Introducing: The Rookie Class of 2017

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 121d ago

That's all for the 2016 season. The dust has settled on the Pipe Masters, though the forecast for the Hawaiian hyper wave looks like it'll continue to pump this week and next. But now's the time to take stock of what's going on with the rankings and how it all ended up.

One thing's for sure, this is one of the strongest rosters we've seen in recent years make it to the big league. If we're talking wildcards, Owen Wright, Bede Durbidge and Lakey Peterson are in. Come meet the rather talented and eclectic rookie class of 2017.

Connor O'Leary, 23, Cronulla, Australia

The 23-year-old from Cronulla, Australia ain't no push over. To grind the QS and finish top takes a tonne of grit and steely determination. After just missing out on a CT spot last year, Connor's going to be fired up.

Ethan Ewing, 18, North Stradbroke Island, Australia

Ewing set ablaze the Vans Us Open of Surfing, a QS 10,000 event where he was pipped in the final to the small wave wizardry of Filipe Toledo. Ethan took the Aussie pro juniors by storm, won a QS1000 at Burleigh Heads and finished a runner up at Tweed Heads the following week. One to watch and a strong addition to the Aussie contingent.

Frederico Morais, 24, Cascais, Portugal

The first in a new wave of European CT hopefuls, Frederico, aka Kikas, was heading up the Triple Crown this year before going into Pipe. No one could predict he'd finish a runner up at both Haleiwa and Sunset, the first two events of the Trip. But an early exit in the final event saw Kikas end up in third position, just behind Jordy and John John – who won the event. Speaking with MSW earlier this year, Kikas said his focus was to make the CT.

Joan Duru, 27, Bayonne, France

After taking a semi-final finish at the Hawaiian Pro, Duru cemented himself into the CT for 2017. Charging the pits of France, he's no stranger to turning it on when things get heavy. A gooft-foot with a killer backhand, he'll be trouble.

Leonardo Fioravant, 18, Rome, Italy

The final European entrant into the CT and Rome's first ever pro. Though living in France now, Leo's impressed through a few events as a wildcard on the CT. His step father, and mentor, is Stephen Bell, the man who helped sculpt Kelly Slater's career. Slightly ironic then, that Leo's bested Kelly in both heats they matched up in this season. One to watch.

Ian Gouveia, 25, Recife, Brazil

Do you remember a time before the Brazilian storm was on the global radar? Before Adriano and Filipe? Before Gabby first wore the world champ crown atop his head? Of course! Because that's where Fabio Gouveia shone bright. Almost Tom Curren-esque in his approach, he was the pride of Brazilian surfing, holding the flame alight. Now, his son, Ian, has just qualified for the CT. We know grinding the QS takes all kinds of commitment and Ian's stepping into his father's footsteps, helping to reignite the Brazilian storm.

Ezekiel Lau, 23, Oahu, Hawaii

The Hawaiian power-house. Zeke's been grinding on the QS with coach Jake Paterson (who's also coaching Kanoa Igarashi and Leo Fioravanti), with the hard work paying off this year. Zeke's a late addition to the CT. Kanoa needed to do what many thought was impossible, the rookie had to finish third at Pipe and double qualify through the CT and QS. By doing so, he'd free up a spot for next in line, Zeke. And Kanoa did just that. Zeke had his first sample of the QS six-years-ago while still in school, his dream always to be the world champ.

Silvana Lima, 32, Paracuru, Brazil

Oh Silvana Lima is not a rookie. The Brazillian fell off tour last season but was a staple in previous years, having some legendary clashes with the likes of Stephanie Gilmore. The QS is an expensive gig though, and with no major sponsor, it's been tough for Lima – who was once considered the most progressive female surfer in Brazil. Silvana puts everything on the line in competitions and could mean upset for some of the seeds in 2017.

Pauline Ado, 25, Hendaye, France

Not much has been made of Pauline Ado qualifying. In the QS top six, only one person has double qualified, Malia Manuel, so the next ranked surfer gets in. Seeing as that's Sage Erickon, who qualified through the CT, the spot has got to go to Pauline. A welcome addition to the CT, Pauline's going to be flying the European flag once again. Ado's no stranger to the CT either, is grounded and can hack it with the best of them.

Who's out?

Well, we're going to lose some big names from both the men's and women's CT this season. Failing to qualify is a hard pill to swallow. From the men's, Nat Young, Keanu Asing, Dusty Payne, Kai Otton, Matt Banting, Davey Cathels, Alejo Muniz, Adam Melling, Ryan Callinan, Alex Ribeiro, Bede Durbidge (injured) and Owen Wright (injured) finished last in the rankings.

Meanwhile, over on the women's there'll be no Bianca Buitendag, with Laura Enever taking that last CT spot at Maui, Alessa Quizon, Chelsea Tuach and Lakey Peterson.

Though some of the competitors may still be given a wildcard into the event – this is how the standings are looking at the time of publication.

Full list of CT competitors
2016 CT Top 10 Finishers:
1 - Tyler Wright (AUS)
2 - Courtney Conlogue (USA)
3 - Carissa Moore (HAW)
4 - Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
5 - Johanne Defay (FRA)
6 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
7 - Malia Manuel (HAW)
8 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
9 - Sage Erickson (USA)
10 - Laura Enever (AUS)

Wildcard:
- Lakey Peterson (USA)

2016 Top 6 QS Finishers:
- Silvana Lima (BRA)
- Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
- Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
- Keely Andrew (AUS)
- Coco Ho (HAW)
- Pauline Ado (FRA)

Replacements:
- Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
- Alessa Quizon (HAW)
- Chelsea Tuach (BRB)
- Isabella Nichols (AUS)

2016 CT Top 22 Finishers:
1 - John John Florence (HAW)
2 - Jordy Smith (ZAF)
3 - Gabriel Medina (BRA)
4 - Kolohe Andino (USA)
5 - Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
6 - Michel Bourez (PYF)
7 - Kelly Slater (USA)
8 - Julian Wilson (AUS)
9 - Joel Parkinson (AUS)
10 - Filipe Toledo (BRA)
11 - Adriano de Souza (BRA)
12 - Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
13 - Josh Kerr (AUS)
14 - Adrian Buchan (AUS)
15 - Italo Ferreira (BRA)
16 - Caio Ibelli (BRA)
17 - Mick Fanning (AUS)
18 - Conner Coffin (USA)
19 - Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
20 - Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
21 - Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
22 - Miguel Pupo (BRA)

Wildcards:
- Bede Durbidge (AUS)
- Owen Wright (AUS)

2016 Top 10 QS Finishers:
- Connor O'Leary (AUS)
- Ethan Ewing (AUS)
- Frederico Morais (PRT)
- Joan Duru (FRA)
- Leonardo Fioravanti (ITL)
- Jeremy Flores (FRA)
- Jadson Andre (BRA)
- Ian Gouveia (BRA)
- Jack Freestone (AUS)
- Ezekiel Lau (HAW)

Replacements:
- Nat Young (USA)
- Bino Lopes (BRA)
- Keanu Asing (HAW)
- Jesse Mendes (BRA)

Cover shot, Leonardo Fioravanti