Australia will launch a strong assault on the women’s title when the World Surf League (WSL) 2021 Championship Tour (CT) kicks off at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona next month.
Seven-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore is drawn to meet Johanne Defay (FRA) and fellow Aussie Bronte Macaulay first up, with all three competitors having won events at Merewether in the past.
Among the other “local” hopes are Sally Fitzgibbons, Nikki Van Dijk, Macy Callaghan, Tyler Wright, Keely Andrew, Isabella Nichols and Novocastrian Philippa Anderson, who is scheduled to meet Carissa Moore (HAW) and Sage Erickson (USA).
The competition window opens on Thursday 1 April and closes on Sunday 11 April.
For the first time in more than two decades, surfers will compete for World Title points in NSW and, for the first time in almost 30 years, they’ll be doing so in Newcastle, a city steeped in professional surfing history.
The Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona sees the WSL Championship Tour descend on Merewether Beach with exciting showdowns expected from the opening rounds.
The men’s draw is filled with possibilities, too, as five of the last seven Qualifying Series (QS) winners at Merewether will compete in this year’s CT tournament.
Injury replacements, and Aussie duo, Mikey Wright and Matt Banting will also come into consideration after replacing legend Kelly Slater and Kolohe Andino (USA), respectively, as the American duo recover from foot and ankle ailments.
Newcastle’s Ryan Callinan locks horns with Seth Moniz (HAW) and Adriano de Souza (BRA) to kickstart his campaign in home waters.
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona women’s round 1 match-ups:
- Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
- Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA), Tyler Wright (AUS), Keely Andrew (AUS)
- Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA), Philippa Anderson (AUS)
- Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
- Heat 5: Caroline Marks (USA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
- Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Isabella Nichols (AUS)
Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona men’s round 1 match-ups:
- Heat 1: Matt Banting (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS)
- Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Conner Coffin (USA), Deivid Silva (BRA)
- Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Morgan Cibilic (AUS)
- Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Yago Dora (BRA), Mikey Wright (AUS)
- Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Crosby Colapinto (USA)
- Heat 6: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Matthew McGillivray (ZAF), Jackson Butler (AUS)
- Heat 7: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
- Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
- Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
- Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS), Michel Bourez (FRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
- Heat 11: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Seth Moniz (HAW), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
- Heat 12: Jack Freestone (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Robinson (AUS)