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Jack Robinson and Gabriela Bryan Win Western Australia Margaret River Pro

Hawaii’s Gabriela Bryan Claims Career-First CT Victory, Rookie Sawyer Lindblad Earns Runner-up Finish to Make the Cut, Jack Robinson Is Best in the West Once Again, Earns Second CT Victory at Margaret River Pro

22/Abr/2024 - WSL

MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia, Australia (Sunday, April 21, 2024) - Today, Gabriela Bryan (HAW) and Jack Robinson (AUS) won the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, Stop No. 5 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). In a full day of competition that ran 18 heats, Bryan and Robinson took down a stacked field in six-to-eight-foot waves at Margaret River’s Main Break. 

As the final event before the Mid-Season Cut, the surfers left in the draw had one last opportunity to continue through to the back half of the 2024 CT season. Today’s high-pressured heats confirmed the final list of competitors who made and missed the Mid-Season Cut

Coming into the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, Gabriela Bryan (HAW) was sitting in 10th place on the rankings and in desperate need of her best result of the year. A standout at Margaret River, Bryan has made the Final at this location before to save her place on Tour with a career-best runner-up finish in her rookie season. The 22-year-old’s path to the Final was a rocky one, with plenty of close results seeing her edge out her opponents, Costa Rica’s Brisa Hennessy and Australia’s India Robinson. Bryan saved her best surfing for last against 2024 CT Rookie Sawyer Lindblad (USA) in the Final, where she posted her best heat total of the week, a 15.93 (out of a possible 20), to claim her maiden CT victory and move up to No. 5 on the world rankings. 

“I don't even know what to say. I’m so happy right now,” Bryan said. “It’s been a crazy day, crazy week, crazy month. I’m so happy to get this win and proud to do it when my back was against the wall. I couldn’t do this alone, though. My mom, my dad, my brother, and my sister support me so much. Seabass [Sebastian Zietz] has supported me so much. There are so many people at home, and I hope I’ve made them all proud. This is insane, and I don’t even know if it’s sunk in yet.” 

The women’s Final saw eventual winner and 2022 Western Australia Margaret River Pro runner-up Bryan take on rookie Lindblad on a day that has once again seen the next generation of female competitors raise the bar. For the majority of the 35-minute matchup, both women held mid-range heat totals without separating Linblad’s vertical backhand approach from Bryan’s frontside power hacks. Then, with less than five minutes left, Bryan found the biggest wave of the set and laid down a huge frontside carve, then finished with a super late, critical rebound to earn an excellent 8.10 (out of a possible 10) to take the win.

“I was coming into this event under the Cut, and now I’m No. 5, which makes a big difference,” continued Bryan. “It’s just reassuring knowing my surfing belongs on Tour. I’m so happy we got good waves today. Last year, I was eliminated from this event and relied on things going my way to make the Cut, so it was so good to do it myself and do what I needed to do. All the girls put on such a good show today. When I kicked out of that wave, I knew it was sent to me by someone—with those dolphins riding it—it was amazing.” 

Similarly to Bryan, Sawyer Lindblad (USA) came into the Western Australia Margaret River Pro needing a career-best result to move above the Mid-season Cut and save her spot on the CT for the second half of the season. The 18-year-old took down veteran Aussies Tyler Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons on her way to her maiden CT Final. Although Lindblad peaked in the Semifinals, earning the highest single-wave score of the women’s event, a near-perfect 9.40 (out of a possible 10), she leaves Western Australia with the best result of her career and now sits safely at 10th on the rankings. 

“It’s pretty crazy,” Lindblad said. “Coming into this event, I knew I needed to make the Final or maybe even win, so I was just taking it heat by heat, and I’m so glad I did it because I get to stay on Tour. I feel like I’ve always done well under pressure, so I was just focusing on wave by wave. The waves were so good today. I’m so grateful that we got so much opportunity out in the water.”  

After winning the 2022 Western Australia Margaret River Pro, a knee injury early last season robbed Jack Robinson (AUS) of defending the title at his home break. This year saw Robinson get his opportunity, and after an early exit at Bells Beach, the young Australian World Title hopeful looked destined for the Final from his performances today. Robinson built through the day and, in the Final against John John Florence (HAW), posted the second-highest heat total of the event to claim his second win in front of his hometown crowd, friends, and family. 

“I missed last year and went through so much to get back and get through that injury, so I felt like this year I was defending my title,” Robinson said. “I’m feeling good. That’s the Final I wanted, and I wanted to throw everything at it. It’s always fun surfing against John. We will have many more heats in the future, I’m sure. What a day. I’m super humbled to be here and win at my home, and I’m so grateful for this moment.”

The men’s Final saw local boy Robinson come up against Main Break standout Florence in a matchup of the two event standouts. Florence looked to be the man to beat coming in, but Robinson had other ideas, posting a 9.10 for three huge carves on one of the biggest waves of the event, then backing it up with an 8.17 for a massive frontside straight air with three turns to complete the wave. Robinson’s 17.27 heat total (out of a possible 20) was the second-highest of the event and left Florence needing a Perfect 10 to take the lead. Florence posted an 8.10 to lower the requirement but couldn’t find another set wave, leaving Robinson to take the win and equal Florence with two Main Break victories in what was one of the heats of the event. With this being his second CT win of the year, Robinson moves to second on the rankings heading into Tahiti, where he is the defending event winner.  

“John John fires me so much, and I always look forward to heats with him,” Robinson continued. “There’s no one else I’d rather Final with than John. Watching him out here inspired me so much, he set the benchmark. It’s not just me who won, it’s everyone who supports me. It’s an incredible moment. To come back here after traveling all year is special. It’s my home, and it's the best place in the world. And I’m grateful to be here right now.”   

Two-time event winner Florence looked destined for a third CT victory in Margaret River today as he began to display some of the incredible surfing he has become known for at Main Break after a slower start to his campaign. The two-time World Champion dominated the Semifinals, posting a Perfect 10-point ride, as well as the highest two-wave total of the event with an 18.40 (out of a possible 20). He looked to be building in the Final but wasn’t able to find the waves he needed to earn a third CT victory in Western Australia. The result was enough to lock Florence in at World No. 3 as he aims for a Top 5 finish and to contest his first-ever WSL Finals later this year. Today also witnessed Florence post his 52nd excellent score at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro. 

“It’s so exciting to be in the Final against Jack again after our matchup in 2022,” Florence said. “It felt like it was happening again and to have it happen in waves like these is pretty amazing. Jack and I are good friends and have been for a long time, but obviously, when the heat starts, we’re competitors, and we want to win. It’s a fun rivalry where we want to put on a good show and a good heat so we have good battles. I’m feeling super good at the moment. I’m super stoked to be surfing and be healthy and be surfing in the Finals here again and just be back in WA. Really, it’s one of my favorite places in the world.”

Event Wildcard George Pittar (AUS) upset the competition with his big win over World No. 1 Griffin Colapinto (USA) in Quarterfinal 2. Pittar proved once again that his winning streak was not a fluke with another near-perfect score, this time backdooring a solid Main Break tube for a 9.50 (out of a possible 10). 

Pittar went on to face eventual runner-up Florence in the Semifinals, where his dream run came to a close after the two-time World Champion posted the highest heat total of the entire event, which included his Perfect 10-point ride for a massive lay-back snap, which he backed up with two more huge turns.

Two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) dispatched World No. 1 Caity Simmers (USA) in Quarterfinal 3. Simmers leaves in 5th place and retains the yellow Leader jersey update. She will now have a few weeks to prepare for the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknkown, which starts May 22, 2024. 

Wright then came against Lindblad in the Semifinals. The rookie shut the door on the two-time World Champion with a near-perfect 9.50 for two huge backhand snaps on one of the biggest waves of the day. 

Best friends Molly Picklum (AUS) and Hennessy found themselves pitted against each other in Quarterfinal 2. With less than a one-point difference between them, it was Hennessy who emerged victorious with a total score of 12.50 points. Picklum stays at World No. 3 at the season’s halfway point. 

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), the 15-year CT veteran, needed to win the entire event to save herself from the Cut. In a battle with 2024 CT rookie Sawyer Lindblad (USA), the two competitors played a patient game, with former Margaret River winner Fitzgibbons holding the advantage with only two waves surfed. With everything on the line, Lindblad threw everything at a medium set with only seconds remaining to earn a 5.50 and the win by just 0.50 of a point. For Fitzgibbons, it’s the second consecutive year she will be forced to return to the Challenger Series, a tour she dominated in 2023. 

Bryan won her heat against India Robinson (AUS) in the first Quarterfinal to make the Cut and secure her position on the Tour for her third straight season. Robinson, who needed to win the entire event to avoid relegation, put up a strong fight, but she fell less than 2 points shy in the Main Break conditions. 

With a massive comeback to start the day in Heat 5 of the men’s Round of 16, Moniz saved himself from the Cut in the dying minutes of his heat against World No. 2 Ethan Ewing (AUS). With time escaping the Hawaiian, he had one final opportunity that paid off with an excellent 8.17 and the win. Moniz went on to face Robinson, where the close matchup saw the West Australian get the win with a narrow 0.63-point advantage. 

Brazilian Caio Ibelli was unable to take down eventual Quarterfinalist Smith. His loss in the Round of 16, Heat 6, means that he missed the Cut, while the result also cleared the way for Connor O’Leary (JPN) to qualify. Ibelli will head back to the Challenger Series, which kicks off in exactly one week at the Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM at the famed Snapper Rocks. 

Joining Ibelli at Snapper will be Samuel Pupo (BRA) after his loss to Florence in the first Quarterfinal. An excellent performance from Florence, with a 16.26 combined score, was too much for Pupo to defeat with a 14.17. Pupo relegated his older brother in the Round of 16, and they'll now do battle to requalify for the Tour together via the Challenger Series. Pupo's also loss provided the opening and confirmation for Yago Dora (BRA) to be the final men's competitor to clear the Mid-season Cut. 

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Women’s Final Results: 

1 - Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 15.93

2 - Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 13.94

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Final Results: 

1 - Jack Robinson (AUS) 17.27

2 - John John Florence (HAW) 16.04

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Women’s Semifinal Results: 

HEAT 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 11.90 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 11.17

HEAT 2: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 16.57 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 10.3

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Semifinal Results: 

HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) 18.40 DEF. George Pittar (AUS) 14.87

HEAT 2: Jack Robinson (AUS) 14.33 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.70

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Results: 

HEAT 1: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 14.03 DEF. India Robinson (AUS) 12.06

HEAT 2: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 12.50 DEF. Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.80

HEAT 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.66 DEF. Caitlin Simmers (USA) 11.90

HEAT 4: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 12.67 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.17

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Quarterfinal Results: 

HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) 16.26 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA) 14.17

HEAT 2: George Pittar (AUS) 16.83 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.17

HEAT 3: Seth Moniz (HAW) 15.90 DEF. Jordy Smith (RSA) 15.17

HEAT 4: Jack Robinson (AUS) 15.43 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 14.43

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 Results: 

HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) 13.90 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.66

HEAT 2: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 13.00 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.10

HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 12.07 DEF. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 8.33

HEAT 4: George Pittar (AUS) 15.90 DEF. Liam O'Brien (AUS) 8.84

HEAT 5: Seth Moniz (HAW) 14.67 DEF. Ethan Ewing (AUS) 13.44

HEAT 6: Jordy Smith (RSA) 14.27 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 7.34

HEAT 7: Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 14.30 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 12.33

HEAT 8: Jack Robinson (AUS) 15.13 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.87