Updated: Jun 11
MANLY BEACH, Sydney, NSW / Australia (Monday, May 23, 2022) - The GWM Sydney Surf Pro presented by Rip Curl, the second stop of the 2022 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS), has continued at Manly Beach today with some of the best conditions of the entire event for the early heats of the day with Manly delivering super clean two-to-three foot waves which provided the perfect canvas for some of the best performances of the event.
Before conditions deteriorated in the early afternoon, the event saw the completion of the men’s Round of 16 as well as the women’s Quarterfinals.
Rio Waida (IDN) and Michael Rodrigues (BRA) have been standouts all week at the GWM Sydney Surf Pro, both posting some of the highest scores of the event and both displaying incredible power, finesse and progression in their surfing.
The pair looked destined for Finals Day until they matched up with each other in the Round of 16. In the best conditions of the day, Rodrigues got the ball rolling, posting an 8.17 on his opening wave, then backing it up with a 9.50 shortly after.
With his back firmly against the wall, Waida needed something special if he was going to lock in a Quarterfinal berth here in Manly, and special is what he got, posting a 9.00 and an 8.80 on back-to-back rides, to take the lead and the heat win.
Both surfer’s set a massive standard of backhand surfing, both going upside down in the critical section to post the top two heat totals of the event so far, in the same heat, with the Indonesian getting the nod.
“I’m really happy to win through to the Quarterfinals,” Waida said. “When I saw the waves this morning, really clean and well shaped, I was confident I can win because I know I can score well in good waves. I’ll rest now and cheer on my fellow Indonesian Ketut Agus who surfs later today and I’ll be ready for finals day tomorrow.”
Continuing the trend set by Waida and Rodrigues in the heat prior, North Narrabeen local Jordy Lawler (AUS) and San Clemente’s Jett Schilling (USA) put on an incredible back and forth battle in their Round of 16 clash this morning. As Manly continued to dish-up incredible conditions, both surfers took to the air, each posting excellent single wave scores to ensure the battle would go down to the wire. Although Lawler landed one of the biggest aerials of the event, he fell short of raking the win, meaning he will need to wait another year before he can look for another win here at Manly. Schilling on the other hand has progressed into the Quarterfinals where he will take on good friend and fellow San Clementeian Kade Matson (USA), who is also assured a career best result here at Manly.
"I knew that would be a high scoring heat and that's how it played out - Jordy is a great surfer,” Schilling said. “The waves are really good and hopefully for tomorrow's finals day we get it this good again. This is definitely my best result so I'm stoked right now. I just want to keep it going.”
Women’s Semifinalists Decided at GWM Sydney Surf Pro
With the women’s Quarterfinals being run today at Manly, there are now only four competitors left in the draw who have a chance of hoisting the Harbor Bridge Trophy, and three of them have never won a major event in their careers. With Nikki van Dijk (AUS) claiming a win here in 2016, it will be up to Sophie McCulloch (AUS), Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) or Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) to take a maiden CS win here at Manly tomorrow.
While Bonvalot and Tomoda-Bannert have been posting some of the most impressive totals of the event, it was McCulloch who took the biggest win today, eliminating event favourite and current rankings leader Caitlin Simmers (USA) in their Quarterfinal matchup. Although Simmer’s took an epic win over fellow Californian Kirra Pinkerton (USA) in their Round of 16 heat where both competitors scored excellent heat totals, she was unable to repeat the dose against McCulloch who looked sharp on her backhand on her way to the heat win in deteriorating conditions.
“Semifinals is always better than Quarterfinals so I’m super happy with that win,” McCulloch said. “Caity (Simmers) has been on fire so it was always going to be a tough heat and it definitely was a grindy one. At the end of the day I just want to give my best effort and I feel like I did that today. I have made a couple of errors that I’d like to clean up come Finals Day but either way I’m stoked to be in the semis.”
Former Championship Tour Surfers Onto Finals Day
A handful of former CT competitors who are looking to requalify to the Championship Tour continued their run at Manly today with the likes of Deivid Silva (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), Imaikalani deVault (HAW) and Nikki van Dijk (AUS) all progressing through their heats. Van Dijk was the standout of this group, posting an excellent two-wave combination of 16.97 to overcome Californian up and comer Alyssa Spencer (USA) in the Quarterfinals. Van dijk is through to the Semifinals as she eyes off a second title here at Manly.
“Despite the rain and wind the waves were good out there and it was great to get through and make the Simi’s,” van Dijk said.
“Alyssa is a really good surfer and I was nervous going into that heat, especially after she opened the heat with an excellent 8 point ride, but I stuck to my plans, chose the right waves and managed to take the win.”
Stay tuned to American Surf Magazine for more updates.