The World Surf League (WSL) Final 5 are ready to battle it out in the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles, San Clemente, California, for the undisputed 2022 World Title. The one-day, winner-take-all competition will run on the best day of waves determined by the WSL Tours and Competition team between September 8 – 16, 2022.
The WSL Championship Tour (CT) is made up of a wide variety of highly competitive athletes and this years Rip Curl WSL Finals will see several new faces in Jack Robinson (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), and Brisa Hennessy (CRI) take the stage. Each one of these athletes has something new and exciting to bring and all eyes will be on them to see who rises to the top. But, a field of former WSL Final 5 competitors stand in their way.
Carissa Moore (HAW): Coming to the Rip Curl WSL Finals as the top seed for the women is reigning World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Carissa Moore. The five-time WSL World Champion has continued her winning form this year, starting the season with a 2nd place at the Billabong Pro Pipeline and later winning the Oi Rio Pro. Moore claimed her fifth World Title at the inaugural 2021 WSL Rip Curl Finals, and hopes to hold onto the title of World Champion for another year by unleashing her paradigm-shifting supply of power surfing here at Lower Trestles.
“I’m really grateful to be in this position to be here and have another opportunity, so I just want to give it my best and see what happens,” said Moore.
Filipe Toledo (BRA): A leader in the progressive surfing movement with massive moves, especially in the aerial realm, Filipe Toledo enters the Rip Curl WSL Finals as the top seed for the men after a standout CT season. Toledo was no stranger to the podium this season, winning the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and Oi Rio Pro, as well as finishing runner-up at the MEO Pro Portugal, Quiksilver Pro G-Land, and Surf City El Salvador Pro. In 2021 he came close to his ultimate goal of a World Title, making the Title Match against Gabriel Medina in the inaugural Rip Curl WSL Finals, but ultimately fell short and ended the year as World No. 2. He now returns this year eager for redemption
“I’m really happy to be back, really happy to be a part of the WSL Finals again,” said Toledo. “Last year, the first-ever Finals was pretty cool. A lot of expectations and what could happen, and it ended up being an amazing event and a record-breaking one. Blessed to be back here, to be back home with my family and friends, and do what I love to do which is surfing. I can’t wait.”
Johanne Defay (FRA): The second-highest seed for the women goes to Johanne Defay, who secured her spot in the WSL Final 5 with a win at the Roxy Pro G-Land and 2nd place at the Oi Rio Pro. This is Defay’s second appearance in the Rip Curl WSL Finals as she made the WSL Final 5 in 2021 but was eliminated in Match 3 by Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS). The Reunion Island surfer has been a leading crusader in the push for more progressive surfing and is sure to apply the pressure to her competitors here at Lower Trestles.
Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA): Also looking for redemption this year is Tatiana Weston-Webb, who finished last year as runner-up to Moore. One of the most confident surfers on tour in waves of consequence, Weston-Webb has proven herself again and again, winning the MEO Pro Portugal and J-Bay Corona Open. She hopes to keep that momentum going to become the first woman from Brazil to win a World Title.
Italo Ferreira (BRA): Rounding out the representation for Brazil is 2019 WSL World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist Italo Ferreira. Ferreira enters the Rip Curl WSL Finals as World No. 4, which is one spot below where he finished last year. While he didn’t have any wins this season, his consistency in making Semifinals and explosive surfing landed him a spot in the Final 5.
“Every time me and Filipe have the best heats, and I like not to be the favorite,” said Ferreira. “I was in that position before in 2019 and that’s when I won so I like to be behind the guys. I’m excited for that and it’s a great opportunity to take another World Title. I’m stoked for that and I’m ready.”
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS): With seven World Titles, matched with Layne Beachley (AUS), Stephanie Gilmore is now going for a record breaking eighth, which would be the most women’s World Titles in history. Recognized as one of the most stylish surfers on the planet, her approach is grounded in genius precision and technical expertise that has set a new performance benchmark. She will be starting the day for the women, going up against Hennessy in Match 1.
Jack Robinson (AUS): Jack Robinson has already gained a reputation as a once-in-a-generation talent in waves of consequence and is now proving himself in the competitive arena. His brilliance has started to shine this season with back to back wins at the Margaret River Pro and Quiksilver Pro G-Land, as well as a second place finish at the Corona Open J-Bay. He comes to the finals as World No. 2 and could be the first man to bring home a win for Australia since Mick Fanning in 2013.
“I’m excited to be here and grateful to be in this position, and really happy to be back in San Clemente,” said Robinson. “I spent a lot of time here last year so I’m happy to be with these guys and all the women in this crew, the best in the world, so I’m looking forward to a fun week.”
Ethan Ewing (AUS): With a style that has been compared to one of surfing’s greatest, three-time WSL Champion Andy Irons (HAW), Ethan Ewing’s ability to hold his rail and deliver powerful turns while still maintaining form will be on full display on the canvas of Lower Trestles. Finally cementing himself as a World Title threat, the North Stradbroke, Queensland competitor earned his maiden CT win at the Corona Open J-Bay. He now looks to make his case at the Rip Curl WSL Finals, coming in as World No. 3.
Brisa Hennessy (CRI): Hennessy proved herself in waves of consequence at Teahupo’o with some of the most impressive barrel rides of the women. She had her first big win at the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach earlier this season and hopes to have an ever bigger win here at Trestles.
“Honestly my heart is still beating from that moment (clinching a spot in the WSL Final 5) and it’s going to take a couple more naps this year to digest (laughs),” said Hennessy. “I’m honored to be amongst this caliber of men and women. The way we’ve navigated through this year, it’s been beautiful, it’s been stressful, but we’ve all come out of it stronger and more incredible humans.”
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN): Igarashi clinched the last spot in the WSL Final 5 by earning a 9.70 (out of possible 10) and taking the win over Jadson Andre (BRA) in the dying minutes of the heat. Now, the Olympic Silver Medalist hopes to add a World Title to his name.
“That was crazy, the way it all happened and played out,” said Igarashi. “I felt like I was going to get an opportunity toward the end of the heat and then that wave came in. I remember thinking when I saw that wall, it was going to decide what my next couple weeks would be like. I would probably be surfing northside Huntington Beach shorebreak right now instead of surfing Lowers so that wave really changed my couple of weeks and my career. The wave was the hero in that moment and I just kind of did my thing.”
The event window for the Rip Curl WSL Finals opens on September 8 and holds a competition window through September 16, 2022. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.
The Rip Curl WSL Finals is proudly supported by Rip Curl, Oakley, Turtle Bay, Sambazon, 805 Beer, Flying Embers, and Tequila Eterno Verano.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.