Stephanie Gilmore will lead Australia in a new team-based surfing contest at Kelly Slater’s artificial Surf Ranch later this year.
Full teams were announced for the inaugural Founders’ Cup of Surfing on Tuesday, with Australia to meet USA, Brazil, Europe and World outfits in May.
Eleven-time world champion Slater, defending men’s world champion John John Florence and retiring Australian great Mick Fanning will all feature while South African powerhouse Jordy Smith will captain the World team.
Six-time world champion Gilmore, who progressed to the Roxy Pro quarter-finals on the Gold Coast on Tuesday, will captain the Australian side that includes Fanning, Matt Wilkinson, Julian Wilson and two-time defending world champion Tyler Wright.
The teams will be made up of three men and two women from each region and compete against each at the two-day event in front of a packed stadium in what will signal a new chapter for the sport.
“It’s something new for surfing, but I think it will be a lot of fun and exciting to see how the world’s best surfers perform in this kind of a format,” WSL commissioner Kieren Perrow said.
The Cup will give participants valuable time in the wave pool ahead of its WSL debut later in the year.
The sport is also preparing for its Olympic debut in 2020, with a decision on whether natural or man made waves are used yet to be made.
Australian Associated Press