Livestream Hawai‘i’s Carissa Moore, Seth Moniz and Coco Ho in “Rumble at the Ranch”—Surfing Kelly Slater’s Artificial Wave
The Aug. 9 mixed-doubles charity event should be a showcase for the powerful wave, especially as a platform for mind-boggling maneuvers.
Are you ready for some surfing? The World Surf League thinks so. And it’s got just the venue for a return to pro surfing in these sports-bubble times: the Kelly Slater Surf Ranch. With its artificial wave located in charmingly desolate Central California, the Michelob Ultra Pure Gold Rumble at the ranch is a one-day one-off for charity. But make no mistake, the lineup and mixed-doubles format should make for exhilarating viewing on a wave that is a perfect platform for gymnastic maneuvers and long tube rides.
The event can be watched live Aug. 9, starting at 3 p.m. in Hawaiʻi (you can watch it after it concludes on worldsurfleague.com) and will feature 16 top professional surfers currently living in the United States. The Surf Ranch’s own Kelly Slater, the 11-time WSL champion, will both host and compete, with prize money going to charity.
Hawai‘i is well represented by Carissa Moore, 2019 World Champion; Seth Moniz; and Coco Ho, who will all be competing in the same bracket.
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Carissa Moore in her film RISS: A Film About More Love.
Photo: COURTESY OF RED BULL MEDIA
Moore has shown her prowess at the Surf Ranch with a 2018 tour victory there and a strong 2019 performance. The double-bracket format takes the highest score of each surfer out of two runs, one left and one right. Selection was accomplished by a sophisticated shuffling of slips of paper with first names written on them, conducted in front of a livestream audience on the WSL site.
A popular pairing of Moore and fellow Native Hawaiian surfer Seth Moniz, 22 years old and a rising star, should ring a cowbell for Island surfers. That they go up against Slater and Sage Erickson, a 29-year-old Californian who won the U.S. Open of Surfing in 2019 and 2017, makes the match even better.
Another strong pair is Coco Ho with Brazilian Felipe Toledo, who won the Oi Rio Pro in 2019. It’s also a sentimental one given the recent death of Ho’s surf legend uncle Derek Ho. But they’ll face a precocious aerial gymnast in young Alyssa Spencer and Californian Kohole Andino, who is a U.S. men’s Olympic team qualifier (with John John Florence).
SEE ALSO: The Third Generation of the Ho Family Shows No Signs of Getting Out of the Surf
Carissa Moore Seth Moniz Rumble Athlete Card
Photo: Courtesy of WSL
On the opposite side of the bracket, Hawai‘i resident but Brazilian-flagged Tatiana Weston-Webb is paired with Japanese American Kanoa Igarashi. But the strongest competition should come from Griffin Colapinto, who took third at the WSL event here in 2019, and Lakey Peterson, who won the women’s side, defeating Moore in the semifinals. Also not to be ignored is another Moore rival, and her fellow women’s Olympics selectee, Caroline Marks, paired with Adriano de Souza. They face Santa Barbara stylist Conner Coffin and 18-year-old Kirra Pinkerton.
The Rumble at the Ranch returns the WSL to action in preparation for its newly announced 2021 season, which is slated to kick off in Hawai‘i this November at Honolua Bay for the women and in December at Pipeline for the men. In 2022 under new CEO Erik Logan, the WSL will rearrange and transform how the profession of surfing will operate. Instead of an 11-stop tour in which surfers accumulate points that decide world champions, the WSL will cut both men’s and women’s fields at the fifth stop, or midpoint.
“None of the 36 men or 18 women can now afford to have a bad result,” says Logan. The remaining 18 men and nine women then fight it out over the next five events, the last of which is Tahiti’s massive wave, Teahupo‘o. After a break—no doubt needed to heal bruised muscles and strained ligaments—the top five in both groups will proceed to a one-day, five-heat surf-off.
SEE ALSO: 11 Things Locals Need to Know About 2020’s First-Ever Olympic Surf Competition at the Tokyo Games
The location of the final is a secret for now and Logan and the WSL are going to enjoy prolonging the suspense.
“We worked with our world champions from the past to make sure they were good with this all the way through,” says Logan. “What’s exciting is that, all of a sudden, you've got this cutoff at the middle and a second one at the end of the year. Then, once you get into the top five it’s anybody’s to win.”
Read more stories by Don Wallace