Reigning World Champions Carissa Moore (HAW) and Adriano de Souza (BRA) were joined by a selection of their Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT) peers at the 2016 season launching press session for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro presented by BOQ in Coolangatta.
Moore claimed her third World Championship in spectacular fashion at the last event of the 2015 season and has spent the last few months celebrating, training and focusing on defending her crown. Moore won an incredible four out of 10 events on last year’s CT, the first of which was right here on the Gold Coast.
“I really happy to be back on the Gold Coast with a clean slate,” Moore said. “I love this place! Everyone’s got a really great energy, everyone gets behind the event. Hopefully we get some good waves and we can put on a show. I just really want to continue to be passionate, and enthusiastic and surf with my heart and put on good performances.”
De Souza is heading out at the Quiksilver Pro in unfamiliar territory as reigning World Champion. This season will be his 10th among the elite on CT and will see him hit the water in the coveted WSL Jeep Ratings’ Leader Yellow Jersey.
“I don’t feel like I’m number one,” De Souza said. “I definitely feel comfortable and confident leading into the first event, but I don’t feel like I’m above everyone else. Last year was the best year of my life with what I achieved, but this year is just another year, hopefully it can be similar to the last one.”
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be one of the only events that three-time World Champion Mick Fanning will compete in this year as he plans to take a personal year for 2016. However this will not affect the way the former event winner and Coolangatta local will approach the competition as the always determined Fanning eyes of the win.
“Definitely a different perspective on this season’s event with the personal year, but if I’m here, I’m here to win,” Fanning said. “We’ve had an incredible run of swell, maybe the best the bank has ever been. It’s different, but I’m feeling good. I have a goal to requalify this year and I’m certainly motivated to perform at home.”
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time World Champion sat out most of the 2015 CT due to a knee injury suffered free-surfing in WA, but will return to fighting fit form at her home break this week.
“I’ve had enough time off and now I’m ready to get back to work,” Gilmore said. “I’m not trying to put pressure on myself about winning - I just want to put on a good performance that I’m happy with. I’ve been training hard and I’m feeling fitter than ever, but I also know the level of surfing on Tour has never been higher. It’s exciting.”
After a Quarterfinals berth at the 2015 Roxy Pro Gold Coast, World No. 2 Courtney Conlogue (USA) will be looking to go a few steps further at the 2016 event. The Californian has her sights set on claiming her maiden World Title after coming painfully close and missing out in 2015.
“It’s been great to process 2015 and recharge over the offseason,” Conlogue said. “We had great waves in California and I’m feeling really amped for the 2016 season. I have some great boards and can’t wait to get the event underway. Hopefully we get some good waves.”
The only rookie present at the press session was young super-star Kanoa Igarashi (USA) who will be paddling out at Snapper for the first time in a CT Jersey. Although there is no question he can perform on the big stage, Igarashi will have to come to terms with the fact that he will be surfing against his idols in every heat.
“I’m still coming to terms with all of this,” Igarashi said. “I’m a little nervous, but confident at the same time. My boards and body feel good so now I just need to get out there and give it my best. I think once the hooter goes for my first heat it will all start to sink in.”
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Trials also wrapped up today, with reigning World Junior Champion Isabella Nichols (AUS) winning a spot in Round 1 of the main event against Carissa Moore. Wade Carmichael (AUS) took out the men’s Trials,
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast will be webcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the WSL app.
The event is also being carried by our LIVE broadcast partners Fox Sports Australia, CBS Sports in the United States, ESPN Brasil, Globosat, Edgesport, Sky NZ, Sport TV, Canal + Deportes, Channel Nine, MCS, Starhub, and Oceanic Time Warner Cable 250 & 1250 in Hawaii.
For more information, log onto WorldSurfLeague.com (http://www.worldsurfleague.com)
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), Wade Carmichel (AUS)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA), Wade Carm
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Chelsea Tuach (BRB), Isabella Nichols (AUS)
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sage Erickson (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 6: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Michael Bradley Photography