The WSL 2019 season returns next week with Championship Tour event number one taking place on the Gold Coast in Australia. The event window opens from April 3rd-13th and is held on the shores of Snapper Rocks.
Snapper Rocks always provides a great atmosphere in the water and on the shore, it really is a perfect location to start a new season of surfing. The wave itself usually produces small to medium size waves that provides everything from long tube rides or perfect right hand faces that gives surfers endless opportunities to carve all the way to Kirra.
Since 2009 Australians have dominated the podium, having one six of the ten last events held at Snapper Rocks and have won the previous three years. Julian Wilson was the most recent with a victory in 2018 and before him was Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson.
The 2018 WSL champ Gabriel Medina is ready to defend his title and is leading a long pack of Brazilians ready to pounce. Medina took out this event back in 2014 but has only made the finals once since his victory. Bad news for veteran Adriano de Sousa he will be out of this year's Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks after sustaining an injury but good news for QS qualify Jadson Andre who will be part of this year's event. Andre has surfed in three events on the QS in the past month and finishing 1st, 2nd and 2nd. The way Andre is surfing now you may easily see him on a podium at Snapper.
After taking last season off because of injury, both Kelly Slater and John john Florence will rejoin the group but are placed on CT injury wildcards for the 2019 season. Both surfers will take part in this year's Quiksilver Pro held in the Gold Coast. At 47 years old Slater will try again for another season, he has taking out the Quiksilver Pro three times in the past ten years. It been a while since Slater took out CT event but don't write him off at Snapper Rock after a very solid record over the years.
John John Florence is yet to win at Snapper, his best result was the semi final in 2017 when he bowed out against Matt Wilkinson. Florence will be itching to get back on podium after an interrupted 2018 will Snapper be where it begins?
The first event of the season is always hard to pick, with surfers struggling to find consistency straight off the bat. The competitive nature will still be there but like anything they will be finding their feet in the first few rounds. The WSL will again be different with surfers like Joel Parkinson calling it quits after a lustrous career and a new bunch of rookies and wildcards joining the group. Every year the rookies seem to be catching up to the elite surfers on tour so it wouldn't surprise me if a surfer like Griffin Colapinto who made the semis last year or Mikey Wright will cause an upset in the first event for the season.
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