Australian stalwart Sally Fitzgibbons has neglected the World Surf League’s mid-season lower for a 2d instantly 12 months after bowing out to white-hot American Caroline Marks within the quarter-finals of the Margaret River Pro.
The 32-year-old Fitzgibbons would have assured herself a place within the peak 10 had she complicated to the semi-finals at Margaret River. The former international No 1 made an excellent get started on Sunday, edging out younger American Caitlin Simmers within the spherical of 16. But Marks proved a bridge too some distance within the quarters, with the 21-year-old goofy-footer claiming a dominant 16.50 to 9.96 victory.
The information used to be higher for eight-time international champ Stephanie Gilmore, who locked in her top-10 slot via downing Hawaii’s Gabriela Bryan within the spherical of 16.
“Far out, it’s so stressful,” stated Gilmore, “o pass from profitable the name closing 12 months to being again at the bubble once more. Maybe it is a great little concept – sneak into tenth position, simply sneak into 5th and end No 1. I’m stoked to make the lower and there is some nice occasions after the lower.”
Later in the day, Gilmore lost her all-Australian quarter-final to Tyler Wright 14.36-9.84, but her chances of a record-extending ninth world title remain alive. Wright will be looking for successive victories after her Bells Beach title and will take on American Caroline Marks in the final four while Bronte Macaulay, who grew up in Gracetown right near Margaret River, will face Hawaiian Carissa Moore.
The top 22 men’s field was decided after their third round was completed on Saturday.
A round-of-16 berth was enough for Liam O’Brien, knocking out Kelly Slater on Saturday to cement his status. But that was as far as he got, beaten by Griffin Colapinto in a high-scoring heat, 15.1 to 14.06 on Sunday.
Tokyo Olympic champion Italo Ferreira again took to the air in his bid to take down Australia’s Bells Beach champion Ethan Ewing. But that wasn’t enough, his acrobatics trumped by the Stradbroke Island talent’s classic style, 15.3 to 13.3. Ewing faces two-time world champion John John Florence in the quarter-finals.
Sydney’s Connor O’Leary will join Ewing in the last eight, topping Yago Dora to set up a quarter-final against rankings leader Joao Chianca after the Brazilian pipped Callum Robson.
Meanwhile, eleven-time world champion Kelly Slater could afford a smile despite becoming the most high-profile victim of the World Surf League’s mid-season cut.
After all, the Florida great who owns the Surf Ranch that will host the next leg of the Championship Tour is no longer guaranteed a spot on.
Slater’s dramatic third-round loss to Australian Liam O’Brien at the Margaret River Pro on Saturday ended hopes of a surge from 26th into the top 22 who continue beyond the tour’s fifth stop.
But it might not be the end of Slater on the WSL main tour.
If he is handed regular wildcards he could still amass enough points to surge into the top five and vie for another world title at the end-of-season finals. And he owns Surf Ranch, the Californian wave park that will host the next event.
Slater has battled injuries since a momentous win at Pipeline last year just days before his 50th birthday. He can also win back his spot on the main tour for next year by either finishing in the top 10 of the second-tier Challenger Series, or receiving a main tour wildcard.
“Plans for my future? I want to get really barreled somewhere,” he stated of his subsequent transfer. “I do not know; I’ll determine it out. Let’s see how issues end up.
Organizers of the Margaret River Pro have known as for a lay day for Monday and Tuesday. With sturdy onshore winds forecast for the following two days, the following name on resuming festival will probably be made at 0715 native time (0915 AEST) on Wednesday.