Byron Bay’s Matt Wilkinson was a member of the Australian team that competed at the inaugural World Surf League Founders’ Cup of Surfing at Kelly Slater’s artificial wave pool three hours drive inland from the Californian coast.
Highlighting how globally strong the sport of surfing is, it was the combined World team who took an incredibly tight win ahead of Brazil, USA, Australia in fourth and Europe in fifth place.
The Australian team included the team captain and six-time WSL champion, Stephanie Gilmore, three-time WSL champion Mick Fanning, two-time WSL champion Tyler Wright, and Matt Wilkinson.
The team fell short under the pressure and was eliminated ahead of the finals.
‘It was an incredible event and even though it’s a little disappointing to not be in the final, it was cool to be here and see how it all works,’ Gilmore said.
‘To see the fans out here and how the team aspect comes into play was really positive. This opens the floodgates into a whole new realm of arenas and events in controlled conditions.
‘But, as long as there’s a really good balance between this and the ocean,’ she said.