• Two-Time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina Dominates Opening Day
  • Wright Family Through to Round of 32
  • Four-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore Celebrates 100th CT Appearance
  • More Available at WorldSurfLeague.com
Pictured: Two-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) in men’s Seeding Round 1, Heat 5 of 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, completed the men’s and women’s Seeding Rounds in clean three-to-four foot waves at Strickland Bay. The opening rounds saw the world’s best surfers get acquainted with the new location in the Rip Curl Search’s return to the CT. 

Wright Family Through to Round of 32

The opening heat of the day saw brothers Mikey and Owen Wright do battle in a three-man heat with Californian Griffin Colapinto. This marked the first time the brothers have met in a CT heat. Although Owen posted the highest single wave of the heat with an excellent 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10), it was younger brother Mikey who took the victory with a two-wave combination of 10.97 (out of a possible 20). It was a much-needed heat win for Mikey as he has struggled to make it out of the elimination round in the last three events.

“I’ve had a few first-round heat losses lately,” Mikey Wright said. “I’ve been thinking I just need to kick it in the guts and get it moving, so I’m frothing to finally get one. It was an interesting heat at the start. I kept going right and couldn’t score over a two and Owen was going left and not getting over a two, so I was confused about what to do. Towards the end, I just waited for one with a long wall so I could just go to town on it and get a few turns in. I could have gone a bit harder but in the end, but I just did what I needed to do.” 

Brazilian World Champions Advance on Day 1 

2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) surfed his last Seeding Round heat in Australian waters today as he plans to retire at the end of the 2021 CT season. Although the conditions were incredibly slow, De Souza was able to make the most of his opening round heat with a win over current World No. 2Italo Ferreira (BRA) and West Australian surfing icon Taj Burrow (AUS). Burrow, who spent 18 years on the CT before retiring, was unable to find the small requirement to advance to the Round of 32 and will hope to have more waves in his next heat. 

Gabriel Medina (BRA) shrugged off his Round of 16 exit at Margaret River with the domination of Round 1 at Strickland Bay, posting the highest heat total of the opening day with an incredible performance in the lefthanders. Medina built momentum with a flawless display of rail carves and snaps then slammed the door shut with an incredible alley-oop into an air-reverse combination, which garnered him a 9.33 to guarantee his Round of 32 appearance.

“I love those two air combinations,” Medina said. “I was stoked to find some waves. The heat before ours was super slow, so I knew there was going to be more in my heat. This is a tricky wave, so I was happy to find a rhythm with the waves. I have been surfing here a lot and have been loving it. It’s been fun.” 

Pictured: Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) in Seeding Round 1, Heat 2 of the Rip Curl Rottnest Search pres. by Corona. 
Credit: © WSL / Dunbar

Amuro Tsuzuki Scores Again In Opening Round 

Injury replacement Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) is a surfer known for her sharp backside and was noted as one to watch when the left-handers at Strickland started turning on for the competition’s opening day. The former World Junior Champion had her work cut out for her as she came up against form surfers Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Keely Andrew (AUS). True to expectations, Tsuzuki looked strong on her way to her first Round 1 win at the elite level. 

Another competitor known for her backside surfing is Macy Callaghan (AUS). Callaghan tore the left walls of Strickland Bay to pieces to overcome seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and West Aussie local Bronte Macaulay. Callaghan was able to put up to mid-range scores to take the heat over good friend Gilmore who has had the better of her in a number of recent matchups. 

Carissa Moore Celebrates 100th CT Appearance

This event marks four-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore’s (HAW) 100th CT appearance, which she kicked off with a near-perfect 9.50 and the win in Heat 3. Moore’s 16.17 two-wave total (out of a possible 20) was followed closely by Malia Manuel (HAW) with a 14.50. Event wildcard Mia McCarthy (AUS) was unable to find a rhythm and will take on Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in Heat 1 of the women’s Elimination Round. 

Michel Bourez Mesmerizes with Near-Perfect Tube

Michel Bourez (FRA) set the bar for any Strickland Bay tube rides today with a near-perfect 9.63 in Heat 11 against Brazilians Yago Dora and Caio Ibelli. Bourez impressively navigated his escape from a deep tube to earn the score. Despite Bourez’s opening wave, Dora still managed to get the win with an excellent 8.23 and 7.93, relegating Ibelli to the Elimination Round. 

In addition to the highly coveted Search trophies, the Rip Curl Rottnest Search will also award the surfer with the best barrel of the event. The winner will be given a Didgeridoo that was handmade by Ashley Collard and Kelly Collard. The story for the Didgeridoo is about the Rottnest Island bushland that is surrounded by the ocean and waves. The white dots are the stars of the Aboriginal dreaming and stories that are shared on the Island. Within blue ocean are our spiritual Guardians that are represented by the different colour dots.  

Ashley is a Balardong Nyungar man from Kondinin Western Australia and an artist of 30 years. He was named 2013 NAIDOC Perth Indigenous artist of the year, runner up in the 2013 National Deadly awards (Education category) and winner of the Visual Art Award for the City of Kwinana’s Inaugural Arts and Culture Awards in 2018. 

Ashley and Kelly now produce artworks together, which include paintings on musical instruments, surfboards, kangaroo skins and clothing. They also create murals for schools and businesses around Perth Western Australia and are musical performers and artists.

Watch LIVE
The holding period for the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona is now open 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 Men’s Seeding Round 1 Results: 
HEAT 1: Mikey Wright (AUS) 10.97 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.00, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 5.60
HEAT 2: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.77 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 11.20, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 10.76
HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.93 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 9.40, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 8.13
HEAT 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.60 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 6.70, Liam O’Brien (AUS) 5.30
HEAT 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 6.50 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 5.83, Taj Burrow (AUS) 0.70
HEAT 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.00 DEF. Kael Walsh (AUS) 9.00, Jack Freestone (AUS) 5.96
HEAT 7: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.20 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 15.03, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 10.94
HEAT 8: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 13.57 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 13.43, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 11.50
HEAT 9: Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.83 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.27, Jadson Andre (BRA) 5.03
HEAT 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.70 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.66, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.53
HEAT 11: Yago Dora (BRA) 16.16 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 15.76, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.57
HEAT 12: Deivid Silva (BRA) 12.50 DEF. Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.20, Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 6.06

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Men’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS) vs. Taj Burrow (AUS) 
HEAT 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) vs. Liam O’Brien (AUS)  
HEAT 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 
HEAT 4: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS)

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Women’s Seeding Round 1 Results: 
HEAT 1: Macy Callaghan (AUS) 13.00 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.70, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 8.76
HEAT 2: Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) 7.80 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 6.83, Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 6.17
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.17 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.50, Mia McCarthy (AUS) 5.64
HEAT 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.63 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 13.04, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 12.93
HEAT 5: Sage Erickson (USA) 14.60 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.07, Isabella Nichols (AUS) 12.84
HEAT 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.10 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.56, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 9.16

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Women’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Mia McCarthy (AUS)  
HEAT 2: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)

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.