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Challengers and Champions Descend on Snapper Rocks Ahead of Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro

Competitors have descended on Snapper Rocks ahead of the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro presented by GWM, Stop No. 1 of the 2023 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series. It’s set to be a massive week of competition with the world’s best up-and-coming competitors starting their campaigns to qualify for the elite Championship Tour in 2024 on the long, ruler edge walls of Snapper Rocks, one of the most high-performance, perfect waves on the planet.

Pictured: Competitors at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro Presented by GWM official press conference today. [Pictured Left to Right] Kolohe Andino (USA), Morgan Cibilic (AUS), Mateus Herdy (BRA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Teresa Bonvalot (POR), and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). Credit: © WSL / Miers

Following the CT's Mid-season Cut, the Challenger Series will feature competitors hoping to return to the elite CT in 2024 and new faces looking to achieve their dreams and qualify for the first time. At the season's end, the Top 10 men and Top 5 women on the Challenger Series rankings will qualify for the 2024 Championship Tour season. Out of the six Challenger Series competitions, only the top four results will count toward their end-of-year rankings.

Championship Tour Hopefuls and World Champions Arrive on Gold Coast Ahead of Challenger Series Season Opener

The 2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro has attracted some of surfing’s biggest names, with the headline act being none other than reigning 8x World Champion and Snapper Rocks local Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). Gilmore is fresh off a Quarterfinal finish at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, which saved her spot above the Mid-season Cut. With six major event wins already at Snapper Rocks, she looks to be the woman to beat this week on her home turf. “It feels great to be home and coming down the hill to compete,” Gilmore said. “Competing at this spot is a massive part of my life, so it would feel strange not to do it. Surfing these Challenger Series events is such a great way to keep your competitive IQ up. There are four-person heats against some of the hungriest young competitors, and the talent levels are super high, so it’s no walk in the park, and it’s a great test. The fact that Snapper will have good waves with no one out is just a bonus. The forecast looks really good for the second half of the window, so it should be a great event.” Gilmore isn’t the only big-name CT veteran competing at Snapper Rocks, with competitors including Kolohe Andino (USA) and Boost Mobile Team Rider Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) recently falling short of the Mid-season Cut and finding themselves on the Challenger Series for the remainder of 2023. Both Andino and Fitzgibbons look forward to the new challenge of regaining a spot at the elite level and will look for a solid start on the Gold Coast, a location both have made the Finals in the past. “I’ve been coming here since I was a kid, and it’s one of my favorite spots in the world,” Andino said. “I’m looking forward to coming up against these kids and testing myself on the Challenger Series in a different format to what I’ve become accustomed to. There’s a bunch of young kids from near my home on this Series, and it’s cool being able to impart some of my knowledge with them both competitively and just about these locations that I’ve had a lot of experience at. It’s a new way of touring for me, and I’m enjoying it so far. There are fun waves, and a lot of my friends are here, so I’m just having fun.” The CT big names will have their work cut out for them with the massive field of future stars ready to make their mark on the Challenger Series, including former World Junior Champion Mateus Herdy (BRA), whose quick-fire progressive brand of surfing will be sure to suit the reeling ramps of Snapper Rocks. “I grew up watching all the movies that came out of the Gold Coast with Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson and all of the local crew, so to be here surfing this wave and competing at it is beyond a dream,” Herdy said. “It sounds like the waves are going to be really good next week, so I’m looking forward to putting on a show.” Portugal's Teresa Bonvalot (POR) missed out on CT qualification by one heat on last year's Challenger Series and hopes to use that heartbreak to spur her on this year, starting this week at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro. “Last year was really tough,” Bonvalot said. “I think everything happens for a reason, and I learned a lot from that, which is a good thing. I have also had the opportunity to compete in a few CT events this year as a wildcard, and seeing how it all works at that level has given me so much motivation to make it as a full-time competitor at that level.”

Pictured: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) looking right at home at Snapper Rocks and hoping for more conditions like this next week at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro. Credit: © WSL / DunbarSierra Kerr and Cooper Davies Win Local Trials To Book Spots in Main Event

Sierra Kerr (AUS) and Cooper Davies (AUS) have claimed victories in the Local Trials event at Snapper Rocks today. The pair had to overcome a field of 16 men and 16 women as 32 of Queensland's best non-Challenger Series surfers, including 26 Gold Coasters, battled in a one-day winner takes all event. Davies will take on Ketut Agus (INA), John Mark Tokong (PHL), and Ryan Kainalo (BRA) in Heat 4 of the men’s Round of 80. Kerr will come up against Zoe McDougall (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA), and Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) in the Opening Heat of the Women’s Round of 48.

Sierra Kerr and Lennix Smith Win Harvey Norman Pro Junior Event

Sierra Kerr and Lennix Smith took out the 2023 Harvey Norman Pro Junior event, culminating at Snapper Rocks this morning. The pair had to overcome a field of over 100 of Australia and Oceania's best 20-and-under surfers as they look to book a spot at the 2023 WSL World Junior Championships. For Smith, a previous Pro Junior event winner, it was his best result of the year as he continues to make up ground on the regional rankings. For rankings leader Kerr, it was her second Pro Junior event win of the season and a cherry on top, as she also won the Trials event and will now shift her focus to the Challenger Series events as she hopes to solidify her position as an all-out superstar of the future. “I'm so stoked to win both of these events today," Kerr said. "I had such a good time at the World Juniors this year I'd really like to go back, and this win will be important in getting me back there. As for the Trials win, I can't wait to compete at the Challenger Series level again. I've learned a lot since last year and am frothing to go further this year.”

The WSL Tours and Competition team will convene tomorrow, Saturday, May 6, at 7:15 a.m. AEST to decide if the competition will be called on for off for its opening day. Tune into the LIVE Dawn Patrol Show at 7:00 a.m. AEST on

2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro pres. by GWM Men's Round of 80 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Jarvis Earle (AUS) vs. Jabe Swierkocki (USA) vs. Kian Martin (SWE) vs. Hiroto Ohhara (JPN)

HEAT 2: Eli Hanneman (HAW) vs. Adin Masencamp (RSA) vs. Billy Stairmand (NZL) vs. Josh Burke (BRB)

HEAT 3: Luke Thompson (RSA) vs. Daiki Tanaka (JPN) vs. George Pittar (AUS) vs. Sheldon Simkus (AUS)

HEAT 4: Ketut Agus (INA) vs. John Mark Tokong (PHL) vs. Ryan Kainalo (BRA) vs. Cooper Davies (AUS)

HEAT 5: Miguel Tudela (PER) vs. Connor Slijpen (RSA) vs. Shion Crawford (HAW) vs. Guillermo Satt (CHL)

HEAT 6: Ian Gouveia (BRA) vs. Tiago Carrique (FRA) vs. Marc Lacomare (FRA) vs. Dimitri Poulos (USA)

HEAT 7: Jackson Bunch (HAW) vs. Joshua Moniz (HAW) vs. Daniel Emslie (RSA) vs. Brodi Sale (HAW)

HEAT 8: Oney Anwar (INA) vs. Alister Reginato (AUS) vs. Rafael Teixeira (BRA) vs. Leo Casal (BRA)

2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro pres. by GWM Men's Round of 64 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Lucas Silveira (BRA)

HEAT 2: Jake Marshall (USA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS) vs. Kade Matson (USA)

HEAT 3: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) vs. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) vs. Te Kehukehu Butler (NZL)

HEAT 4: Callum Robson (AUS) vs. Frederico Morais (POR) vs. Evan Geiselman (USA)

HEAT 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Mikey McDonagh (AUS)

HEAT 6: Jackson Baker (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Adur Amatriain (EUK)

HEAT 7: Carlos Munoz (CRC) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS)

HEAT 8: Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Joel Vaughan (AUS) vs. Jett Schilling (USA)

HEAT 9: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Kalani Ball (AUS) vs. Timothe Bisso (FRA)

HEAT 10: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Dylan Moffat (AUS) vs. Marco Mignot (FRA)

HEAT 11: Samuel Pupo (BRA) vs. Edgard Groggia (BRA) vs. Justin Becret (FRA)

HEAT 12: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Lucca Mesinas (PER) vs. Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)

HEAT 13: Rio Waida (INA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA) vs. Kauli Vaast (FRA)

HEAT 14: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Eithan Osborne (USA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA)

HEAT 15: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) vs. Cole Houshmand (USA)

HEAT 16: Connor O'Leary (AUS) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)

2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro pres. by GWM Women's Round of 64 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Zoe McDougall (HAW) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA) vs. Puamakamae DeSoto (HAW) vs. Sierra Kerr (AUS)

HEAT 2: Ariane Ochoa (EUK) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Dominic Barona (ECU) vs. Nyxie Ryan (AUS)

HEAT 3: Daniella Rosas (PER) vs. Moana Jones Wong (HAW) vs. Bella Kenworthy (USA) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)

HEAT 4: Minami Nonaka (JPN) vs. Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) vs. Ellie Harrison (AUS) vs. Kirra Pinkerton (USA)

HEAT 5: Tessa Thyssen (FRA) vs. Zoe Benedetto (USA) vs. Sol Aguirre (PER) vs. Sara Wakita (JPN)

HEAT 6: Leilani McGonagle (CRC) vs. Francisca Veselko (POR) vs. Anon Matsuoka (JPN) vs. Carolina Mendes (POR)

HEAT 7: Yolanda Hopkins (POR) vs. Kobie Enright (AUS) vs. Eweleiula Wong (HAW) vs. Ella McCaffray (USA)

HEAT 8: Zahli Kelly (AUS) vs. Natasha Van Greunen (RSA) vs. Jessie Van Niekerk (RSA) vs. Erin Brooks (CAN)

2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro pres. by GWM Women's Round of 32 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Mia Huppatz (AUS)

HEAT 2: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

HEAT 3: Sophie McCulloch (AUS) vs. India Robinson (AUS)

HEAT 4: Macy Callaghan (AUS) vs. Sarah Baum (RSA)

HEAT 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)

HEAT 6: Alyssa Spencer (USA) vs. Vahine Fierro (FRA)

HEAT 7: Teresa Bonvalot (POR) vs. Luana Silva (BRA)

HEAT 8: Isabella Nichols (AUS) vs. Sawyer Lindblad (USA)

*The remaining Heats (9 - 16) will be determined by the Round of 64 Results


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