The final stages of the postponed 2018 Margaret River Pro were completed in Bali over the weekend, with the event billed as the Uluwatu CT.
Billed by some as ‘The Pro With No Name’, the make up event for Stop 3 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) was held in Bali’s Bukit Peninsula in pumping 4-to-6 foot (1.4 - 2 metre) waves for the final day of competition.
Brazilian surfer and 2018 CT Rookie Willian Cardoso was the in-form surfer of the event, posting massive scores and dominating performances over both days of competition.
The Final was no different as he came up against World Title threat Julian Wilson (AUS). Wilson kept busy in the Final, catching a number of waves, but struggled to find anything of substance, while the Brasilian picked off set waves and demolished them to post a 15.57 (out of a possible 20) heat total.
After a frustratingly close loss in the Quarterfinals of the Corona Bali Protected, Cardoso was determined to not let another shot at a CT win slip through his grasp, and although Wilson put in a solid last ditch effort to grab the lead, Cardoso seemed destined to take the win.
“I feel like my heart is about to explode,” Cardoso said. “After I got through my Quarterfinal, I was feeling good and starting to think I could go all the way. I saw Julian (Wilson) get a great wave at the end of the Final and I was a little worried. He needed a really big score and it wasn’t enough. I have worked so hard to get to this moment. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years.”
The women’s Final was an all-time, goofy versus natural-footer battle as French surfer Johanne Defay came up against 2018’s most consistent surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) at the Uluwatu racetrack.
Weston-Webb looked in control of the 35-minute Final as Defay struggled to post the score she needed to take the lead. In the final minute, Defay found a set and went to work, narrowly flying past Weston-Webb by just 0.46 points, to take her first CT win since the Fiji Pro in 2016. With the third CT victory of her career, Defay moves into 5th place on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“This is crazy,” said Defay. “Everyone on Tour surfs so good and deserves to win, but I am glad it was my turn today. It was special for me to have my partner in the water to celebrate the win, you go through ups and downs as a professional athlete and to be able to share that moment with him was incredible.”
The Uluwatu CT was called on after the cancellation of the Margaret River Pro in April. The competitors’ results and points for this event will be counted toward finishing the canceled event.
The next stop on the CT will be the Corona Open J-Bay, opening July 2 for the men and July 6 for the women.