The Creatures team has three surfers in the WSL finals this September. Three! As we enter the boiler room of Trestles for ‘22, everyone is talking about who could take out the men’s and women’s World Titles this year. Will world #1s Filipe Toledo and Carissa Moore stay on top, or will the clutch format see an underdog snatch victory? Italo Ferreira, Ethan Ewing and Steph Gilmore will all be looking to do the snatching. But, are they really underdogs? Let’s break down the legitimate chances of each of these legends…
Italo ramps with the best of 'em! Photo: IF15Sports
Fact: Italo Ferreira is the only man in the finals who already has a world title to his name. That’s a HUGE advantage when it comes to experience, battling nerves and doing your best surfing. Italo has had an unusual year to say the least. He’s yet to make a WSL final in 2022, but has been consistent enough to make the top 5 over even surfers with multiple wins (like fellow Creature Griffin Colapinto who finished a heartbreaking 7th). Sitting in 4th seed, Italo will face an uphill battle to clinch his world title, but there’s plenty going for him. The wave suits his hi-fi surfing to a tee. He’s got a crazy fire inside him to clinch an event in ‘22. And, of course, there’s history. World Title Holder. Olympic Gold Medalist. In his surfing prime. We’re thinking Italo has to be a favourite for a 2nd world title here. C'mon Italo!
Ethan's backhand blast. Photo: Bosko
Ethan Ewing. The surfer’s surfer. 2022 has been his breakout year, where he’s performed in heats the way he does every other single time he hits the water. His savage carves have been his bread and butter this year, but Ethan’s underrated air game could be what clinches him a maiden world title. Haven’t seen him doing wild things above the lip? Go here and here for recent examples. Trestles as a wave has a history of rewarding underdog Aussies with solid power fundamentals too. Richie Lovett and Bede Durbidge have both won here in the past over more ‘famous’ names. If Ewing does win, it will be the first time Australia has won a men’s world title since Mick Fanning in 2013. He’s certainly in form, and, at 3rd on the ratings, he has one less heat to surf than Italo and Kanoa to make it to the podium. A fairytale finish to a fairytale year? It would certainly be a popular victory. C'mon Ethan!
Steph's hack is as deadly as they come! Photo: Bosko
7 x World Champion. We could probably end the spiel at that. Equal most titles for any woman pro. Ever. Can Steph go one more to make her the undisputed GOAT? The chances are strong at Trestles. She favours a carving right, so if the swell direction serves up solid walls she’s going to be a force. Steph also prefers to surf without pressure on her and, at 5th in the rankings, she’s flying under the radar to jet up to the podium. The wild thing is, Steph would only have to win 5 heats for this event to take her historic 8th WSL World Title. That’s the same amount as a normal WSL event. Just another day at the beach, right? Just another title in the cabinet. C'mon Steph!