WSL PRESS RELEASE
LEMOORE, Calif./USA (Friday, May 4, 2018) – The World Surf League (WSL) is set to make history this weekend, May 5 and 6, at the Founders’ Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold. This event marks a revolution to the sport of surfing, while also celebrating the original Founders.
The WSL Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California tomorrow opens the gateway to extremely new heights and innovation, all of which will be seen starting at 8:00 a.m. PST. Nationwide, fans can watch the Founders’ Cup live on CBS from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. PST (2 p.m. – 3 p.m. EST); and the entire event live-streamed across new WSL partner, Turner Sports’ Bleacher Report Live, and on WSL platforms, WorldSurfLeague.com and the WSL app. Globally, the WSL’s Facebook page will live stream the event, and the event will be broadcast on television in more than 100 countries.
Australia Team Captain and six-time WSL Champion, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) leads the team that includes surfing’s most decorated champions. The Aussies are excited about the team dynamic that this event presents as it brings them together more than ever in hopes of achieving bragging rights as the world’s best team. Australia Team will surf at 9:50 a.m. PST.
“This is a historic event for all of us,” Gilmore said. “To be a captain ahead of somebody like Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Matt Wilkinson, and Tyler Wright, current World Champion, it’s really an honor. For it to be a mixed-gender event is really special. I think it’ll show how much we enjoy competing together and just the comradery between all of us. To have an event here, with everyone, will be awesome, and we can’t wait to show what Australia can do.”
But, while Australia has 11 World Titles amongst them, USA Team claims 16 – although, 11 of them belong to team captain and WSL Surf Ranch innovator Kelly Slater. Slater is joined by a lethal force of power and progression from back-to-back WSL Champion John John Florence to Kolohe Andino to California’s newest World Title contender Lakey Peterson. The USA Team will surf at 11:10 a.m. PST, where US fans can watch the live broadcast on CBS.
“The interest and excitement around this event and the WSL Surf Ranch is unlike anything I’ve seen in my career as a pro surfer,” Slater said. “It’s super fun, everyone who surfs it has a great time. The pros have all been shredding in this wave and love it, they can’t get enough of it. We’re looking forward to getting some waves under our belts and then really pushing it in later rounds. I’m really proud. It’s been a fun and exciting week for me and all of us.”
Brazil’s dominance over the sport of surfing in the last few years has been influential, and it was Adriano de Souza. who truly paved the wave for their current stars. The 2015 WSL Champion began his career as a Championship Tour (CT) competitor over ten years ago and now represents his country proudly alongside some of the world’s most innovative surfers — including 2014 WSL Champion and Team Captain Gabriel Medina, Silvana Lima and Filipe Toledo. But, among seasoned veterans, 16-year-old Taina Hinckel looks to further her World Junior Championship success on the main stage.
“Brazil has such a passion for surfing, so this is great to represent our country,” De Souza said. “I’m really proud to have guys like Gabriel [Medina] and Filipe [Toledo], who got first and second at the Test event last year. I have so much respect for all the surfers competing here and I just want to go out and do my best. It will be a new experience for everyone to work with a team, and we have a 16-year-old Taina (Hinckel) on our team, so this will be a great experience for her to watch some of the world’s best right here. It will be very exciting for us to surf in an area so different to us, but I’m going to enjoy it a lot.”
Johanne Defay (FRA) will lead Europe Team into the arena for weekend action as they vie for their spot at the top. Defay is joined by fellow Reunion Island surfer Jeremy Flores (FRA), Portugal’s top competitor Frederico Morais (PRT), Italy’s most prominent talent Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA), and a Californian, who charges the likes of Tahiti’s famed Teahupoo, representing her German heritage Frankie Harrer (DEU).
“It’s really cool to have the feeling of just sharing more and it’s a privilege to be a part of,” Defay said. “I was kind of surprised be the Captain of guys like Jeremy [Flores] just because they’re so good. But, having Germany and Italy surfers is so nice to see everyone, and this is exactly what the wave pool is all about: getting the opportunity for all the countries in the world to surf. It’s more about sharing and supporting your teammates, which I really like.”
Representing the global contingent with the World Team is Captain Jordy Smith (ZAF). Smith is joined by an elite group of powerful and progressive surfers that have plenty in their resume to be a serious threat at the Founders’ Cup of Surfing, starting at 9:10 a.m. PST.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment just to get to this point and a huge thank you to everyone that’s been a part of this,” Smith said. “It’s a massive responsibility to be captaining World Team. Not only am I representing my own country, but multiple countries, and I think we’ll definitely have enough support, which will be great. I’m really looking forward to competing with the team and seeing how we go.”
Founders’ Cup of Surfing Qualifying Leaderboard Run 1 Order:
Brasil Team – 8:30 a.m. PST:
Adriano de Souza
World Team – 9:10 a.m. PST:
Australia Team – 9:50 a.m. PST:
Europe Team – 10:30 a.m. PST:
USA Team – 11:10 a.m. PST:
John John Florence
Thanks to Our Partners
Thanks to presenting partner Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold, fans can enjoy great views of the competition from the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Impact Zone at the North End of the pool. Share your stoke with the perfect selfie, free giveaways, and an ice cold Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold. Or, if you’re looking for a place to cool off in between waves, head over to the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Breaker Bar at the South end of Perkins Lake near Partner Village to catch some shade, more free giveaways, games and more.
Take an adventure with Jeep® Ambassadors Jordy Smith and Malia Manuel in the new “Jeep Sessions: A Surfing Journey in 360°,” which will be featured in Jeep® brand’s Virtual Reality activation located in the Partner Village. Jeep Ambassadors Jordy Smith and Tyler Wright will be stopping by the activation for a meet & greet / signing session.
T-Mobile is setting up the Un-carrier Lounge in the heart of the WSL Surf Ranch, with great views of the competition, a phone charging bar, and custom giveaways. The carrier is also the presenting partner of the in-broadcast Barrel timer and “Dialed Moments” series, featuring Founders’ Cup athletes’ previous best rides on Kelly Slater’s wave.
Stop by the Quiksilver tent in Partner Village to check out the latest in boardshorts and gear, get a free hat, and enter for a chance to win a $500 gift card.
LifeProof will be bringing out their full suite of products including their FRĒ Cases, AQ9 Speakers, Battery Packs, Charging Cables, and New Backpacks.
WSL PURE, the WSL’s non-profit ocean conservation program, will promote its NGO partner Surfrider Foundation onsite in Lemoore with the Founders and through the event broadcast.
About WSL Surf Ranch
The WSL Surf Ranch facility, which was revealed online to the public in December 2015, boasts the best man-made wave in history – a 700-yard, high-performance, bi-directional wave featuring barrel sections and maneuver sections. Primarily existing as a testing facility, the Lemoore site has spent the past two years dialing in the technology under the guidance of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and feedback from visiting WSL surfers. A private test event last September proved very successful, paving the way for the Founders’ Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold to be the first time the public will be allowed onto the grounds.
For more information, please visit WSLFoundersCup.com.