• Taj Burrow Comes Out of Retirement To Replace Adrian Buchan 
  • Local Trials Seed Mia McCarthy and Kael Walsh Into CT
  • Stu Kennedy and Liam O’Brien Take Injury Replacement Spots 
  • More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
Pictured: The Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona starts May 16. Credit: © WSL

The 2021 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) will now head to the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona, the fifth stop on the CT and the final event of the Australian leg. The event window opens on May 16 and runs through May 26. 

After three action-packed events in Australia, the world’s best surfers will now focus their attention on Strickland Bay on Rottnest Island. The island is offshore from Western Australia’s capital, Perth, and its breaks are some of the most consistent in the state. Strickland Bay is predominantly a left and is considered one of the best waves in southwest Western Australia.

With unforeseen injuries taking out five athletes from the draw, new and returning faces will join the world’s best surfers, potentially shaking up the event and the battle to make the Final 5 on the road to the Rip Curl WSL Finals.  

Taj Burrow (AUS), West Australian icon and former CT competitor, has come out of retirement to replace Adrian Buchan (AUS), who withdrew from the Rip Curl Rottnest Search following a back injury. Burrow has been one of the biggest names in surfing across multiple generations and, after five years away from the CT, has lost none of his explosive flair he’s so well known for. Burrow’s technical backside turns will be suited to the lefthanders at Strickland Bay. 

“I’m excited to throw on the singlet for one last time — I hope — at a new destination,” Burrow said. “I love Rottnest and I think it’ll be an incredibly fun event. I’m feeling happy and relaxed and not one bit concerned about winning but more so showing my family what I’ve done my whole life and also reuniting with all my tour friends. It’s gonna be great.”

Kolohe Andino (USA) and Kelly Slater (USA) withdrew from the Australian leg due to respective ankle and foot injuries and continue to focus on their recovery. Andino will again be replaced by Mikey Wright (AUS), the men’s injury replacement. Slater will now be replaced by Liam O’Brien (AUS), who sits inside the top 4 Australian male surfers on the Australia/Oceania Qualifying Series. This event will mark O’Brien’s first time competing on the elite CT, a Tour he has been knocking on the door of for the last couple of years. 

“I’m really excited to have been awarded the wildcard into the Rottnest Island CT,” O’Brien said. “It will be my first ever event at a CT level and also my first time to the island, so with that said there’s a lot to look forward to. Most of all, it will be a great learning experience where I’ll get an insight into what is required to compete to a CT standard.”

John John Florence (HAW), two-time WSL Champion, was the favorite for these events in West Australia until he suffered a knee injury in the Round of 16 during the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro and withdrew from that competition, as well as Rottnest Island. Florence will now be replaced by Stuart Kennedy (AUS), who missed out on CT qualification by one spot the last year the QS ran in full.

Mia McCarthy (AUS) and Kael Walsh (AUS) earned entry into the Rip Curl Rottnest Search via the local trials. McCarthy placed runner-up at the trials and will compete after first-place winner Felicity Palmateer withdrew due to injury. This will be Walsh’s and McCarthy’s second time competing in a CT event following their debuts at the 2018 and 2017 Margaret River Pro events, respectively. 

“I’m really happy for the opportunity to compete in my second Championship Tour event,” McCarthy said. “I’m honored to be representing Western Australian. Can’t wait to get to the beautiful Rottnest Island. It will actually be the first time I’ve surfed there and the first time I’ve been there since I was five, so I can’t wait to get over there.”

Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) continues to replace Lakey Peterson (USA), who withdrew due to a back injury ahead of the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic pres. by Corona. 

Jacob Willcox (AUS) was awarded the men’s event wildcard through the event’s title partner, Rip Curl and will have another opportunity to compete against the world’s best surfers after his 17th-place finish at the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro.

Watch LIVE
The holding period for the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona opens on May 16 and runs through May 26. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners. 

Although Rottnest Island will remain open for visitors while hosting the event, spectators will not be permitted at Strickland Bay as this will be a broadcast-only event.

The Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona is proudly supported by our partners Rip Curl, Tourism Western Australia, Corona, Red Bull, Oakley, Hydro Flask, Boost Mobile, Harvey Norman, Bonsoy, Dometic Outdoor, Bond University, Oakberry, Rottnest Island Authority and Rottnest Express. 

For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Women’s Seeding Round 1 Matchups: 
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bronte Macaulay (AUS), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Keely Andrew (AUS), Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Malia Manuel (HAW), Mia McCarthy (AUS)
Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Isabella Nichols (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Tyler Wright (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Men’s Seeding Round 1 Matchups: 
Heat 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Owen Wright (AUS), Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 2: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Jack Robinson (AUS), Jacob Willcox (AUS)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Liam O’Brien (AUS)
Heat 5: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA), Taj Burrow (AUS)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS), Kael Walsh (AUS)
Heat 7: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Matthew McGillivray (ZAF), Connor O’Leary (AUS)
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 9: Frederico Morais (PRT), Jadson Andre (BRA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Seth Moniz (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA), Yago Dora (BRA), Michel Bourez (FRA)
Heat 12: Morgan Cibilic (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Deivid Silva (BRA)

WSL Women’s Championship Tour Leaderboard Final 5: 
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 29,970 pts
2 – Tatiana Weston Webb (BRA) 26,495 pts
3 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 22,035 pts
4 – Caroline Marks (USA) 21,305 pts
5 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 19,965 pts

WSL Men’s Championship Tour Leaderboard Final 5: 
1 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 28,920 pts
2 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 24,150 pts
3 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 20,735 pts
4 – John John Florence (HAW) 19,395 pts
5 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 19,185 pts

COVID-19 Updates
The WSL continues to work closely with the West Australian Government and WA Police Department to monitor the COVID-19 situation both in WA, where competitors and staff are currently located, and in New South Wales, where they have traveled from. The Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro is prepared to operate in a ‘bubble’ should it be required. As a result of the COVID-19 contingency plans, there is no option to run the event at a mobile location outside of the main event site of Main Break and The Box, such as North Point in Gracetown.

The WSL will implement a robust and thorough COVID-19 health and safety plan for each event during the Australian leg of the CT in accordance with federal and state guidance. The WSL’s health and safety plan includes enhanced high-touch cleaning at the event site, contact tracing procedures, sanitizer stations throughout the event site, and minimal personnel on-site. All traveling athletes and support staff completed the mandatory 14-day hotel quarantine and received medical clearance from public health officials before entering the general community. 

Due to COVID-19, the Australian CT events will run based on state border closures, strictly adhering to federal and state government guidelines and restrictions. All tour stops and dates subject to change due to applicable COVID-19 related restrictions, including global travel restrictions.

About the WSL 
Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing. 
A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.
The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.  
Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including WorldSurfLeague.com
WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.
The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.  
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

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