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Kelly Slater and Seven Others Miss the Cut at Western Australia Margaret River Pro

11X World Champion Kelly Slater Gets Honorable Chair-up After Loss in Margaret River and Shares Emotional Message Following His Elimination

22/Abr/2024 - WSL

MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia, Australia (Tuesday, April 16, 2024) - The Western Australia Margaret River Pro, Stop No. 5 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), saw an emotional day of competition with the men’s Elimination Round and Round of 32 in four-to-five foot surf at Main Break in Margaret River. 

Eight surfers were relegated from the 2024 CT and will go to the Challenger Series to try to earn their spot back on the elite Tour, while nine more surfers have secured their position for the back half of the 2024 season. 

11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) has alluded to slowing down his competitive career in recent weeks, and although he did not officially announce his retirement today, shared his thoughts and future plans in an emotional post-heat interview after his loss to World No. 1 Griffin Colapinto (USA) in the Round of 32 at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, Stop No. 5 of 10 on the 2024 WSL CT. 

Celebrated as the greatest surfer of all time, Slater has 56 event wins over his incredible 32-year career on the Championship Tour. With 11 World Titles, he holds the record for the most World Championships of any surfer and is both the youngest and oldest World Champion in men’s history. 

Although the surfing GOAT hinted that he doesn’t plan to hang up his jersey at the moment, he’s missed the Mid-season Cut, meaning that he has not requalified for the remainder of the 2024 WSL CT nor the start of the 2025 WSL CT.  

The 52-year-old shared that he plans to compete in events as they come, and the WSL Commissioner’s Office will release updates to the event wildcards for the back half of the season as those event windows draw closer.

After being chaired up at Margaret River, Slater shared an emotional message following his loss: 

“As far as emotions, it’s almost hitting me. It’s right there bubbling. I couldn’t quite pull a miracle off this week. I’ve pulled a few off over the years and I still had that hope out there. Even with a minute to go, I thought, ‘One might pop up.’ But to lose to the world number one. Griff is the number one guy and I’ve been close with him for a long time. It’s been fun to be over 50 and still mixing it up with the guys and still feeling like I’m there with them. Seeing this new crop of guys and to finish with Griffin, as a full-time competitor that’s cool. 

“I’ve had a fight with this wave my whole career, so it’s not necessarily the wave I want to end on. I have put in for a wildcard for Fiji so I’ll see how that goes. But I do feel like, if I get a wildcard into Fiji, I could end up against Griffin again so I’ll get to pay him back.

“But yeah, it is what it is, everything comes to an end and if you don’t adapt you don’t survive and my motivation just hasn’t been there to really put in that one-hundred percent that everyone else is now. 

“I’ve got a couple weeks here, Renato asked me if I want to surf on the Goldy [Challenger Series Event]. If Snapper looks good, we’ll see. Just for some fun.” 

Colapinto is one of the next generation’s promising hopes to be the World Champion and his current World No. 1 standing has put the surfing world on notice. His win over Slater signals a changing of the guard and continues to solidify his presence as one of the world’s best surfers. Colapinto will continue his charge through this event and the season to the WSL Finals, as well as representing the United States in the upcoming Olympic Games at Teahupo’o, Tahiti. 

“It’s pretty mind-blowing – when I saw him getting chaired up the stairs I was like whoa, is that for real? That’s a sign in surfing that someone is retiring and the fact that he did that after a heat with me, I was pretty blown away and was just trying to take it all in,” Colapinto said. “It’s crazy, he’s given me and everyone on this tour so much, we owe him so much, we make a living because of how far he has taken surfing. It’s pretty incredible. I used to watch his video parts and imagine myself being like him.”

Three-time WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) will now face two-time WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW) in the Round of 16 after both competitors won their Round of 32 heats today against Ryan Callinan (AUS) and Deivid Silva (BRA), respectively. 

Callinan needed to win against Medina in order to secure himself above the Cut, but will now need to see the other scenarios play out to determine if he will advance through to the rest of the 2024 CT season. The heat saw Medina separate himself from the Australian with an 8.73 to take the win and advance to the next round when the competition resumes. 

“I like the overlapping heats, but today is really slow out there,” Medina said. “I’m happy with the win for sure but I hope the next round we get some more waves coming. Over the years of coming here, I have worked out different parts of the wave and how to surf it. I think I’ve proven myself here and am enjoying my time here every year I come. It’s going to be good surfing against John, I’m looking forward to it.”

Florence had a slow start to this event so far with a trip to the Elimination Round yesterday, but he fired back today with the win over Silva. The matchup was extremely close, with Silva giving everything to the Main Break walls but falling only 0.43 of a point shy of the win to Florence’s 17.13 combined score (out of a possible 10). The loss for Silva means relegation to the Challenger Series, where he will compete against other relegated surfers and new faces, who will all be fighting for a spot on next season’s CT. 

“The waves are really good when they come and I was kind of fired up,” Florence said. “I’ve had a couple of slow heats recently, so I was just excited to go surf so when I was sitting there for 30 minutes thinking, ‘This is not what I had in mind.’ It would have been nice to be a little more consistent but the waves were so clean and good when they came.”

Alongside Slater, eight surfers were unable to progress through the Round of 32 and were eliminated from the competition, falling below the Mid-season Cut line: Ian Gentil (HAW), Eli Hanneman (HAW), Frederico Morais (POR), Kate Matson (USA), Callum Robson (AUS), Deivid Silva (BRA), and Jacob Willcox (AUS). 

Margaret River local and 2024 CT Rookie Willcox was unable to back up his 8.50 and went down to good friend Liam O’Brien (AUS). Another CT Rookie who lost in the Round of 32 and was relegated to the Challenger Series was Hanneman, who narrowly lost his heat against Jake Marshall (USA). San Clemente’s Matson was the last rookie of the day to experience the heartbreak of missing the Cut, after his loss to Italo Ferreira (BRA). Matson, with this equal 17th-place finish, was unable to move above the Cut line and will return to the Challenger Series for the remainder of 2024. 

Silva put everything he could into his matchup with Florence, posting his best heat total of the 2024 season. Unfortunately for Silva, it wasn’t enough to overcome Florence who posted the highest two-wave total of the event so far and will be sent to the Challenger Series to once again battle to regain his spot at the elite level. 

Morais fell victim to the Mid-season Cut for the second consecutive season after he lost his Round of 32 matchup with Jordy Smith (RSA), while Robson suffered the same result with his loss to hometown favorite Jack Robinson (AUS) in the last heat of the day. 

Coming into the round of 32, Rio Waida (INA), Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR), Imaikalani DeVault (HAW), and Italo Ferriera (BRA) needed to progress through their heats to make the Mid-season Cut. All except for Waida were able to get the job done, progressing into the Round of 16 and securing their spots on the CT for the second half of the season. Fortunately for Waida, with other results going his way, he was able to also secure his spot beyond the Mid-season Cut. 

Other surfers to clear the Cut line after further eliminations today included Gabriel Medina (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (BRA), Matthew McGillivray (RSA), and Liam O’Brien (AUS). 

Pupo V. Pupo Matchup to Come, Bubble Surfers Survive Another Chance to Make the Cut at Main Break 

The men’s Round of 16 will be a battle of the Pupo brothers, Miguel and Samuel, as they face each other in a critical heat for both of their CT careers. The loser of that heat will be relegated to the Challenger Series, while the winner will have the opportunity to continue to fight to save their spot on the Tour for the remainder of the year and into the next season. 

Also claiming critical wins to improve their qualification hopes include Seth Moniz (HAW) and Caio Ibelli (BRA). Their CT fates will depend on the results from the upcoming Round of 16 and the Final Series. 

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Elimination Round Results: 

HEAT 1: Callum Robson (AUS) 12.84 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 11.37, Otis North (AUS) 10.73

HEAT 2: Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 14.93 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.63, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 11.43

HEAT 3: Cole Houshmand (USA) 13.10 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 12.50, Yago Dora (BRA) 10.20

HEAT 4: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 14.00 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 12.54, Rio Waida (INA) 7.13

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 32 Results: 

HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) 17.13 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 16.70

HEAT 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.66 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.40

HEAT 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.27 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.77

HEAT 4: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 12.77 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 11.50

HEAT 5: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.87 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 6.17

HEAT 6: Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 13.06 DEF. Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 12.43

HEAT 7: George Pittar (AUS) 13.26 DEF. Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.87

HEAT 8: Liam O'Brien (AUS) 15.00 DEF. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 14.17

HEAT 9: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 14.33 DEF. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 11.37

HEAT 10: Seth Moniz (HAW) 10.60 DEF. Connor O'Leary (JPN) 10.10

HEAT 11: Jordy Smith (RSA) 13.77 DEF. Frederico Morais (POR) 12.83

HEAT 12: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.50 DEF. Crosby Colapinto (USA) 10.97

HEAT 13: Jake Marshall (USA) 11.84 DEF. Eli Hanneman (HAW) 11.33

HEAT 14: Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 13.73 DEF. Ian Gentil (HAW) 13.70

HEAT 15: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10.93 DEF. Kade Matson (USA) 10.33

HEAT 16: Jack Robinson (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Callum Robson (AUS) 10.77

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

HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)

HEAT 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)

HEAT 3: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR)

HEAT 4: George Pittar (AUS) vs. Liam O'Brien (AUS)

HEAT 5: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)

HEAT 6: Jordy Smith (RSA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)

HEAT 7: Jake Marshall (USA) vs. Imaikalani deVault (HAW)

HEAT 8: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jack Robinson (AUS)

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Women’s Round of 16 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. India Robinson (AUS)

HEAT 2: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)

HEAT 3: Molly Picklum (AUS) vs. Alyssa Spencer (USA)

HEAT 4: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)

HEAT 5: Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Sophie McCulloch (AUS)

HEAT 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)

HEAT 7: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

HEAT 8: Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) vs. Sawyer Lindblad (USA)