TEAHUPO’O, Tahiti (Wednesday, August 28, 2019) - Today, Owen Wright (AUS) won the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o presented by Hurley Stop No. 7 of 11 on the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour (CT), in six-to-eight foot (2 - 2.5 metre) waves at the world-famous Teahupo’o reef pass. The rematch of the 2018 Tahiti Pro Final with Gabriel Medina (BRA) was one for the books with some of the best conditions since 2014.
Owen Wright (AUS) claimed his first event win in Tahiti after defeating Gabriel Medina (BRA), the two-time WSL Champion and defending Tahiti Pro winner. This is Wright’s first CT victory since the 2017 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast when the Australian inspired the world with his incredible comeback from a traumatic brain injury he suffered at Pipeline in 2015.
“I can’t be happier,” said Wright. “Gabby (Medina) was always going to be the toughest matchup and I had no priority and I snuck into those few on the inside. I tried to get as deep as possible and still make it. I teared up out there when the hooter went. I’ve been working hard and I am stoked to win.”
In a rematch of last year's Tahiti Pro Final, goofyfoots Wright and Medina battled once again at Teahupo'o but this time in heavy barrels. After a slow start, the heat turned into a barrel shoot-out at the twenty-minute mark and saw both surfers go wave for wave. Medina broke away with a 7.83 (out of a possible 10) and backed it up with a second 7-point ride, but Wright fought back with his own 7.73, only needing a 7.21 to win with eight minutes left. Under priority, Wright scored a near-perfect 9.17 to steal the title from Medina.
“I said I really wanted Gabby in the Final just to have that rematch and it was such a special time last year,” continued Wright. “The waves were just so perfect and to share that with a great mate was really special. When you come out here and in your first heat you get a 10, it makes things feel like things are coming. I haven’t won since Snapper and it has been so long. I won so early back then in my recovery and it has been so up-and-down and it has finally felt up and up and up in the last few months. I’ve tried to win this event a lot of times and it is amazing to finally get that today.”
Medina was not able to defend his title in Tahiti but still has the opportunity to defend his win at the Freshwater Pro pres. by Outerknown, the next stop on the WSL Championship Tour. The second-place finish vaults him up to fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard and another step closer to a third World Title.
“Owen (Wright) really deserved that one,” said Medina. “He started the day off with a 10-point ride and when someone starts like that, I think you feel like it is going to go your way. I am happy for him and stoked to be in the Final against him again. Last year it was me and today he got me. I love to compete against him, he is one of the best so it was good to get second to Owen.”
“I have to enjoy the momentum,” continued Medina. “It is hard to get the rhythm but now I feel like I am there. The win in J-Bay felt good and I think that will help me at the end of the year. Now I am just thinking about the wave pool. I cannot wait. I just want to thank God for the opportunity to have another Final with my great friend. This contest was unbelievable.”
Rookie Seth Moniz (HAW) captured his career-best performance today after making the Semifinals. Although the 22-year-old fell to runner-up Medina, he showcased his talents in heavy-water conditions in his freshman year on the elite CT. Moniz eliminated injury replacement Caio Ibelli (BRA), who sat right on the requalification cut-line before this event. Ibelli now moves up to 18th on the Jeep Leaderboard and betters his chances of qualifying for the 2020 CT next season after falling short last year.
Jordy Smith (ZAF) lost to Wright in the Semifinals. Earlier today Smith dispatched 2015 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) to claim a third-place result, which moves him up to World No. 2 on the Jeep Leaderboard. The earlier eliminations of Top 5 competitors Kolohe Andino (USA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) and Italo Ferreira (BRA) opened the door for Smith to strengthen his World Title campaign.
Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Final Results:
1 - Owen Wright (AUS) 17.07
2 - Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.93
Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Quarterfinal Results:
SF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 15.67 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.66
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.16 def. Seth Moniz (HAW) 7.43
Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 19.07 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 16.67
QF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.06 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 8.67
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.77 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 2.50
QF 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) 15.60 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.83
Current WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 10 (after Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o pres. by Hurley)
Filipe Toledo (BRA) 36,600 pts
Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,450 pts
Kolohe Andino (USA) 35,175 pts
Gabriel Medina (BRA) 34,695
John John Florence (HAW) 32,690 pts
Italo Ferreira (BRA) 31,280 pts
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 30,780 pts
Owen Wright (AUS) 27,365 pts
Seth Moniz (HAW) 22,885 pts
Kelly Slater (USA) 22,385 pts
2019 Mercedes-Benz SA Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City gets going in tough onshore surf.
After gathering at an enthusiastic Opening Function on Tuesday August 20th surfers in the 2019 Mercedes–Benz South African Surfing Championships hosted by Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality got down to business on Day One of the event at Nahoon Reef today (Wednesday August 21st).
Early morning conditions were excellent but by midday the wind had turned onshore and the surf had deteriorated.
Despite the onshore surf, a handful of surfers posted some excellent scores with Tyrell Johnson (Buffalo City Surfriders), the standout. His heat total of 17 points out of a possible 20 in the Over 35 Division was the highest on the day and he became the first recipient of a set of Mach fins. The surfer with the highest heat score on each day of competition wins a set of these performance surfboard fins.
The next highest score was 16 out of 20 which was posted by defending South African Women’s Champion and National Team member Zoe Steyn (Buffalo City Surfriders) while Jake Elkington (Cape Town Surfriders) 15 out of 20 was the third highest score on the day.
Also showing his mettle in the tricky surf was Joshe Faulkner (Nelson Mandela Bay Surfriders) whose 8 point ride and 12,67 was the fourth highest heat score on Day One of the 54th South African Surfing Championships.
Other surfers to win their Open Division heats were Liam de Villiers ( iLembe Surfriders), Bryce du Preez, Tyrell Johnson and Devyn Mattheys (all Buffalo City Surfriders), Simo Mkhize (Ugu Surfriders), as well as Paul Sampson and Ethan Fletcher (both Cape Town Surfriders).
Joining Zoe Steyn in the Open Women’s Division winners enclosure were eight time South African Champion Heather Clark (Ugu Surfriders), Aimee du Preez ( Buffalo City Surfriders) and National Junior Team member Kayla Nogueira (eThekweni Surfriders).
Tyrell Johnson, his brother Orrin, Buffalo City Surfrider’s teammate Devyn Mattheys and Ryan Halkett (Cape Town Surfriders) all won their first round heats in the Over 35 Division.
Conditions are expected to improve dramatically on Day Two of the Championship which will end with the presentation of all nine division Finals on Sunday August 25th.
The Mercedes–Benz SA Championships hosted by Buffalo City is the premier event on the Surfing South Africa calendar and features surfers in the Open Men’s and Women’s Divisions as well seven other age groups ranging from Over 30 to Over 60.
Over the 54 years that organised surf contests have taken place in South Africa, the powerful right handed Nahoon Reef waves have been the venue for numerous iconic South African Surfing Championships as well as the 1978 ISA World Surfing Championships and two Gunston 500’s.
The annual South African Championships is one of the longest running surfing tournaments in the World and Buffalo City has hosted more National Championships than any other in South Africa.
This is the third year in a row that Mercedes–Benz and Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality have partnered with Surfing South Africa to showcase South Africa’s surfing talent, crown nine new South African Champions and determine which team will win the coveted Presidents Cup, the Masters Cup and the Champions Trophy.
The support of these two iconic brands extends to the National Surfing Team which travels to the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan on September 2 in an attempt to qualify South African surfers for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
All of Day one’s heat results and the rest of the week’s rounds are posted on www.liveheats.com/surfingsouthafrica
Once logged into www.liveheats.com/surfingsouthafrica anyone with a smart phone, laptop or PC will be able to view real time scores in every heat through each round.
Daily results and photos are posted on Surfing South Africa’s Facebook page, Surfing SA.
The 2018 Mercedes–Benz South African Surfing Championships are hosted by Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality and supported by Sport and Recreation SA.
The event is presented by Surfing South Africa in association with the Buffalo City Surfriders and produced by Accelerate Marketing.