The World Surf League (WSL) 2021 Championship Tour (CT) kicked off with   the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona for the first stop of the Australian leg. The event window opened on April 1 and will host the world’s best surfers through April 11.

For the first time in over two decades, surfers will be competing for World Title points in New South Wales, and for the first time in almost 30 years, they’ll be doing so in Newcastle, a city steeped in professional surfing history. The Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona will see the WSL Championship Tour descend on Merewether Beach with exciting match-ups expected from the opening Rounds.

Caroline Marks (USA) dominated Day 1 with the highest single-wave score of the event so far. Marks garnered an excellent 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10) for a series of critical backhand snaps all the way to the beach. Marks’ success sent Brisa Hennessy (CRI) to Elimination Round 2. 

“It’s so good to be back competing in Australia,” Marks said. “It’s been a few years, so it’s great to be back, as it’s definitely one of my favorite places in the world. It was definitely stressful getting here, but I’m happy to be healthy and back doing what I love. I’ve missed competing so much.” 

Fellow Olympic qualifier and four-time WSL Champion, Carissa Moore(HAW), was also a top-performer. Moore put on a power surfing clinic in her opening heat at Merewether, carving her way to an early win over Anderson and Sage Erickson (USA). 

Moore wasn’t the only multiple World Title holder to find success in Round 1 with Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) also taking a solid victory in the smaller-than-hoped-for surf. The seven-time WSL Champion looked fired up as she kept busy all heat to overcome Bronte Macaulay (AUS) and Johanne Defay (FRA) in Heat 4 of Round 1. 

Sally Fitzgibbons Makes Strong Start on Road To the Rip Curl WSL Finals 

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) set an impressive benchmark in the opening heat of women’s Round 1. The current World No. 3 posted a 14.00 point heat tally, which included a near-excellent 7.83 score (out of a possible 10) for her heat win. Like Florence, Fitzgibbons is renowned for her big wave surfing but her performance in today’s fun peeling smaller waves reminded all just how good she surfs on the smaller days.

“I’m frothing! It’s so nice to be back competing and with a crowd on the beach, especially an Aussie one,” Fitzgibbons said. “Heat 1 is always exciting, so I definitely had a lot of energy going into that one. My preparation was good and I had a great free surf leading into that heat, so I was trying for some progressive moves that didn’t quite come off but I’ll definitely be trying for more of them in my next heat.” 

Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Women’s Seeding Round 1 Results: 
HEAT 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.00 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.27, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.44
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.37 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.50, Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.90
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.73 DEF. Philippa Anderson (AUS) 10.70, Sage Erickson (USA) 10.13
HEAT 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.50 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 9.27, Johanne Defay (FRA) 8.56
HEAT 5: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.93 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.10, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 10.10
HEAT 6: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 9.84 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 9.73, Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.14

Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona Women’s Elimination Round 2 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)  
HEAT 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)

Select Your Newcastle Picks Now for WSL CT Fantasy

WSL CT Fantasy is now open for the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup pres. by Corona. Fans can create their leagues and set their teams ahead of the first event of the Australian leg. WSL CT Fantasy is fully reimagined for the 2021 season. Register now and check out all the new features:
Power Surfers let you catch up quickly and give you 2x the points for one male and one female surfer on your team.
• Combined teams create higher scores than ever before.
• Progressive scoring means events are worth more as the season goes on.
• Editing teams mid-event ensures you never have a surfer knocked out early.
• Players can register now at and on the free WSL app.