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Snapper Rocks Turns On for Day 1 of Challenger Series Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro

Next Gen Set the Standard on Day 1 at Snapper; Simkus and Enright Top the Day of Mixed Results for Local Contingent; Kelly Slater and Snapper World Champs Take Over Lineup

29/Abr/2024 - WSL

SNAPPER ROCKS, Queensland, Australia (Saturday, April 27, 2024) -  Snapper Rocks has turned on for Day 1 of the Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro presented by GWM, Stop No. 1 of the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS). The opening rounds of competition saw perfect two-to-three-foot surf reeling down the point as some of the world’s best, along with five World Champions, put on epic performances for huge Gold Coast crowds.

Next Gen Set The Standard on Day 1 at Snapper 

Heat 2 of the women’s Round of 48 saw a standout performance from Eweleiula Wong (HAW), whose precise timing was a perfect match for the long, roping Snapper walls. Wong earned a near-excellent 7.87 (out of a possible 10) for a series of fast, technical snaps. Wong posted a heat total of 13.84 (out of a possible 20) to overcome Yolanda Hopkins (POR), who progressed in second place, while Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) and Saffi Vette (NZL) were eliminated from the event.  

“This is such a beautiful wave, it’s like a regular-footers dream out here,” Wong said. “It’s really different when there’s no one out because you actually have to pick the right ones. I feel really good. I’ve been surfing here all week so it’s nice to finally get a few waves to myself. I’m stoked to make it through.” 

Rosie Smart (AUS) came out of the gates swinging in her Round of 48 matchup with Zoe McDougall (HAW), former CT competitor Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN), and Maud Le Car (FRA). Teenager Smart posted an excellent 8.50 for a series of massive, critical backhand re-entries early in the heat, then waited patiently for a backup. As the clock wound down, Smart struggled to find a wave and eventually posted a low-range score, which, off the strength of her first wave, was enough to take the lead and the win. French competitor Le Car progressed in second with McDougal and Tsuzuki being elimainted. 

Hailing from just south of the border, Cabarita surfer Zahli Kelly (AUS) looked right at home in her opening heat of the Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro, posting a 14.77 two-wave heat total (out of a possible 20), the highest of the women’s Round of 48 to progress into the Round of 32. Kelly looked fast and sharp on her front, displaying plenty of variation in her maneuvers as she looked to post a breakthrough result at the Challenger Series level. 

“That was a nice way to start off a Saturday morning,” Kelly said. “I saw where the good scores were coming from in the heat before mine so I knew where to sit and right when I got there, that set popped up, I got a six then paddled straigh back out and into the eight. Snapper is a hard wave to surf because you’re always looking down the line, so once I was on the wave, I was telling myself to do a proper turn. I’m happy to be here and just picking certain events throughout the year, not taking it too seriously and having fun.”

Byron Bay’s Kyuss King (AUS) put on an incredible display of rail surfing in Heat 7 of the men's Round of 80, posting back-to-back excellent scores for a heat total of 16.20, the highest of the event so far. King took a last-minute wildcard spot and looked to be surfing with little pressure, carving hard and fast on the low-tide square walls of Snapper Rocks. 

“It’s pumping out there,” King said. “Anytime you get to surf Snapper with only three other guys out is like a dream. It’s childhood dream stuff. It’s hard with priority to sit out there watching perfect empty waves roll by and not feel like you need to surf them. I’ve been on a pretty wild journey over the last couple of years with a bulging disc injury. It’s taken me on a rollercoaster and taught me a lot. I’ve been training really hard and feeling really good the last few months. I’m feeling really good and do it all for surfing and when you get to compete in waves like this with a packed beach, it’s epic. This is what we do it for."

Josh Burke (BRB), Charly Quivront (FRA), and Taro Watanabe (USA) were other standout performers on Day 1. Watanabe posted an excellent score for his free-flowing frontside. The Malibu local’s style matched Snapper perfectly, and his fins-free approach set him apart from his opponents. 

Simkus and Enright Top the Day of Mixed Results for Local Contingent  

Former runner-up at the Gold Coast Sheldon Simkus (AUS) got his campaign off to a great start, posting one of the highest heat totals of the day and showing local knowledge pays off. On every wave, the silky smooth natural footer took off on sections at a better speed than any of his opponents. Simkus was unable to secure a full-time spot on this year's Challenger Series, he but hopes to shake up the draw this week as a wildcard.

Snapper Rocks' Surfriders' club member Kobie Enright (AUS) was another local standout on the opening day of the competition. Enright had the tough task of taking on Kirra Pinkerton (USA), Sara Wakita (JPN) and Talia Swindal (USA), but her wave choice got the better of her opponents, as well as her ability to perform on the sets. Enright took the top spot with her winning heat total before any of her competitors were able to get a wave. She was able to hang onto the lead and progress along with Walkita. 

“I don’t usually start my heats with a good score so it was nice to get two straight away like that,” Enright said. “Once you’ve got a decent total you can kind of just keep getting waves and let your surfing do the talking. It was great just to get a few, the waves are so fun right now, I couldn’t ask for a better day.”

Gold Coaster Oscar Berry (AUS) found back-to-back tubes to earn an impressive heat total of 14.43, which included an 8.83 for a deep tube ride and several massive turns. Berry’s excellent score was the highest single-wave score of the event so far. Berry progressed in second place behind King in Heat 7 of the Round of 80. 

Despite a solid showing and one of the first tube rides of the day, Gold Coast Trial's winner Brent Dorington (AUS) was unable to progress through his Round of 80 heat. His fellow Trial's winning wildcard Ziggy Aloha Mackenzie (AUS) was also unable to progress into the Round of 32 along with reigning World Junior Champion Sierra Kerr (AUS), who was a shock loss on Day 1.

Kelly Slater and Snapper World Champs Take Over Lineup

The final heat of the day saw 24 World Titles hit the water with Kelly Slater (USA), as well as Snapper locals and fellow World Champions Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Mick Fanning (AUS), and Mark Occhilupo (AUS), taking over the lineup for a super session and tribute to the 11-time World Champion and four-time Gold Coast Pro winner. Thousands of fans packed the beach as the five surfing icons traded perfect waves, threading tubes and tearing Snapper to parts. 

“That was so much fun,” said Gilmore. "Parko gave me that good one, and it was so cool to see these guys do their thing out here.” 

“Steph definitely beat all four of us,” said Slater. “It’s amazing to see this crowd down here and what surfing means to the Gold Coast. That was really fun.” 

The next call will be tomorrow, Sunday, April 28, at 7:30 a.m. AEST for a possible 8:00 a.m. start.

Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM Women’s Round of 48 Results:

HEAT 1: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 12.67 DEF. Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 9.90, Jessie Van Niekerk (RSA) 6.93, Ziggy Aloha Mackenzie (AUS) 2.34

HEAT 2: Eweleiula Wong (HAW) 13.64 DEF. Yolanda Hopkins (POR) 13.43, Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) 11.73, Saffi Vette (NZL) 10.90

HEAT 3: Zahli Kelly (AUS) 14.83 DEF. Laura Raupp (BRA) 12.96, Leilani McGonagle (CRC) 12.50, Anastasia Venter (RSA) 7.60

HEAT 4: Anon Matsuoka (JPN) 13.84 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.20, Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.14, Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 8.67

HEAT 5: Kobie Enright (AUS) 13.34 DEF. Sara Wakita (JPN) 12.63, Talia Swindal (USA) 9.67, Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 9.40

HEAT 6: Rosie Smart (AUS) 11.40 DEF. Maud Le Car (FRA) 9.83, Zoe McDougall (HAW) 9.33, Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) 8.93

HEAT 7: Tessa Thyssen (FRA) 12.63 DEF. Sophia Medina (BRA) 11.53, Nora Liotta (HAW) 10.96, Sierra Kerr (AUS) 9.83

HEAT 8: Sol Aguirre (PER) 11.97 DEF. Philippa Anderson (AUS) 10.93, Taina Hinckel (BRA) 10.43, Daniella Rosas (PER) 10.34

Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM Men’s Round of 80 Results:

HEAT 1: Josh Burke (BRB) 14.07 DEF. Levi Slawson (USA) 13.90, Tide-Lee Ireland (RSA) 13.60, Jordy Maree (RSA) 9.13

HEAT 2: Taro Watanabe (USA) 14.17 DEF. Jarvis Earle (AUS) 12.03, Cauã Costa (BRA) 11.67, Kai Paula (HAW) 11.60

HEAT 3: Charly Quivront (FRA) 14.00 DEF. Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 13.90, Guilherme Ribeiro (POR) 13.73, Daniel Emslie (RSA) 11.67

HEAT 4: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 14.83 DEF. Leo Casal (BRA) 12.13, Brent Dorrington (AUS) 11.53, Kai Martin (HAW) 10.33

HEAT 5: Sheldon Simkus (AUS) 14.13 DEF. Ryan Huckabee (USA) 12.73, Heitor Mueller (BRA) 12.03, Luel Felipe (BRA) 11.17

HEAT 6: Owen Moss (USA) 13.94 DEF. Winter Vincent (AUS) 12.74, Carlos Munoz (CRC) 11.97, Robert Grilho (HAW) 9.13

HEAT 7: Kyuss King (AUS) 16.20 DEF. Oscar Berry (AUS) 14.43, Tully Wylie (AUS) 11.60, Riaru Ito (JPN) 9.70

HEAT 8: Kai Odriozola (ESP) 12.74 DEF. Dylan Moffat (AUS) 11.83, Joh Azuchi (JPN) 11.40, Rinta Oooto (JPN) 10.13

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

HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Bella Kenworthy (USA) vs. Zoe Benedetto (USA) vs. Yolanda Hopkins (POR)

HEAT 2: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) vs. Erin Brooks (CAN) vs. Eweleiula Wong (HAW) vs. Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW)

HEAT 3: India Robinson (AUS) vs. Teresa Bonvalot (POR) vs. Zahli Kelly (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

HEAT 4: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS) vs. Anon Matsuoka (JPN) vs. Laura Raupp (BRA)

HEAT 5: Luana Silva (BRA) vs. Sarah Baum (RSA) vs. Kobie Enright (AUS) vs. Maud Le Car (FRA)

HEAT 6: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Vahine Fierro (FRA) vs. Rosie Smart (AUS) vs. Sara Wakita (JPN)

HEAT 7: Alyssa Spencer (USA) vs. Ellie Harrison (AUS) vs. Tessa Thyssen (FRA) vs. Philippa Anderson (AUS)

HEAT 8: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Francisca Veselko (POR) vs. Sol Aguirre (PER) vs. Sophia Medina (BRA)

Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM Men’s Round of 64 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Mihimana Braye (PYF) vs. Adin Masencamp (RSA) vs. Josh Burke (BRB)

HEAT 2: Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Nolan Rapoza (USA) vs. Luke Slijpen (RSA) vs. Levi Slawson (USA)

HEAT 3: Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) vs. Tiago Carrique (FRA) vs. Taro Watanabe (USA)

HEAT 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Jackson Bunch (HAW) vs. Shion Crawford (HAW) vs. Jarvis Earle (AUS)

HEAT 5: Frederico Morais (POR) vs. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) vs. Edgard Groggia (BRA) vs. Charly Quivront (FRA)

HEAT 6: Callum Robson (AUS) vs. Nat Young (USA) vs. Alister Reginato (AUS) vs. Rafael Teixeira (BRA)

HEAT 7: Marco Mignot (FRA) vs. Jett Schilling (USA) vs. Gatien Delahaye (FRA) vs. Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)

HEAT 8: Dakoda Walters (AUS) vs. Mikey McDonagh (AUS) vs. Kauli Vaast (FRA) vs. Leo Casal (BRA)

HEAT 9: Samuel Pupo (BRA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Joel Vaughan (AUS) vs. Sheldon Simkus (AUS)

HEAT 10: Mateus Herdy (BRA) vs. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) vs. Alan Cleland (MEX) vs. Ryan Huckabee (USA)

HEAT 11: Jacob Willcox (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA) vs. Owen Moss (USA)

HEAT 12: Eli Hanneman (HAW) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Lucas Silveira (BRA) vs. Winter Vincent (AUS)

HEAT 13: Kade Matson (USA) vs. Dimitri Poulos (USA) vs. Lucca Mesinas (PER) vs. Kyuss King (AUS)

HEAT 14: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. George Pittar (AUS) vs. Michael Dunphy (USA) vs. Oscar Berry (AUS)

HEAT 15: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Kian Martin (SWE) vs. Kai Odriozola (ESP)

HEAT 16: Ian Gentil (HAW) vs. Justin Becret (FRA) vs. Luke Thompson (RSA) vs. Dylan Moffat (AUS)