Stephanie Gilmore, reigning six-time world champion approaching the all-time female title-holder record of seven, set by Layne Beachley.
The world’s best surfers are converging on Australia’s Gold Coast for the opening event of the elite 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) season, the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, held from February 28 to March 11, 2015.
The WSL Samsung Galaxy CT annually celebrates the Top 34 male and Top 17 female surfers on the planet as they compete on an international, 20-event tour in the hunt for the undisputed world surfing crown. The unparalleled adventure, competitive drama and athleticism of professional surfing is accessible LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast will kickstart 2015 Samsung Galaxy CT season - an extremely important venue where 50% of the victors over the past decade have gone on to win that year’s world title.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), reigning WSL Champion and defending Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, posted an historic victory last season in December, edging out an international field of extraordinary talent to claim the world surfing crown - the first Brazilian ever to do so. The young Brazilian has been honing his fitness in his native Brazil as well as engaging in strategic surf training in Santa Barbara, California and on the North Shore of Oahu en route to Australia to commence his maiden title defense.
Medina will face rookie compatriot Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) and either the event wildcard or the winner of the trials in Round 1 of competition.
Mick Fanning (AUS) and Kelly Slater (USA), three-time and 11-time world champions respectively, put on a spirited battle for the crown in 2014, sending the title race to the final event of the season at Pipeline. Although Fanning, 33, narrowly missed out on a fourth title, the lightning-fast Australian will enjoy the benefit of commencing the 2015 season at home on the Gold Coast. Slater, who recently turned 43, continues to redefine high performance with every heat as well as further cement his legacy as one of the greatest athletes of all time. However, after three consecutive years of near misses, will 2015 offer Slater an unprecedented 12th world surfing crown?
The men’s rookie class for the 2015 season includes Matt Banting (AUS), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW) and Ricardo Christie (NZL) with returning CT surfers Dusty Payne (HAW) and Glenn Hall (IRL) rejoining the world’s elite after a brief hiatus.
Dane Reynolds (USA), former CT surfer, has been announced as one of two wildcards for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. The remaining wildcard position will be determined via local trials to be held on February 27.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning six-time world champion, solidified her dynasty with a juggernaut performance in 2014, further approaching the all-time female title-holder record of seven, set by Layne Beachley (AUS) in 2006. The Gold Coast local commenced last year’s run with a hometown win at the season opener at Snapper Rocks and will look to do the same at the 2015 Roxy Pro Gold Coast.
Gilmore faces a returned-to-form Silvana Lima (BRA) and the winner of the Trials in the opening round of competition.
Tyler Wright (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) turned the 2014 women’s title race into the most exciting and hard-fought in the sport’s history and they’ll WSL Top 17 this season to challenge Gilmore for the No. 1 spot.
Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) serves as the sole rookie for the 2015 class, but she’ll be joined by returning CT surfers in the form of Lima and Sage Erickson (USA) who are both back after one season on the Qualifying Series (QS).
The Top 17 will be joined by the winner of the Trials for the 18-woman competitive field of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast.
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Ricardo Christie (ZAF)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), TBD
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), TBD
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kai Otton (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW), Johanne Defay (FRA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), TBD
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Coco Ho (HAW)