The Roxy Pro Gold Coast, the opening event of the 2015 World Surf League (WSL) Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT), gets underway on Saturday. Not only will the season opener see reigning six-time Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) lead the world’s best female surfers, it will also play host to the first Heritage Series of 2015.
Fierce rivals and true legends of the sport Lisa Andersen (USA) and Layne Beachley (AUS) will face-off on Australia’s Gold Coast during the inaugural women’s Heritage Series. The pair hold a staggering 11 World Titles between them and this heat will be a rematch of their 2000 Final at Snapper Rocks, when Beachley defeated Andersen en route to claiming her third world title.
The WSL Heritage Series, which celebrates the rich culture and history of professional surfing and is designed to honor the icons of the sport, was launched at the J-Bay Open in 2014 where surfing legends Tom Curren and Mark Occhilupo squared off in rifling six-to-eight foot Jeffreys Bay. Curren emerged victorious, securing a Perfect 10-point ride in the process. Martin Potter and Brad Gerlach revived their rivalry and battled at Trestles, with Gerlach taking the win. Finally the Billabong Pipe Masters saw two-time World Champion Tom Carroll storm to victory against Derek Ho, Gary Elkerton and Sunny Garcia in the final Heritage Series of 2014.
Beachley holds a world record seven World Titles, the most held by any female surfer, although current champion Gilmore could equal her record with a win this season. Beachley also holds the record for most consecutively won titles by a either a male or female surfer at six. She notched a total of 24 Championship Tour event wins over the course of her career before retiring in 2008.
“The last time Lisa and I competed against each other was at Snapper 15 years ago and I narrowly defeated her in the final,” Beachley said. “As usual, there was no love lost between us.”
“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to surf against Lisa again in this heritage heat, Beachley continued. “She was my greatest rival during my career and at the same time, a woman I have a tremendous amount of respect for. To have Snapper on our own, while rekindling our past rivalry will be a whole lot of fun. Bring it on.”
After becoming Rookie of the Year in 1987 Andersen spent six years on tour, placing top 10 each season. Following the birth of her first child in 1993 Andersen went on to claim four consecutive World Titles in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997. Like Beachley, Andersen tallied 24 event wins over her career before going on to retire in 2001.
“I always look forward to this time of year,” said Andersen. “Getting out of the winter time here in California and getting out in the warm waters on the Gold Coast! I’m super excited and honored to be able to surf with Layne this year. It should be fun, I’m so excited!”
The bout between Beachley and Andersen will take place during the event window.
The Roxy Pro Gold Coast will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW), Johanne Defay (FRA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), TBD
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Coco Ho (HAW)
Running in conjunction with the Roxy Pro Gold Coast will be the world’s best male surfers in the Quiksilver Pro.