Lennox Head’s Mikey McDonagh wins Gold Coast Pro 

Published on 04/05/2024

Mikey McDonagh (AUS) and Erin Brooks (CAN) have taken out the Gold Coast Pro, Stop No. 1 of the 2024 WSL Challenger Series (CS). The pair were the standout performers on an action-packed finals day, with Snapper Rocks delivering epic conditions once again with clean surf in the three-to-four-foot range.

McDonagh claimed the biggest win of his career at Snapper Rocks, dominating the final against reigning event winner Samuel Pupo (BRA). McDonagh is in his second season on the Challenger Series, and after finishing 27th in the rankings in 2023, this is the perfect start for the 22-year-old who has aspirations to join the CT by the end of the year.

“I still don’t even know if this is real,” McDonagh said. “It feels like it could be a dream, and I could wake up at any moment. This is the best day of my life. I’m pretty lost for words, to be honest. I haven’t cracked the Quarters before, I’ve had a lot of 9th-place results so getting into the Quarterfinals is definitely a bit of a monkey off the back. I felt like once I got into those rounds, I could actually unshackle the chains off me and actually show my surfing. It’s a long year, but I’m super stoked to start this way, and I just want to keep it going and hopefully get to the end goal.” 

In the final, McDonagh took charge early, surfing multiple waves all the way down the point, getting cheers from the crowd on every turn. McDonagh eventually landed on a two-wave total of 15.43 (out of a possible 20), which left Pupo needing a near-perfect score. McDonagh’s power and flow on his frontside was the perfect match for the long walls of Snapper Rocks, and it was enough to see him get the win and leave the Gold Coast sitting on top of the rankings.

In the women’s final, 16-year-old Brooks faced Brazil’s Luana Silva, who had been on a roll over the last few days of competition. Silva may have dropped the first score of the final, but Brooks had control of the matchup early, posting an excellent 8.00-point ride (out of a possible 10) on her opening ride. Silva kept busy, posting mid-range scores, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Brooks’ heat total of 13.90 (out of a possible 20).

“It feels really good to win,” Brooks said. “Good job to Luana (Silva). I thought she was going to get me in the end. I made so many mistakes in the heat, so I’m glad to get the win. My goals are to keep surfing well and I’m really excited about the next event at North Narrabeen. It’s a left and I really prefer to go left, plus I just spent a month training on my frontside in Fiji, so hopefully I can continue to do well.” 

This is Brooks’ second event win on the Challenger Series level, and it will see her lead the Challenger rankings as she hopes to qualify for the elite Championship Tour by the season’s end.

For more highlights and news from the entire Gold Coast Pro, visit the WSL website.

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