It’s been an intensive day of competition at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro, Stop No. 5 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Championship Tour (CT). 24 heats were run to decide the fate of 13 competitors competing to stay on the 2023 CT and make it above the Mid-season Cut line. Main Break delivered once again with super clean waves in the six-to-eight-foot range, saw all 22 men competitors confirmed to make the Mid-season Cut, while only Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) was confirmed today as the women’s field is still taking shape. 

O’Brien Eliminates Slater, Who Falls Short of the Mid-season Cut

In a historic heat, CT sophomore Liam O’Brien (AUS) eliminated the GOAT Kelly Slater (USA), ending his shot at making the Mid-season Cut. Both scored a near-excellent 7.83 (out of a possible 10), but O’Brien found a solid backup of 7.70. Both surfers had looked in year-best form at Margaret River, and the heat did not disappoint. With less than a minute to go, Slater had one more opportunity. He left everything out on the field, but the requirement exceeded the score. O’Brien will take on Griffin Colapinto (USA) in the Round of 16 when competition resumes, whilst Slater’s competitive future remains in question for fans. 

“I really felt like one of the heats where the magic was going to happen,” Slater said. “If you’re within 10 points, you got a shot if a wave comes. I felt good, I felt loose, and I didn’t feel stressed about the situation. I was really enjoying the day, it’s a beautiful day, and you know, we’re breathing.” 

“I was really trying to pick a good wave,” said O’Brien. “Anything that looked half decent, I tried to keep him (Kelly Slater) off. Then at the end, he had another chance, and I heard the whole beach erupt and was like, ‘oh no.’ Luckily, I snuck through, but he’s such a good competitor, one of the best ever to do it. I’m really happy to make that one; it’s such a crucial heat. I try not to think of the rankings and focus on the surf and what I have to do to get a few good waves.” 

Round of 32 Decides Fate of Surfers on the Bubble

World Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA) and Final 5 competitor Kanoa Igarashi(JPN) both came to Margaret River in 17th on the Rankings and in a must-win situation. It was a close match, but with moments left in the heat, Ferreira landed a huge backside air reverse to earn an excellent 9.03 (out of a possible 10). He then backed it up with an excellent 8.50 by putting together two explosive turns, giving him the highest two-wave total of the day. With the heat win, Ferreira officially made the Cut. 

“To make the Cut feels so good,” Ferreira said. “It’s been a hard few days not knowing and I feel sad for my friends. It is what it is so I just do this for love. That was a great heat for sure. I wanted to get some scores early with the overlapping, so I could build once I had priority. Once we were in the priority heat, I tried for an air and missed it so it felt amazing to ride out of that one at the end. When I saw that section, I was just like, ‘Let’s go.’” 

Several critical heats left some with a spot in the back half of the season and marked the end of the road for others. Tour Veteran Jordy Smith (RSA) will be able to compete in his home country as he has officially advanced to the back half of the season. Smith confirmed his spot above the Cut by taking down Samuel Pupo (BRA) with an excellent 8.00 in the Round of 32. 

Callum Robson (AUS) claimed his spot above the Mid-season Cut by overcoming Jackson Baker (AUS). Robson started quickly, blasting the tail and completing a finishing maneuver to earn a solid 7.67. Baker threw several beautiful turns but couldn’t find the waves with opportunity. 

After a close match, Connor O’Leary (AUS) ended Ezekiel Lau’s (HAW) hope of making the Cut. Tour veteran Kolohe Andino (USA) showed good form but fell just short of the requirement in his heat with Ryan Callinan (AUS). 

Pupo, Baker, Lau, and Andino will now be relegated to the Challenger Series, where they can fight back to the 2024 Championship Tour.  

Peterson Books Quarterfinal Spot to Keep CT Season Alive 

Californian title hopeful Lakey Peterson (USA) claimed a clutch victory over Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) to keep her dreams of surviving the Mid-season Cut alive. Peterson looked sharp at Main Break and continues her hunt for a massive result to move up from 15th on the rankings to above the Cut line. Peterson’s win sees her move into the Quarterfinals for only the second time in 2023, and she’ll need to take another heat win to guarantee her spot on Tour is safe. 

“Oh my god, this feels good,” Peterson said. “I feel like all of this year I’ve had some close heats, and none of them have gone my way, but this one did fall my way, and I’m really grateful for that. I didn’t surf the best heat, and I made a few mistakes, but I can take a lot from that and learn from it. I have Carissa in the Quarterfinals, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. That’s when I’ll do my best surfing.” 

Despite her loss in the Round of 16, Tatiana Weston-Webb’s (BRA) equal 9th place finish at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro is enough to confirm that she has made the Mid-season Cut. 

Local wildcard Bronte Macaulay (AUS) continued to impress the local crowds, taking down form surfer Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) in a nail-biting heat. The pair started off tight, with Sakura Johnson holding the lead until the hometown hopeful took off on a set and completed three massive backside turns to lock in a spot in the Quarterfinals for the third year in a row at her home event. 

Carissa Moore (HAW) looks to be the woman to beat at Main Break as she posted a 15.93 point heat total (out of a possible 20) to overcome an in-form Sophie McCulloch (AUS). McCulloch looked to be in control of the matchup until the last 10 minutes when Moore posted her two scores to take a memorable win. 

Standout Performers Book Spots in Round of 16

Yago Dora (BRA) solidified his spot above the Mid-season Cut in style, earning the second-highest heat total of the day, a 17.00 (out of a possible 20). In a battle of two of the best goofy foots, Dora emerged victorious over California’s Nat Young (USA), ending his shot at making the Mid-season Cut. 

Filipe Toledo (BRA) reminded everyone why he’s the current World Champion and a past event winner today, posting a 7.87 and 7.83 in the first heat of the Round of 32. Wildcard Reef Heazlewood (AUS) showed a moment of brilliance, earning an excellent 8.50 but could not find a backup score as time ran out. 

Current World No. 1 Joao Chianca (BRA) continued his winning form today, overcoming current World Junior Champion and event wildcard Jarvis Earle(AUS). Chianca will now face Callum Robson (AUS) in the Round of 32. 

Wildcards Send CT Surfers to The Challenger Series 

Earlier in the day, event wildcards Jarvis Earle (AUS) and Jerome Forest (AUS) were able to progress through their Elimination Round heats, forcing Michael Rodrigues (BRA) and Carlos Munoz (CRC) to take an equal 33rd-place finish here in Margaret River. The equal-place finishes meant neither surfer could move above the Mid-season Cut. 

For highlights from today’s Western Australia Margaret River Pro competition, please visit

Updated Confirmations for the Mid-season Cut 

After today’s competition, all 22 competitors for the second half of the men’s Championship Tour have been confirmed. After completing the first four heats of the women’s Round of 16, Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) was the only competitor added to the list that officially made the Cut on the women’s CT. 

Women’s CT: Made the Mid-season Cut
Molly Picklum (AUS)
Tyler Wright (AUS) 
Carissa Moore (HAW)
Caitlin Simmers (USA)
Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)

View the full women’s 2023 CT rankings. 

Men’s CT: Made the Mid-season Cut
Joao Chianca (BRA)
Jack Robinson (AUS)
Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Ethan Ewing (AUS)
Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Ryan Callinan (AUS) 
Caio Ibelli (BRA)
John John Florence (HAW) 
Yago Dora (BRA)
Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Jordy Smith (RSA)
Matthew McGillivray (RSA)
Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Liam O’Brien (AUS)
Rio Waida (INA)
Tied between (in rankings seed order):
Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Barron Mamiya (HAW)
Seth Moniz (HAW)
Ian Gentil (HAW)

View the full men’s 2023 CT rankings.

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Elimination Round Results:
HEAT 1: Jacob Willcox (AUS) 13.30 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.13, Jack Thomas (AUS) 10.26
HEAT 2: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 14.67 DEF. Jerome Forrest (AUS) 11.27, Carlos Munoz (CRC) 4.97
HEAT 3: Callum Robson (AUS) 12.50 DEF. Jarvis Earle (AUS) 10.76, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.57
HEAT 4: Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 15.16 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 14.56, Rio Waida (INA) 14.50

Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 32 Results:
HEAT 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.70 DEF. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 12.43
HEAT 2: Jordy Smith (RSA) 14.50 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA) 12.90
HEAT 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.27 DEF. Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.63
HEAT 4: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 15.33 DEF. Ian Gentil (HAW)
HEAT 5: Joao Chianca (BRA) 15.10 DEF. Jarvis Earle (AUS) 8.17
HEAT 6: Callum Robson (AUS) 14.10 DEF. Jackson Baker (AUS) 12.44
HEAT 7: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 14.43 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.77
HEAT 8: Yago Dora (BRA) 17.00 DEF. Nat Young (USA) 8.16
HEAT 9: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.17 DEF. Jerome Forrest (AUS) 7.76
HEAT 10: Liam O’Brien (AUS) 15.53 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 14.00
HEAT 11: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 11.73 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.34
HEAT 12: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.33 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 11.93
HEAT 13: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 14.50 DEF. Jacob Willcox (AUS) 13.63
HEAT 14: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.53 DEF. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 11.60
HEAT 15: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) 12.93 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.93
HEAT 16: John John Florence (HAW) 16.33 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 12.76

Women’s Round of 16 Remaining Results:
HEAT 1: Molly Picklum (AUS) 12.33 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.07
HEAT 2: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 13.23 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 12.67
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.93 DEF. Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 14.66
HEAT 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.07 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.94

Women’s Round of 16 Remaining Matchups:
HEAT 5: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
HEAT 6: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
HEAT 7: Caitlin Simmers (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
HEAT 8: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRC)
Western Australia Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Jordy Smith (RSA)
HEAT 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
HEAT 3: Joao Chianca (BRA) vs. Callum Robson (AUS)
HEAT 4: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
HEAT 5: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Liam O’Brien (AUS)
HEAT 6: Barron Mamiya (HAW) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
HEAT 7: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
HEAT 8: Matthew McGillivray (RSA) vs. John John Florence (HAW)


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