The WSL Shuts Down Pro Surfing, So Snapper Should Be Crowdless, Right? Plus the Best of Steph Gilmore and Ryan Callinan's Banger Highlights Clip

13 Mar 2020 1 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Photo: WSL/Gilmore

Photo: WSL/Gilmore


Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was March 13 2020

1. Covid-19 Killed the CT (For A Little Bit At the Very Least)

Tom Hanks, Peter Dutton, the Corona Open Gold Coast... this virus knows no bounds. As you probably know by now, the WSL announced on Friday morning that the Corona Open Gold Coast has been cancelled, alongside all WSL events of all forms and levels for the month of March.

Will Bells go ahead? If I were a betting man, which I am, I would bet that it won't. But for the timebeing the WSL will monitor that situation as it evolves. To read more about the details ofthis story, head to our news piece here, and read Nick Carroll's musings and what this could mean going forward here.

This is shitty news, obviously, but ultimately the right call by the WSL, and we imagine it wouldn't have been too easy of one to make. The ramifications for the World Title race and the sport of surfing here are massive, but ultimately I'm thinking first of all the people that would have been employed by these events – from commentators, to security, to the people who put up the event scaffolding – and how rough that lost income is going to be over the next month for them. The CT is bigger than pro surfers and webcast, it's those people behind the scenes that bring it all together doing the smaller jobs that will feel this the most. And that sucks.

The worst part (in regards to pro surfing) is we just have no idea how long this will go on for. Bells? Margarets? Will we have any World Title surfing this year at all? Your guess is as good as mine.

The good news in all this is that as it is no longer appropriate for people to form crowds anywhere, Snapper should be relatively empty the next few weeks, right?

2. Weekly QS Update – Jules Takes Newy, Leo Takes Manly

While all events have been canned for the timebeing, the events that were already running are a go till they wrap, including the first QS 10,000 Challenger Series event – The Sydney Surf Pro at Manly.

With two Aussies in the men's and women's finals, it was a shame that neither won, with current World Champ Carissa Moore beating Tyler Wright (that's a six World Title heat!) and Leo Fioravanti clutch stomping an air to snatch the win from Matt Banting.

Leo dedicated the win to his home nation of Italy, who have been going through the effects of the Corona Virus quite drastically this week.

Banting went into the event ninth on the QS rankings after winning the Avoca comp 3000 event and claiming a 5th in Newy. This result will likely catapult him to the top of the QS rankings, and put him in a position that will make not qualifying for the 2021 CT unlikely – particularly as the WSL goes into limbo and we don't know just how many events will run or not through the rest of the year.

The Sydney Surf Pro followed immediately after the less valuable but still pretty presigous Newcastle Surfest, which saw the very rare event of a tied final. Julian Wilson and Ryan Callinan tied on scores of 14.27, the win awarded to Julian for having the highest single wave score in a heat. On the women's side Bronte Macaulay took down Macy Callaghan for the win.

3. R-Cal Dopped This Fire Edit

Also on fire in the last two QS events has been Merewether's Ryan Callinan, who dropped this fire highlights of 2019 clip this week. What an absolute crying shame the CT is on hold while everyone's favourite dude is ripping the bag with such aplomb right now. It sucks.

4. Snake Tales Merewether

And speaking of Merewether, it's time for another episode Pipe Master Jake Paterson's QS YouTube series, SnakeTales. Always a good time.

5. My Favourite Thing To Ever Happen

Imagine having the audacity to surf in a comp area and then try and push over one of the competitors in said comp as you both rode a wave. Like, however you feel about comps in general, whatever, but to be the kinda person that just takes it into your own hands like this? Amazing. 2020 is bonkers.

6. People Watching at the Volcom Pipe Pro

Yet another of these candid, fly on the wall mic on the collar web series. And, yet again, it's really good. This one is by the team from Red Bull and takes in the best comp that's not a CT, the Volcom Pipe Pro.

7. Courtney Conlogue Sound Waves At Huntington

When something in surfing content is popular, you better believe there will be a million different types of it coming out at once. Here's WSL's very good Sound Waves series again, this week giving us perennial World Title challenger Courtney Conlogue as she competes at the US Open last year, as well as putting on her first ever art show.

8. Bethany Hamilton is Going For the CT

One of the most mainstream-famous surfers on the planet made this surprise announcement this week while touring through Australia her documentary, Unstoppable. Bethany Hamilton is fircken gonna have a go at qualifying for the 2021 CT, committing to a full on year on the WSL QS.

“I think a lot of people think I’m just here in Australia doing film promotion,” said Bethany. “But my number one reason for being here is to compete. I’m so excited to be back competing and to be back putting a real focus on it. It’s my goal to qualify this year.

“I feel like I’m surfing better than ever, and I think I could do well on the World Tour. It would be so amazing to be a part of it.”

Unfortunately Hamitlon started off her campaign losing in Round 3 of the Sydney Surf Pro, but make no mistake, her competitive surfing pedigree is up there with the world's best. For a reminder of that, let's rewatch her highlights from 2016 in Fiji, where she iced Tyler Wright and finished 3rd.

9. The Best of Steph Gilmore

Is Steph Gilmore your favourite surfer? If I had a favourite surfer, I reckon she'd be it. Who better exemplifies the duel worlds of professional competitive surfing and the free-wheeling spirit of riding waves for the fun of it, while doing it at the highest, most unbeatable level? No-one. Here's the WSL's log of all her best waves in her time on the WSL CT.

10. Sierra Kerr in the Ments

Sierra Kerr is only 12 years old and she is already better than 99% of surfers in the world. That 99% is a guess, but I reckon it's a conservative guess if anything. Just how good is she going go get?

And that was this week in surfing. Have a safe weekend everyone. 

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