heat really meant a lot. Tyler surfs so amazing and she really pushes me to be my best. We’re really missing Steph Gilmore on tour this year and we can’t wait to see her back and healthy. Courtney Conlogue is surfing so well at the moment so it’s shaping up to be a really exciting end of the year.”
Buitendag has had a series of great results this season and remains at No. 4 on the Jeep Leaderboard after today’s runner-up finish, her third of the year.
“I’m blessed to be making Finals this year,” said Buitendag. “I’m making the most of the opportunities I have and it seems to be working out. I feel really comfortable on my backhand and I thought it was about time I started trying some new things. I’m taking it one day at a time and today was definitely a good day.”
De Souza previously went head-to-head with event standout Filipe Toledo (BRA) in an all-Brazilian Semifinal. A passionate De Souza stamped his authority on the heat with an excellent 8.33 but Toledo closed the gap with an 8-point ride of his own. The pair each took a wave in the final seconds but Toledo didn’t get the score required and goes home in third place, moving up on place to No. 3 on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I think that was a really close heat,” said Toledo. “I knew Adriano would be a really tough guy to beat because he’s got a lot of confidence at the moment. I’m stoked with the result and now I’m focusing on France.”
Fanning dispatched reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the second Semifinal. Medina’s pair of 8-point rides couldn’t match Fanning’s impressive 18.17 heat total. Today’s result for Medina is his best ever at Lower Trestles and he moves up from 10th to 7th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Buitendag got the better of Lakey Peterson (USA) in the opening Semifinal of the Swatch Women’s Pro with two mid-range scores. Peterson has been in impressive form throughout the contest and previously upset Courtney Conlogue (USA) in the Quarterfinals. Today’s third-place finish sees her solidify her Top 5 placing on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I can’t blame anyone but myself,” said Peterson. “I made a lot of mistakes at the start of the event I think. I got one good wave and was feeling confident but then it went really quiet. I’m really disappointed in myself and the situation but I’m trying to look at the positive.”
Moore took out Dimity Stoyle (AUS) in the second Semifinal with a 14.27 heat total. This result turns around a disappointing year for Stoyle and today was her first Semifinal berth of the season and her second ever on the CT. She moves from 16th on the Jeep Leaderboard to 14th but the young Australian will need to find three more solid results at the remaining events in order to requalify for the 2016 CT.
“I’m so thankful, I’ve had so many people helping me out,” said Stoyle. “I feel like I’ve finally had a chance to show what I can do. I’m a little bit disappointed in the last heat because I really want to get some good waves. I’ve been working hard over the last few months and I feel like it’s really starting to pay off now.”
The WSL Heritage Series, which is designed to celebrate and honor the icons of the sport, ran the first ever Women’s Heat today with surfing legends and World Champions Lisa Andersen and Sofia Mulanovich in a historic battle. Both surfers put on a show but it was Andersen, four-time World Champion, that had the edge over 2004 World Champion, Mulanovich, with her classic style and won the heat 14.70 to 12.60.
“The Swatch Women’s Pro finalists are amazing and what a great World Title race it’s shaping up to be,” Andersen said. “It’s wonderful to see all the women getting really competitive towards the back half of the year. They’re just so inspiring.”
“You really need to pick your the right waves out there,” said Mulanovich. “Carissa and Bianca are really going wave for wave and it’s wonderful to watch.”
Highlights from the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro are available at WorldSurfLeauge.com and via the WSL mobile app.
The next stop on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy WSL Women’s Championship Tour is the Cascais Women’s Pro, which gets underway on September 22.
Hurley Pro Final Results:
1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.44
2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.44
Hurley Pro Semifinal Results:
QF 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.46 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.27
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.17 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.54
Hurley Pro Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.66 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8.90
QF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.67 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.83
QF 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.13 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.50
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.34 def. Nat Young (USA) 9.44
Swatch Women’s Pro Final Results:
1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.37
2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.84
Swatch Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.27 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.93
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Dimity Stoyle (AUS)
Women’s Heritage Series Heat:
1: Lisa Andersen 14.70
2: Sofia Mulanovich 12.60
2015 Men’s WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after Hurley Pro):
1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 44,700 pts
2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 42,950 pts
3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 38,400 pts
4: Owen Wright (AUS) 38,400 pts
5: Julian Wilson (AUS) 34,950 pts
2015 Women’s WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after Swatch Women’s Pro):
1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 53,000 pts
2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 48,600 pts
3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 42,800 pts
4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 40,750 pts
5: Lakey Peterson (USA) 39,000 pts