PUNTA ROCA, La Libertad, El Salvador (Friday, June 17, 2022) -Today, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Griffin Colapinto (USA) won the Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona, Stop No. 7 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2022 Championship Tour (CT).
The Champs of Surf City. Photo: WSL/ Pat Nolan
The competition finished the Semifinals and Finals in three-to-five foot waves at the famed right-hand pointbreak called Punta Roca, also known as La Punta or Punta Chilama.
With their victories today, Gilmore and Colaptinto both move into the WSL Final 5 on the road to the Rip Curl WSL Finals. Seven-time World Champion Gilmore’s win marks her 33rd CT victory, breaking her own record for most women's CT wins.
Gilmore Makes History Again, Breaks Her Own Record With 33rd CT Win
To capture her 33rd CT victory, Gilmore defeated Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Final, Caroline Marks (USA) in the Semifinals, and Isabella Nichols (AUS) in the Quarterfinals.
The seven-time World Champion showcased incredible surfing throughout the event and capitalized on her affinity for right-hand point breaks.
Gilmore now moves up to the WSL Final 5 in third place from seventh, putting her campaign for her eighth World Title back on track.
“Muchas gracias, El Salvador, this is amazing,” said Gilmore. “Once I got past Caroline (Marks), I was super confident and I knew I could do it. Lakey (Peterson) is an amazing surfer, so I knew it was going to be a tough Final but it doesn’t get any better. I love doing this. I love winning, I love doing this sport. We get to travel and surf fun waves. That’s pura vida. I would love to win another World Title but it’s a long road. There’s a lot more competition to be surfed and a lot of hard work to do, but this is just an amazing experience and I’m so happy to be here.”
In the Final, Gilmore’s patience proved the difference to best Peterson.
The Final was slow to start, but Peterson got the first score of substance with a 6.67 (out of a possible 10).
Gilmore then posted a 7.33 inside the ten-minute mark.
Only needing to beat Peterson's 4.00 backup score, Gilmore locked in a 5.67 in the dying minutes of the Final to take the win.
Seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claims her 33rd CT win at the Surf City El Salvador Pro Presented by Corona. © WSL / Nolan
Lakey Peterson Breaks into WSL Final 5 on the Road to the Rip Curl WSL Finals
Peterson moves up one place from sixth to fifth with her runner-up finish and is only 1,280 points below Brisa Hennessy (CRI).
The American has come close to winning the World Title multiple times in her career but had to withdraw for a majority of the season in 2021 due to a back injury.
This is the first year that Peterson has been in the newly formatted World Title race with the one-day Rip Curl WSL Finals, and she will hope to close in on the WSL Final 5.
“It’s been amazing, thank you to everyone for letting us surf your wave," said Peterson. “El Salvador is a beautiful country. I’ve really loved exploring, surfing, meeting all the people, and the culture is really incredible here. It feels great to get back on the podium and get some momentum again. I love right-hand pointbreaks, so I was really happy to be here, and to share it with Steph (Gilmore) is always so special. I want to win a World Title and I love Lowers. I’m going to do everything in my power to get there and give it a good crack. There’s a lot of hard work (to be done) and this is a step in the right direction for me.”
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Lakey Peterson (USA) after the Final. © WSL / Nolan
Colapinto Rises to Toledo’s Near-Perfection for Second-Career CT Victory
Griffin Colapinto (USA) has solidified the best year of his professional surfing career with a second win on the CT in 2022.
Colapinto was a standout in the three days of competition and his prominence came to a crescendo in the dying minutes of the heat to overcome World No. 1 Filipe Toledo in the Final.
“It’s so crazy,” said Colapinto. “I was so baffled we were tied. I was just thinking it can’t end this way, I have to figure it out and comeback performances are what I dream of so if I’m in that position I just love it. Filipe (Toledo) and I have had some bouts, he got me at G-Land so I’m psyched to get him back here but he’s been surfing so good. On that 9.57 I just thought that’s Filipe doing his typical stuff. This Final feels better than Portugal so I’m just soaking it in.”
The men's Final lit up Punta Roca from start to finish with a toe-to-toe battle between Colapinto and Toledo.
Toledo applied pressure right out of the gates with a near-perfect 9.57 (out of a possible 10) before Colapinto responded in commanding form to earn a 9.00 of his own.
The battle of the backup scores then unfolded as Toledo garnered a solid 6.43 while Colapinto answered back again with a 7.00 to make it a tie, with the edge going to Toledo for his higher single-wave score. But, with three minutes remaining, Colapinto found a gem under priority and threw everything into it to earn an excellent 8.00 and his second-career CT victory.
Colaptino has his heart set on the Rip Curl WSL Finals in his hometown of San Clemente, where he just missed out by one place last year.
Now with this victory, the 23-year-old vaults to World No. 3 ahead of the Oi Rio Pro in Saquerema, Brazil.
Griffin Colapinto (USA) secures the second CT victory of his career after defeating Filipe Toledo (BRA) at Punta Roca in El Salvador. © WSL / Nolan
Toledo Retains Top Spot on World Rankings
Despite the loss the Colaptino, Toledo will retain the yellow jersey and top spot on the World Rankings heading into the next event in his home country of Brazil. As a three-time winner of the Oi Rio Pro, he will enter as the favorite and the Brazilian fans will undoubtedly be cheering him on throughout the competition.
“Thank you for all the support and love here,” said Toledo. “I feel great. I feel humbled to be in the position I’m in. It’s been quite a fun year and it feels nice to go back to Brazil and recharge my batteries, and try to win again. There’s a lot of work to do but so far so good. I’m stoked, so blessed to be here and thanks to my family, happy birthday mom, and thank you to my team for supporting me.”
Surf City El Salvador Pro Women’s Final Results:
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.00
2 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.67
Surf City El Salvador Pro Men’s Final Results:
1 - Griffin Colapinto (USA) 17.00
2 -Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.00
Surf City El Salvador Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.70 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 9.67
HEAT 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.50 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 9.84
Surf City El Salvador Pro Men’s Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.30 DEF. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.17
HEAT 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.10 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 13.20