The Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro decided new World Surf League (WSL) rankings leaders. Mick Fanning (AUS), the esteemed surfer notorious for punching a shark at the J-Bay Open, has struck gold! The three-time world champion surfed his way into the number one spot on the 2015 WSL Jeep Leaderboard after squaring off against the former number one ranked leader, Adriano de Souza (BRA), in the Hurley Pro Final at Lower Trestles. Since his victory at the Hurley Pro pushed him into the number one spot on tour, he has the privilege of wearing the bright, gold jersey. The gold jersey signals the other competitors that he is the man to beat.
Two-time world champion, Carissa Moore (HAW), bested Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) to take the Swatch Women’s Pro at Lower Trestles, her third World Championship Tour (WCT) victory of the season. Carissa was elated, hugging everyone in sight, as she jumped back into the lead for the WSL Women’s World Tour. When asked how it feels to be back on top, Carissa replied: “It feels great. I think I put a lot of pressure on myself. So, my goal is to let go a little bit and take each event as it goes and have fun.” Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) is on fire this year. She made the finals at Fiji. She bested Moore in a round at the US Open of Surfing. Therefore, the Final at the Swatch Women’s Pro was setup for an exciting matchup. Each of the surfers opened big, Moore with an 8.00 and Buitendag with a near eight (7.67). The South African delivered on her backside, creating an exciting exchange. Moore was rewarded with an 8.37 to advance her lead.
Experienced world champions, Mick Fanning and Carissa Moore, both describe the Europe leg of the tour as “tricky.” Carissa Moore has the lead heading into Europe: “I’m stoked to go home with the win today. The next three events are going to be pretty important. [In Europe] there are tricky waves and challenging spots. It’s great to go into those events just with some momentum.” After an announcer commented about Fanning wearing the gold jersey going into France, Fanning prepped a hesitant: “Europe is a tricky one.” Thus far, the opening stop of the WSL’s European leg has resulted in a couple of laydays. There has not been much surf to work with. In that regard, it is tricky.
Both Mick Fanning and Carissa Moore had a solid support system at the contests. Carissa Moore mentioned how she grew up surfing Trestles and enjoyed having her Dad present. Mick Fanning stated, “I’ve had such a great support team here, so I’ve been having a lot of fun.” While on the podium, Mick (the Mama’s boy) gave a shout-out: “Mum’s been here. So yeah, love you, Mum.”
An Increase of Patriotism
While there were several Brazilians either put in combination situations or causing other competitors to be placed in them, the Brazilian crowd was as relentless as usual. They flew their soaring flags high and shouted for their countrymen. However, they had some competition. After winning her Final, Carissa Moore was draped in a Hawaiian flag. At the podium, a lone Aussie started a chant of “Oi, Oi, Oi” on behalf of Mick Fanning.
Graciousness of Competitors
On the podium, Mick started with: “It’s been a pretty wild year. I guess J-Bay is one of those things you never really want to talk about.” He proceeded to mention how Adriano de Souza, though his competition, came back from the airport to support Fanning after the shark attack. He then congratulated Adriano de Souza: “He surfed amazing and he always puts up a huge fight.” Moore mentioned Bianca’s talent, too: “That was a really tough Final against Bianca and I’m just so happy to make it through.” On the podium, she could have gushed on about her victory, instead Carissa reached out to a fellow injured competitor: “We’re really missing Steph Gilmore on tour this year, and we can’t wait to see her back and healthy.”
During the opening days of the competition window, Hurricane Linda allowed the world’s best athletes to raise the bar on high-performance surfing at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California. While the Final Day conditions were a departure from those enjoyed during the initial rounds, the performances of the WSL elite remained competitive. A perfect example of the consequences of dropping conditions was found in the Swatch Women’s Pro Semifinal. Lakey Peterson (USA) was up against Bianca Buitendag (ZAF). Lakey only needed a 5.77 but was wave starved near the end. A rideable wave came late, just after the whistle. Despite the weakened conditions for the last day of competition, Carissa calls Lower Trestles her “happy place”:
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.”
Fanning seconds that notion: “This has been a great event for me. I came in early and we had amazing waves.” Whether their true “happy place” lies within the wave conditions at Lower Trestles or the actual position on the WSL Jeep Leaderboard is up for debate.
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
Highlights from the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro are available at WorldSurfLeauge.com and via the WSL mobile app.