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Relegated CT Surfers Dominate Day 3

Fitzgibbons, Spencer, Silva, Nichols, Robinson and Peterson Bounce Back on the Gold Coast; Bronte Macaulay and Vahine Fierro Put on a Backhand Clinic at Snapper Rocks

02/Mai/2024 - WSL

SNAPPER ROCKS, Queensland, Australia (Monday, April 29, 2024) - Day 3 of the Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro presented by GWM, Stop No. 1 of the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS), saw an incredible day of performances at Snapper Rocks. The women’s Round of 32 witnessed some of the biggest heat totals of the event. In clean two-foot surf in Coolangatta, surfers recently relegated from the Championship Tour (CT) found redemption on their way to the Round of 16.

Bronte Macaulay and Vahine Fierro Put on a Backhand Clinic at Snapper Rocks

Bronte Macaulay (AUS) and Vahine Fierro (FRA) have fired warning shots across the bow of their fellow competitors, opening up their Round of 32 matchups by posting the highest single wave scores of the event so far on back-to-back waves. Both goofy footers attacked the right-handers with clinical precision and plenty of variety, Macaulay earning a 9.50 (out of a possible 10) and Fierro a 9.17. Not long after, former CT competitor Macaulay found another medium-sized set and got to work, posting an 8.33 for a two-wave total of 17.83 (out of a possible 20), the highest of the event so far. Unfortunately for their opponents, Sara Wakita (JPN) and Rosie Smart (AUS), whose heat totals would have seen them progress through most other heats, the performance and experience of Fierro and Macualy was too much to see them into the Round of 16. 

“The bank is so fun right now. I was fizzing to get out there,” Macaulay said. “It’s such a treat to surf Snapper with only a couple of others out and we were really lucky to get some good waves come through in our heat. I just really wanted to open up. That’s really the goal of this event. Regardless of the result, I just want to surf and open up. You never really know how many more events you’ve got or how the year is going to play out, so I was looking to surf and enjoy it.”

Heat 2 witnessed another impressive goofy-footer performance, as prodigious talent Erin Brooks (CAN) put on a show in the clean Snapper Rocks reelers, smashing multiple backside turns on her way to a 13.50 heat total on her first two waves. Brooks’ technique was flawless as she took the win and progressed through with fellow goofy Nadia Erostarbe (EUK).

Spencer, Silva, Nichols, Robinson and Peterson Bounce Back on the Gold Coast.

Just a week after the disappointment of being relegated from the Championship Tour after falling short of the Mid-season Cut, Luana Silva (BRA) put on a commanding performance at Snapper Rocks to book a spot in the Round of 16 and post the third-highest two-wave total of the day. Silva’s poise and technique on her frontside, not to mention patience to wait for the set waves, earned her a 16.33 two-wave total. It wasn’t a simple win though, with local surfer Kobie Enright (AUS) pushing it to the end with a heat total of 15.77 of her own, the fourth-highest of the day, which sees her also progress into the Round of 16.  

“My legs are shaking after those good waves," said Silva. "This is the best place for high-performance surfing. It’s like a wave pool in the ocean. It was so good to compete like that, with Kobie going back and forth. The 9.00 that I got was a magical wave. I’m so glad to get a wave like that out here. It really got my confidence up. It’s nice to get scores like that after missing the cut again.” 

The equal-second highest heat total of the event so far has been earned by veteran Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), who looked fast and sharp on her way to the Round of 16 today. A former runner-up on the Gold Coast, Fitzgibbons is looking to get her re-qualification off to the perfect start with a big result here on the Gold Coast. 

Lakey Peterson (USA) had her competitive experience on show in the opening heat of the day, waiting with priority until almost the mid-point of the 35-minute heat to pull the trigger on a set wave and post a solid 7.00 point ride, then grabbing another one under priority on her way back up the point to take the lead. Peterson's frontside attack is a great match for the Snapper Rocks walls and is what saw her claim a CT victory at this location in 2018. Peterson is glad to be getting reps in a Snapper once again, as she will compete here in 2025 as the WSL CT Season Wildcard. 

“It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks, to say the least,” Peterson said. “It’s good to be here, though, especially now that the dust has settled a bit. It’s nice to be here surfing stress-free after getting the news that I’ll be getting the wildcard next year. It’s funny because I’ve been really trying to focus on getting an early start in my heats, and I don’t think I nailed what I was trying to do, but it’s a start, and it’s something I can work on before next season. That was a nervous heat for me. There is so much talent in the draw here, and this wave allows everyone to display their talents, so it was a nervous one for sure. I’m from a place with a similar wave to this, so I feel like this place suits my style.”  

Reigning Gold Coast Pro event winner India Robinson (AUS) was another standout performer on Day 3 of competition, posting a 15.10 (out of a possible 20) two-wave total, which included an excellent 8.00 point ride. Robinson, who recently fell short of the Mid-season Cut, was glad to bounce back with a confident performance at Snapper and progress through to the Round of 16 with fellow Victorian and former CT competitor Nikki Van Dijk (AUS). 

“The last few weeks have been a lot,” Robinson said. “There’s been a lot to deal with, but having Snapper to fall back on is the best little boost I could ask for. I’m just taking things as they come this week and not putting too much pressure on myself. It’s been a big few months. Obviously, winning last year was a dream come true, but I think the way I did it did a lot for my confidence and has shaped me into the athlete I am today with a stronger mindset. Paddling out here, I feel like I know what to do and what I’m looking for. I love Nikki, so it was cool to share a heat with her and to both progress through it.” 

Australian duo Isabella Nichols and Macy Callaghan showed their experience in Heat 4 of the Round of 32, both progressing over youngsters Anon Matsuoka (JPN) and Laura Raupp (BRA). Nichols was happy to move on from the Cut disappointment, posting a 15.00-point heat total to claim the heat win and book a spot in the Round of 16. 

“It’s hard to not get too excited about the waves that are coming through,” Nichols said. “I’m so stoked they held off the start a bit this morning because it’s definitely better on this tide than it was this morning, so I’m stoked about that. It’s so hard not to go for everything out there.” 

San Diego’s Alyssa Spencer (USA) played a patient game in her Round of 32 heat, only surfing two waves to post a heat total of 13.00 to claim the heat win and advance to the Round of 16 as she looks to re-gain a spot on the CT in 2025.

The next call will be tomorrow, Tuesday, April 30, at 7:45 a.m. AEST for a possible 8:00 a.m. start.

Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM Women’s Round of 32 Results:

HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.10 DEF. Yolanda Hopkins (POR) 10.50, Zoe Benedetto (USA) 10.23, Bella Kenworthy (USA) 8.57

HEAT 2: Erin Brooks (CAN) 13.50 DEF. Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 13.10, Eweleiula Wong (HAW) 10.80, Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 10.77

HEAT 3: India Robinson (AUS) 15.10 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 12.56, Teresa Bonvalot (POR) 10.63, Zahli Kelly (AUS) 8.16

HEAT 4: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 15.00 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 12.73, Anon Matsuoka (JPN) 12.36, Laura Raupp (BRA) 11.17

HEAT 5: Luana Silva (BRA) 16.13 DEF. Kobie Enright (AUS) 15.77, Sarah Baum (RSA) 12.60, Maud Le Car (FRA) 11.97

HEAT 6: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 17.83 DEF. Vahine Fierro (FRA) 15.54, Rosie Smart (AUS) 14.23, Sara Wakita (JPN) 12.27

HEAT 7: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 13.00 DEF. Tessa Thyssen (FRA) 12.40, Ellie Harrison (AUS) 11.20, Philippa Anderson (AUS) 8.63

HEAT 8: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.60 DEF. Sophia Medina (BRA) 14.50, Sol Aguirre (PER) 11.33, Francisca Veselko (POR) 9.37

Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM Women’s Round of 16 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Nadia Erostarbe (EUK)

HEAT 2: Erin Brooks (CAN) vs. Yolanda Hopkins (POR)

HEAT 3: India Robinson (AUS) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)

HEAT 4: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

HEAT 5: Luana Silva (BRA) vs. Vahine Fierro (FRA)

HEAT 6: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Kobie Enright (AUS)

HEAT 7: Alyssa Spencer (USA) vs. Sophia Medina (BRA)

HEAT 8: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Tessa Thyssen (FRA)

Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM Men’s Round of 32 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Josh Burke (BRB) vs. Levi Slawson (USA) vs. Tiago Carrique (FRA) vs. Jackson Bunch (HAW)

HEAT 2: Mihimana Braye (PYF) vs. Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Jarvis Earle (AUS)

HEAT 3: Charly Quivront (FRA) vs. Nat Young (USA) vs. Marco Mignot (FRA) vs. Mikey McDonagh (AUS)

HEAT 4: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) vs. Callum Robson (AUS) vs. Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) vs. Dakoda Walters (AUS)

HEAT 5: Samuel Pupo (BRA) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA) vs. Lucas Silveira (BRA)

HEAT 6: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Alan Cleland (MEX) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)

HEAT 7: Kyuss King (AUS) vs. Oscar Berry (AUS) vs. Kai Odriozola (ESP) vs. Dylan Moffat (AUS)

HEAT 8: Dimitri Poulos (USA) vs. George Pittar (AUS) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Ian Gentil (HAW)