Today was a huge day in Hawaii for Rip Curl team. After promising results in Europe and huge results in both Haleiwa and Sunset Beach during the Vans Triple Crown, South Africa’s Matt McGillivray has officially qualified for the 2020 WSL Championship Tour. The 22-year-old will make his debut on the CT at Snapper Rocks next year. Alongside him, fellow team rider Morgan Cibillic from Newcastle, Australia, has been crowned the Triple Crown Rookie of the Year. This is an honour given to the Triple Crown rookie who totals the most points throughout the Hawaiian events.
To top it off, 2x World Champion Tyler Wright also made history today, placing second at the 2019 Maui Pro. This was the first competition she has surfed in following 17 months of illness. In perfect five-to-seven-foot Honolua Bay, Tyler surfer her way through to the Final of the event, putting on near perfect performances and matching up against huge names like World Title threat Lakey Peterson. In the end it was 7x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore who took the win in the Final heat, but the runner-up finish was no defeat for Tyler. Her performance in Maui today marks the beginning of an incredible comeback for the 2x World Champion.
“Wow, I am very much still processing a lot of this,” Tyler said following her Final heat. “I feel so lucky and grateful to be here today. It was only a couple of months ago that I was still in a rough place. I’m so grateful to the people who have been there for me over the past year, the people who have helped me get here today. I’d like to thank them all, especially my girlfriend Alex who has been there the entire time for me. She was the worst of the worst, and to be here today, surfing and happy and healthy, it’s incredible. It’s been a rough time of illness, and I’m so enjoying this moment.”
22-year-old Matt McGillivray, upon learning the news of his qualification, was speechless. “Wow. I have been dreaming about making the World Tour since I was in school,” Matt said. “When I started surfing and realised how much I loved the sport. You kind of become consumed with surfing and chasing waves, and doodling in all your textbooks… around that time back in primary school I dreamt that I wanted to become a professional surfer. And I can’t believe that that big dream of mine has come true today.
“Now it’s time to look towards next year, and I am so excited. I think everyone’s goal with their first year on Tour is to get the Rookie of the Year. That’s a huge thing to aim for and something that I’d like to work towards. But something that I’ve always liked to focus on before the results is my surfing – I want to be happy with where my surfing is. That’s the most important this for me. I know that my surfing will really grow and I will be pushed on the CT, and that’s something that I’m really looking forward to. I’m not completely sure what to expect, it’s really all just sinking in now. But at the end of the day I’m just hoping that I’ll be able to surf to the best of my ability, learn a lot and chase towards the Rookie of the Year Award.”
Morgan Cibillic, who missed out on official qualification by just two heats today, was awarded the Triple Crown Rookie of the Year Award. “I am so stoked to get this award,” Morgan said. “That was my major goal coming over here to Hawaii and I am so stoked to achieve it.” This award could mean that Morgan will receive entry into the Pipe Master Trials, giving the Australian a shot at competing in the final event of the 2019 WSL Championship Tour season.
However, Morgan’s situation may change by the end of the 2019 WSL Championship Tour season. Currently sitting 11th, he still has a chance at qualification pending the results of other surfers on the CT.
Today was a great day for Rip Curl team riders 2x World Champion Tyler Wright, Matt McGillivray and Morgan Cibillic… and it was also a great day for surfing.