May 19 - 25, 2024: Issue 626


Jordan Lawler Wins 2024 World Surf League GWM Sydney Surf Pro.!: WSL leaves north narrabeen in a high stoke - tahiti Pro. commences this week at venue for paris 2024 olympics surfing comp. 

Jordan Lawler being chaired by the home crowed. Photo Credit: © WSL / Matt Dunbar

The WSL roadshow has rolled into North Narrabeen and rolled out again, leaving the site of this National Surfing Reserve a little bit too quiet after 6 days in a row of spectacular surfing by some of the best athletes. There is a lingering, palpable, high stoke.

Just as happened at the Bonsoy Gold Coast Pro the week before, when icons of surfing Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, and Stephanie Gilmore joined Kelly Slater in a World Champ's Super Heat celebrating the best of competitive surfing, local legends were part of this iconic surf festival.

On Sunday May 12, Mother's Day, the last heat of the day saw a group of local surfing greats take over the line-up at North Narrabeen for a 40-minute spectacle to see who still rules the roost and entertain the solid Sunday crowds that lined the shore. 

Surfers included 2018 Grand Masters World Champion Rob Bain, Two-time World Champion Tom Carrol, Former CT competitor and big wave world record holder Laura Enever, two-time World Champion and North Narrabeen Boardriders Club President Damian Hardman, and CT event winner Nathan Hedge. 

Pictured: The Bonsoy Legends Heat hit the water at North Narrabeen with legends [Left to Right] Damian Hardman, Rob Bain, Laura Enever, Tom Carrol and Nathan Hedge. Credit: © WSL / Matt Dunbar

All five surfers traded waves and had their moments, but it was Laura Enever who earned the biggest highlight of the session for a long left-hander with multiple turns completed on the sand. 

However, the highlight of this year's WSL GWM Sydney Surf Pro presented by Bonsoy was witnessing North Narrabeen's own Jordan Lawler take out the event.

On Tuesday, May 14, 2024, Isabella Nichols (AUS) and Jordan Lawler (AUS) claimed victory at Stop No. 2 of the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS). In front of a packed beach at North Narrabeen, the Aussie duo were able to overcome a massive international field to take the win in super clean two-to-three-foot surf. 

North Narrabeen local Jordan Lawler (AUS) won in front of a huge home crowd, securing the title in scenes reminiscent of those 1970's to 1980's competitions at the same site. Although this win was a replay, to some degree, of his 2019 crowning in that WSL Sydney Surf Pro at the other beach renowned for hosting professional surfing competitions on the peninsula, Manly, this ranks as the biggest result of his career. 

In 2019 Jordy competed in the Qualifying Series events. Surfers who are not currently eligible for the Championship Tour (CT) events are able to compete in a Qualifying Series (QS) of events, earning points towards qualifying for the following year's CT.

The big difference between a Challenger Series event and a Qualifier Series event (the second-tier comps) is how they allocate points. A Challenger Series event hands out more points for the global QS leaderboard that surfers aim to climb, unlike a regular QS event.

The Challenger Series is the launchpad to the elite Championship Tour, pitting established surfers fighting to stay on tour against the next generation of premium talent. Across the events, the 2024 fields of 84 men and 52 women will battle for one of the 10 men's and 5 women's coveted spots at the top level of the sport.

Having missed qualifying for the Challenger Series in 2024, Lawler came into the event as a wildcard. With low expectations on himself, he was able to cruise through the draw and claim a memorable win. 

“Honestly, the last few months have been a real rollercoaster,” Lawler said afterwards. 

“After not qualifying for the Challenger Series this year, I was honestly thinking about calling it quits, so I’m just stoked I stuck with it. I was pretty low there for a while, and I hadn’t had a good result for a while, so I’m just so stoked right now. To make it to the Championship Tour has been my goal for so long and to win an event of this size can really help with that, I just can’t believe it.” 

Jordan Lawler getting some air. Photo Credit: © WSL / Matt Dunbar

In the 35-minute Final, Lawler came up against former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Alejo Muniz (BRA) in a classic frontside versus backside battle on the North Narrabeen lefts. Muniz had been in solid touch all week but it was the local knowledge and hometown support that got Lawler an early lead. 

Jordy was then able to build momentum throughout the matchup, eventually posting a 15.75 (out of a possible 20) two-wave total, his highest of the event and enough to put Muniz in a combination situation. In the dying minutes, Muniz found a 7.20 (out of a possible 10) to break the combination but was unable to back it up, leaving Lawler to claim victory. 

“Winning at home in front of all of these familiar faces is so amazing, I’m speechless,” Lawler said. "Growing up, I looked up to so many of these surfers, and to be competing against them and getting the win is like a dream come true, especially at home. I’ve worked so hard to be here, and I’m keen to get it done this year, qualifying for the Championship Tour.”

Jordan first picked up a board at the age of 4 down at Wilson’s Promontory, and started really getting into surfing at around age 11. His first comp was through the North Narrabeen Boardriders club when 12. He graduated from Narrabeen Sports High School in 2014.

The North Narrabeen Boardriders Club,  established July 26, 1964, celebrates its 60th year in 2024. A black tie event is scheduled to take place in October.

In more great news for the club this week the NSW Government has allocated $632,000 for upgrades to North Narrabeen Surf Life Saving Club under the Surf Club Facility Program, which includes the extension to the north first mooted by Council in 2023. Details here.

Isabella Nichols and Jordan Lawler- winners. Photo Credit: © WSL / Cait Miers

Jordy currently sits at spot 4 in the 2024 Men's Challenger Series rankings, one spot behind Lennox Head’s Mikey McDonagh, who won the Gold Coast Pro., Stop No. 1 of the 2024 WSL Challenger Series (CS), on May 4, and two spots ahead of fellow peninsula surfer George Pittar.

Mr. Pittar has been on a bit of a roll in past weeks.

Hailing from just down the road in Manly, George Pittar was finally back on home soil after a whirlwind few months of competition. Pittar was awarded wildcards into two Championship Tour (CT) events, putting on an incredible performance that saw him earn an equal third-place finish at the Western Australia Margaret River Pro (April 11-21, 2024), even taking down world No. 1 Griffin Colapinto (AUS) along the way. He picked up more points after gaining a wildcard entry into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Bonsoy (March 26-April 25)Pittar then commenced his Challenger Series season with a solid showing and Semifinal finish on the Gold Coast and continued that form at Narrabeen, picking up  3,320 points in the GWM Sydney Surf Pro presented by Bonsoyas for his efforts. George is also working to win a full-time spot on the CT in 2025. 

“It’s amazing to be back home and competing at an event of this size whilst sleeping in my own bed and enjoying mum’s home-cooked meals,” Pittar said. “It’s amazing to see all of the world’s best lighting up the Northern Beaches. I know it means a lot to the local surfing community. 

The last month has been amazing. It’s been great to get some results and scores at the CT level and show myself I can belong there and it definitely gives me so much confidence ahead of the CS season. It’s given me incentive to qualify and compete at the CT level full-time.” 

Over the weekend prior to the start on May 9, the Local Trials event was run at North Narrabeen in wild conditions for a group of Beaches and New South Wales surfers. In the end, Manly duo Axel Curotta (AUS) and Anne Dos Santos (BRA) won and got to compete in their first-ever Challenger Series event. 

Curotta was slated to take on form surfer Josh Burke (BRB) as well as Tully Wylie (AUS) and Ryan Huckabee (USA). Brazilian-born Dos Santos did battle with former CT competitor Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) as well as veteran Philippa Anderson (AUS) and Jessie Van Niekerk (RSA).

North Narrabeen livewire Dylan Moffat (AUS) was also awarded a wildcard and was the standout local competitor on Day 1, taking a solid heat win in Heat 8 of the Round of 80. Moffat’s local knowledge was evident as he banked a 12.74 heat total to progress with the stylish Taro Watanabe (USA), while Kai Paula (HAW) and Cauã Costa (BRA) were eliminated from competition. 

“I'm feeling good,” Moffat said. “I’m feeling a lot of love from the local crowd down here. It’s a passionate bunch, and you can always feel it when the event is on here, and everyone is getting around one another, and it definitely helps, as you could even see with Jordy’s heat earlier. I can’t believe the teachers pulled the kids out of school to come down and watch my heat. It feels amazing, and I’m feeling the love from everyone, which is nice. The waves were tricky in that heat but looked so nice earlier, I feel like we will have some really fun waves over the window which is exciting.” 

It was a mostly successful day for the eaches contingent, with Local Trials winners Anne Dos Santos (BRA) and Axel Curotta (AUS) both progressing through their heats. Curotta had to take time off work crew duties to surf his heat, which he won over form surfer Josh Burke (BRB).

Unfortunately, the one local surfer who was unable to progress into the Round of 64 was Manly competitor Winter Vincent (AUS), who was narrowly overcome by South African competitor Jordy Maree (RSA).

On Day 2 Manly competitor George Pittar (AUS) continued his solid run of form today, claiming another heat win to book a spot in the Round of 32. Pittar has looked solid at Bells, Snapper, and Margaret River on powerful righthand walls, but on Friday May 10, he showed he has what it takes on his backhand. 

North Narrabeen locals Jordy Lawler (AUS) and Dylan Moffatt (AUS) continued to give their hometown crowds plenty to cheer about, both taking impressive heat wins in the Round of 64. Lawler took control early, with superior wave selection seeing him cruise into the Round of 32, whilst Moffat took a more last-minute approach, posting his winning score in the last minutes of the heat. 

Unfortunately, Local Trials winner Axel Curotta (AUS) was unable to continue his dream run at North Narrabeen, losing to Jett Schilling (USA) and Riaru Ito (JPN) in Heat 7 of the Round of 64.

Competitors and the Northern Beaches Mayor at North Narrabeen today ahead of the GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented by Bonsoy, Stop No. 2 of 6 on the 2024 Challenger Series. [Left to Right] Erin Brooks (CAN), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), George Pittar (AUS), and Mayor Sue Heins. Credit: © WSL / Cait Miers

Nichols Back-to-Back Wins at the GWM Sydney Surf Pro 

Only three weeks after falling short of the Mid-season Cut and being relegated from the Championship Tour to the Challenger Series, Isabella Nichols (AUS) bounced back with a massive win at North Narrabeen, her second at this location in as many years. Nichols looked on point all week, posting solid scores and taking down some of the event's big names, including Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), in the Semifinals. Nichols’ win has locked her in a second on the Challenger Series rankings and, along with her third-place finish on the Gold Coast, has put her in a great position to find her way back to the CT by the year’s end.  

“There’s a lot going through my mind right now,” Nichols said. “I came into this event feeling really positive and good about things, which has worked for me. Last year, I came into this event feeling super down, and that obviously worked for me, but it is nice to have less pressure and emotion being in the same position and still getting a result. It’s been so good being in such a good headspace compared to last year. It just shows, regardless of your headspace, if you go through the process, you can get it done.” 

Nichols saved her best performance for last when she came up against the form surfer of the Challenger Series, Erin Brooks (CAN). Nichols surfed a smart heat, holding on to priority for long stretches and executing on the best-set waves of the matchup. Brooks was left needing a solid score and almost got it with a huge frontside full-rotation air-reverse but fell, leaving Nichols to take the win with a two-wave total of 15.27 (out of a possible 20). Today’s result locks Nichols in at second on the rankings ahead of the next event in South Africa, the Ballito Pro. 

Isabella Nichols in action on Finals day. Photo Credit: © WSL / Cait Miers

“I want to give a shout-out to Erin Brooks," said Nichols. "She inspires me so much, and I feel so fortunate to have spent time with her over the last few years. She is so dedicated, so driven, and so incredibly talented. She’s like a little sister to me, and I’ve really enjoyed spending time with her over the last few weeks. I also just want to thank Matt (Grainger), who has been coaching me this week. The energy he brings is amazing, and it obviously works for me with two wins now.” 

Matt Grainger is the founder of the Manly Surf School. Commenced in 1995, with Aloha Surf, Tim Hanrahan and former world number 5 Rob Bain, Matt and Damien Warr, this has since expanded to found Palm Beach Surf School, Long Reef Surf School and Collaroy Surf School.

More sharing the stoke.

Erin Brooks and Alejo Muniz Finish Runners-Up 

Erin Brooks (CAN) made her third Challenger Series event Final in as many events. The 16-year-old has been the form surfer of this season, and it showed today, especially in the Semifinal, when she almost posted another perfect score. Unlike last week, where she went perfect for a huge, backside tube ride, today, Brooks landed a super quick frontside air-reverse to earn a near-perfect 9.57 (out of a possible 10). This runner-up finish consolidates Brooks’ position on top of the rankings as she pushes for CT qualification in 2025.  

“To make another Final feels really good,” Brooks said. "I want to thank Bella (Nichols) for giving me a run for my money. I got her in Snapper, so she got one back on me here, but it’s all good. Making the CT is definitely my goal, but there are a lot of events left this year and so many amazing girls competing, so we will just have to wait and see. If I get there, I’ll definitely take up that opportunity.” 

Erin Brooks in action. Photo Credit: © WSL / Cait Miers

Alejo Muniz (BRA) has had a challenging few years recovering from different injuries whilst trying to navigate re-qualification and find results on the Challenger Series. The 34-year-old veteran has had success on the peninsula before, having finished runner-up at Manly in 2018. Muniz fell short of the win today, but his runner-up finish, coupled with a 9th on the Gold Coast, is enough to see him move to second on the rankings as he continues to fight for a spot on the CT in 2025. 

“I’m really happy to be here standing on this podium,” Muniz said. "I’ve been working so hard for so long to get back to the top level. I’ve been through two surgeries and have missed out on qualifying by a small amount twice, so to be back in the Finals means so much to me. When I left home, I promised my son I’d bring him home a trophy from one of the events in Australia, so daddy has kept his promise.”

Australians Isabella Nichols and Sally Fitzgibbons are at positions 2 and 3 respectively in the Women's 2024 Challenger Series, while Macy Callaghan and Bronte Macaulay are both ranked 7th, and India Robinson and Nikki Van Dijk are 11th.

Sally Fitzgibbons on Finals day. Photo Credit: © WSL / Cait Miers

With the two Australian events now completed, the next stop on the 2024 Challenger Series will be the Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill. The competition window opens on Monday, July 1, and closes on Monday, July 8, 2024.

Event 4 in the Challenger Series is the Lexus US Open of Surfing Presented By Pacifico at Huntington Beach, California (Aug 5 - 11), followed by the EDP Ericeira Pro, Ribeira D'Ilhas, Ericeira, Portugal (Sep 29 - Oct 6), and the final event for 2024 in this series, Event 6, is the Corona Saquarema Pro Presented By Banco do Brasil at Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Oct 12 - 20).

For highlights from the GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented by Bonsoy, please visit 

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented By Bonsoy Men's Final Results: 

1. Jordan Lawler (AUS) 15.76

2. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.33

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented By Bonsoy Women’s Final Results: 

1. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 15.27

2. Erin Brooks (CAN) 12.43

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented By Bonsoy Men's Semifinal Results: 

HEAT 1: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.10 DEF. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.87

HEAT 2: Jordan Lawler (AUS) 13.90 DEF. Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 13.20

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented By Bonsoy Women’s Semifinal Results: 

HEAT 1: Erin Brooks (CAN) 16.57 DEF. Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 6.16

HEAT 2: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 12.63 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.16

GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented By Bonsoy Men's Quarterfinal Results: 

HEAT 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.40 DEF. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 9.54

HEAT 2: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.43 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA) 11.33

HEAT 3: Jordan Lawler (AUS) 16.43 DEF. Eli Hanneman (HAW) 15.90

HEAT 4: Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 13.00 DEF. Taro Watanabe (USA) 10.70

Next Stop on the 2024 Challenger Series: Ballito Pro Presented by O'Neill 

The next stop on the 2024 Challenger Series will be broadcast LIVE on and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

For those who can't wait that long, the 2024 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) heads to the middle of the Pacific Ocean for Stop No. 6, the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown. The perfection of Tahiti awaits the world’s best surfers during the competition window of May 22 through 31, 2024. They will no doubt be looking to prove themselves next week at Teahupo’o, as that break will also be the surfing venue for the Olympic Games Paris 2024 from July 27 through August 5, 2024.

There are few places on earth that deliver the same kind of awe as Teahupo'o, the jewel in the crown of Tahiti’s numerous reef passes. The power and perfection of the giant barrels that unload on the extremely shallow reef are unmatched. For most of history, its waves were considered untouchable, but as surfing progressed, so did the ability of the world’s best surfers to not just survive the wave but master it. 

In late July, the wider populace will be introduced to the phenomenon when the Olympic Games showcases this location, but for now, surf fans will be reminded of what they already know: there is no other place on earth like Teahupo’o. Some of the greatest battles in surf history have taken place here, and many more are yet to be written. 

The event wildcards include Kelly Slater (USA), 11-time World Champion with 56 CT event wins, five of which are from Teahupo'o, Tahiti (2000, 2003, 2005, 2011, 2016). Joining Slater as the event wildcards will be five-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), who accepted the wildcard invitation earlier this year following the announcement of her indefinite break from full-time competition, and Vahiné Fierro (FRA), a 24-year-old Tahitian local, who’s had two back-to-back third-place finishes at the Tahiti Pro on the WSL CT. The second men's wildcard will be allocated via the local Tahiti Trials competition, which will take place on May 18 and 19 at Teahupo'o, Tahiti.

The event also includes the Australian Surfing Team selected for Paris 2024, after the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) announced Tyler Wright, Molly Picklum, Jack Robinson and Ethan Ewing on May 8.

SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown Women’s Opening Round Matchups:

HEAT 1: Brisa Hennessy (CRC), Gabriela Bryan (HAW), Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)

HEAT 2: Caitlin Simmers (USA), Tyler Wright (AUS), Vahine Fierro (FRA)

HEAT 3: Johanne Defay (FRA), Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW), Carissa Moore (HAW)

HEAT 4: Molly Picklum (AUS), Caroline Marks (USA), Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 

SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown Men’s Opening Round Matchups:

HEAT 1: Ethan Ewing (AUS), Seth Moniz (HAW), Connor O’Leary (JPN)

HEAT 2: John John Florence (HAW), Rio Waida (IDN), Yago Dora (BRA)

HEAT 3: Jack Robinson (AUS), Ramzi Boukhaim (MOR), Kelly Slater (USA)

HEAT 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Italo Ferreira (BRA), Trials Winner TBD

HEAT 5: Jordy Smith (RSA), Crosby Colapinto (USA), Matthew McGillvray (RSA)

HEAT 6: Jake Marshall (USA), Imaikalani deVault (HAW), Gabriel Medina (BRA)

HEAT 7: Barron Mamiya (HAW), Liam O’Brien (AUS), Ryan Callinan (AUS)

HEAT 8: Cole Houshmand (USA), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Leonardo Fiorvanti (ITA)

The SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro Presented by Outerknown competition will be broadcast LIVE on and the free WSL app. 

The 2024 GWM Sydney Surf Pro Presented by Bonsoy was proudly sponsored by GWM, Destination NSW, Bonsoy, Northern Beaches Council, NRMA, Vaikobi, Boost Mobile, Coopers, Oakberry, Bioglan, Bailey Ladders, Bond University, and Weatherguard. 

About the WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfing. The WSL oversees surfing’s global competitive landscape and sets the standard for elite performance in the most dynamic playing field in all of sports. With a firm commitment to its values, the WSL prioritises the protection of the ocean, equality, and the sport’s rich heritage, while championing progression and innovation. 

For more information, please visit

Photos Credit: © WSL / Cait Miers