• First Call: Tomorrow, Sunday, May 16, at 7:00 AM AWST
  • Promising Conditions for Opening Day of Event Window
  • Welcome to Country by Professor Lenny Collard and the Ngalak Nidja Dance Group
  • More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
Pictured: Ash Penfold of the Ngalak Nidja Dance Group in the Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony at the surfers’ arrival to Wadjemup (the Whadjuk Nyungar name for Rottnest Island) for the Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona. Credit: © WSL / Dunbar

The Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona, the fifth stop on the 2021 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) and the final event of the Australian leg, is set to get underway tomorrow at Strickland Bay with the first day of the 11-day event window showing a promising forecast for wind and waves. 

World Champions Prepare For First Event on Rottnest Island

Seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) is fresh off her best result of the season with a runner-up finish last week at Margaret River. Gilmore, like the majority of the 54 competitors this week, is surfing on Rottnest Island for the first time and, after 14 years on tour, is relishing the opportunity to compete in a new location. Currently sitting at World No. 3 on the rankings, Gilmore will hope to go one better when competition wraps at the Rip Curl Rottnest Search. 

“This is my first time surfing here on Wadjemup,” Gilmore said. “So far the waves have looked really fun and we’ve had a really warm and wonderful welcome so I’m happy to be here. We go to the same places every year most years, so to get a new stop like this that is so unique is really cool. I’m feeling good after a second-place finish in Margaret River and the plan is definitely to go one better this week.” 

Two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) is no stranger to the one-off nature of the Rip Curl Search events having won the San Francisco event as a 17-year old back in 2011. Medina’s style and form in lefthanders means he is built for the waves at Strickland Bay, even if it is his first time surfing here. Having come off his worst result of the season so far, Medina will be looking to bounce back into the event Finals if he is to hang onto his No. 1 spot on the rankings when the CT leaves Australia. 

“I’ve won one of these Search globe trophies before and it is definitely my favorite trophy,” Medina said. “I’m definitely hoping to get another one here on Rottnest. The wave so far has been really fun and a little bit challenging. I think it will be a clean slate for everyone because it is new to all of us. It’s been a fun few days settling in at a new location, checking out the island and all of the Quokkas, they’re so cool. This will be a really cool experience for all of the competitors, so I’m looking forward to the competition starting, hopefully, tomorrow.” 

Welcome to Country by Professor Lenny Collard and the Ngalak Nidja Dance Group

Rottnest has an important pre-colonial history for the Whadjuk Nyungar, a home for their spiritual ancestors. Despite this connection and its beauty, Rottnest Island has a dark past. During colonial settlement and the frontier wars of the 19th Century, Wadjemup  — the Whadjuk Nyungar name for Rottnest Island — was established as a colonial prison for almost 4,000 Aboriginal men and boys from all over Western Australia between 1838 and 1904. 

Upon arrival to Rottnest Island, the surfers and staff were greeted to a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony by Winthrop Professor Lenny Collard, a Whadjuk Nyungar Elder and Professor at the University of Western Australia, alongside Ingrid Cumming, and Ash Penfold and Jayden Boundry of the Ngalak Nidja Dance Group. 

Today’s press conference also saw the Ngalak Nidja Dance Group perform a Welcome to Country Ceremony with Ingrid Cumming, Jayden Boundry, Ash Penfold, Dylan Stack, Alana McGaw, and Marianne Mackay.

Pictured: [From Left to Right] Alana McGaw, Ingrid Cumming, and Marianne Mackay of the Ngalak Nidja Dance Group in the Welcome to Country Ceremony at the Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona Press Conference. Credit: © WSL / Miers

Local Wildcards Look to Upset Race to the WSL Rip Curl Finals 

The Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona will see a number of wildcards and injury replacements hitting the water with some of Western Australia’s best up-and-coming and iconic surfing talent finding themselves in the draw for this week’s event. Local trials winners Kael Walsh and Mia McCarthy will join Rip Curl Wildcard Jacob Willcox (AUS) and surfing icon Taj Burrow(AUS) in the competition, with Burrow coming in to replace the injured Adrian Buchan (AUS) at Rottnest. 

Mikey Wright (AUS) will continue to take the spot of Kolohe Andino(USA), while Kelly Slater (USA) will be replaced by Liam O’Brien (AUS), who is sitting in 4th on the WSL Australia / Oceania QS Rankings. Former CT competitor Stu Kennedy (AUS) will return to the elite stage to replace John John Florence (HAW), who withdrew from the remainder of the Australian leg with a knee injury. Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) will continue to fill in for Lakey Peterson (USA), who is recovering from a back injury.

Pictured: [From Left to Right] Gabriel Medina, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Jacob Willcox, Mia McCarthy, and Stephanie Gilmore at the Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona Press Conference. Credit: © WSL / Miers

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 to limit environmental impacts.

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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