Costa Mesa, CA (March 16, 2016): Rip Curl’s Matt Wilkinson and Tyler Wright brought it home yesterday with both surfers winning the first event of the WSL CT season.
Under grey skies, but clean and workable 3-5 foot waves at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast, the finals day of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro’s got underway with 12 surfers left to duke it out.
Matt Wilkinson put on an exciting performance throughout the event, unleashing a variety of technical maneuvers, pushing score lines and knocking out top-seeded opponents.
The goofy-footer annihilated the break on his backhand, taking down reigning WSL World Champion Adriano De Souza in the Men’s quarterfinals.
He went on to defeat defending event-winner Filipe Toledo, and go on to face Kolohe Andino in the Final.
Out of the gates with an explosive backhand attack and an 8.60 on the board early, he backed up with a cheer-inducing 5.60 as the clock ticked down, winning the Final with a total heat score of 14.20 to Andino’s 13.66.
“I started this year with a win in the Qualifying Series and to win this event felt amazing. I did not expect this but I was hoping for it,” said Wilkinson. “My heat against Adriano is the kind of heat where I usually lose. I just got the score right at the end and it gave me the fire to make me feel like the ocean was on my side. I surfed well with so much pressure on, and I knew I hadn’t gotten a great Snapper wave this whole event, and that first wave of the Final had two really nice sections at the start. I am so stoked to win.”
“I was hoping to make it in the top five or ten this year, and I have been at the back end of the teens for the last few years, so this is a different start,” continued Wilkinson. “I feel like I have matured a lot in my heat surfing and in my surfing in general. Hopefully I can put a lot of heats together this year and win the Title.”
The win on the Gold Coast is the 27-year-old’s maiden Championship Tour win, and will see him pull on the yellow leader’s jersey at the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.
In the Women’s event Tyler Wright faced three-time World Champion and last year’s event winner, Carissa Moore (HAW), in the first heat of the Semifinals.
Executing her signature jams and strong-carving cutbacks, a 5.6 combined with a huge 8.50, meant a Final’s berth was hers.
Wright continued her winning form, taking the final convincingly over Courtney Conlogue in a epic battle, with a total score of 14.67 (8.17 and 6.5) to Conlogue’s 10.94.
“The last few months and everything that has happened, it has been such an experience and a crazy one. It brought so much clarity for me and simplified everything so I could come here and absolutely be my best on the day. It made me realize that I want to win a World Title and I want to do it my way.”
“I want to verse the best, and Steph (Gilmore), Carissa (Moore), Courtney (Conlogue) and all the girls on Tour, they are all the best. I just want to do my own thing. I’ve known for a long time that I could win and it is having that belief and going out in heats saying ‘Yes, you’ve got this - just get it done.’”
“I want to thank Micro [Glenn Hall] for being in my corner and helping me out, as well as my family and Rip Curl and everyone who came down today and supported us. It has been absolutely incredible so thanks.”
With a new coach, Wright’s 2016 World Title campaign has kicked off with the best start, and she too will be appearing in the yellow Leader’s jersey at the next stop, the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 - Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.20
2 - Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.66
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 - Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.67
2 - Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.94
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.43 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.27
SF 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.23 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 14.20
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.17 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.00
SF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.27 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.50
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 12.34 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.16
QF 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.16 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.73
QF 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.00 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 4.83
QF 4: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 15.23 def. John John Florence (HAW) 14.00
Jeep WSL Men’s Leaderboard (after Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast):
1. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10,000 pts
Matt Wilkinson and Tyler Wright photo: Cory Wilson