Matt Wilkinson and Tyler Wright, Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast Champions, respectively, for emotional wins.
With and all the hype around Snapper’s Superbank prior to the event, the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast took center stage in world surfing over the last few days, as one of the most anticipated WSL events to date.
The surf for the 2016 Quik Pro didn’t reflect the previous month’s perfection, but there certainly wasn’t a shortage of waves with some of the world’s best surfers showcasing their talents in overhead surf. A drama filled event with many of the top seeds being eliminated in the earlier rounds, among them, an injury free Jordy Smith.
Injury replacement, and major standout, Stuart Kennedy blazed his way through the event from the get go. Riding the futuristic creations of shaper Dan Thomson, Stu showed his hunger to beat the world’s best and his surfing did the talking. Like a hot blade through the buttered walls of Snapper Rocks, Stu defeated some of contest surfing’s elite, including Kelly Slater who was sent to the spectator’s stand in Round 2.
Gabriel Medina was next to face the Lennox Head local, resulting in one of the best heats of the event, with both surfers earning rides in the excellent range. Medina surfed great, but great surfing wasn’t enough as the former world champ suffered a Round 3 loss to the blazing injury replacement. With a total of 18.8, Stu advanced to the next round while Medina looks toward a better result at Bells.
After missing qualification by one spot in 2015, Stu Kennedy has a fire burning. It’s happened with many surfers in the past and will happen again – an underdog with a chance, sticking it to the world’s best.
The Australian’s dreams of a Quiksilver Pro title ended after his Semi Final match up against Kolohe Andino (USA). Their heat was a nail biter, with hardly anything separating the two as they both went wave for wave. By the time the final buzzer sounded, Andino narrowly clinched a spot in the Finals, beating Stu Kennedy’s two wave total by a fraction of a score – 0.03.
A focused Kolohe Andino had a great run throughout the event.
Goofy footed Matt Wilkinson showed class all day, definitely the stand out backside surfer. Full of commitment down the line at Snapper, Wilko came sprinting out the gates with a convincing win in the Quarter Finals over 2015 WSL World Champion, Adriano de Souza (BRA), leading Wilko to the heat of the contest.
Filipe Toledo, 2015 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, had looked like the in form surfer leading up to the Semis, showing no signs of slowing down whatsoever until the unfortunate mistimed landing of an air reverse that could have changed the outcome of the event. Felipe opened his second wave of the Quarter Final match-up with a huge hit at the top of the point, linked a few turns, found the launch pad on the inside, and over rotated, landing awkwardly.
With half a heat still left, it was evident that the wobbly landing had taken its toll on the defending champ and Filipe could only grimace in pain as Wilko did what he does best, smash lips and win heats.
A misplaced landing in the Quater Finals resulted in injury for Filipe Toledo
The women of the Roxy Pro took to their final heats at Snapper Rocks, blessed with flawless surf. Tyler Wright was the lady on form after defeating event favourite Stephanie Gilmore in the Quarter Finals. In her final heat, Tyler had to overcome the surfing ability of Courtney Conlogue (USA). A close exchange of scores between both women came down to their last few waves with Tyler dropping an 8.17 and a 6.5 on her final two rides, becoming the 2016 Roxy Pro Women’s Champion.
Highlights from the Roxy Pro Final
Tyler Wright, 2016 Roxy Pro Champion
Kolohe and Wilko took to the Final with playful head high waves rolling down the sand bottom point. From his first wave, Wilko showed he wasn’t playing games, blasting a series of well timed backside manoeuvres, which were rewarded with an 8.6 from the judges with 20 minutes still remaining to secure a back-up score.
Wilko belted the lip all event on his backside.
Both surfers went blow for blow, Kolohe opting for the inside nuggets, Wilko keeping patient, waiting out the back for the set waves. With a couple of minutes left on the clock, a flurry of waves left both surfers standing on the beach, waiting, as judges locked in their scores for the final two waves rides of the event.
Highlights from the Quiksilver Pro Final 2016.
With both surfers looking anxious, waiting for the final scores to come in, the commentator finally announced that Matt Wilkinson has done enough to win the event, sending a look of complete surprise over his face while the crowd erupted. Matt Wilkinson got the cheque, the trophy and is crowned as the 2016 Quiksilver Pro Champion with a champagne shower!
2016 Quiksilver Pro Champion Matt Wilkinson