Lindblad finishes second at Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro; Schilling, Colapinto land in third
As the waves got better every day of the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro until they peaked at pure Gold Coast pointbreak perfection, area surfers rose to the occasion and posted some impressive results.
Top among them was San Clemente’s Sawyer Lindblad. Dominant all year long during the WSL’s North American Qualifying Series, she put all the pieces together on the international Challenger Series to make the podium and finish in a very respectable second place.
“It feels really good to make my first Final in the Challenger Series,” Lindblad said after the final. “Obviously, I wanted to win, but it was so fun to surf Snapper with just a few people out, and I’m grateful to compete in this event.”
Lindblad came up short behind Australia’s India Robinson in the final, but both surfers’ results were the biggest of their young careers. And showing poise beyond her years, Lindblad beat perennial world title contender Sally Fitzgibbons, posting an 8.67 single-wave score—the highest score of the day.
Now sitting second in the Challenger Series rankings, Lindblad goes into the rest of the season with a head full of momentum. The top five women at season’s end will qualify for the 2024 Championship Tour.
On the men’s side of the draw, it was the San Clemente duo of Jeff Schilling and Crosby Colapinto finding their rhythm on the flawless Snapper Rocks lines. Schilling, surfing on his backhand, took a fast, spontaneous and energetic act into the water, while regular-footer Colapinto dropped the hammer with powerful rail turns and high-risk hits on the end section.
Inspired and motivated by a whole cadre of San Clemente surfers, hometown hero Kolohe Andino, after losing out early in the event, served as the spiritual leader of the group and relished his role as pit crew chief.
Firing up the next generation, Andino was running up and down the beach hooting and hollering for his crew, getting them water bottles between waves and even threw in a few NFL-esque butt pats for extra spice. Joining him were Cole Houshmand, Kade Matson, as well as Lindblad’s brother Taj.
In the semifinals, Colapinto would fall in a tight one to eventual winner Sammy Pupo of Brazil, while Schilling went down to runner-up Imai DeVault of Hawaii.
Both San Clemente surfers are now knotted at third on the Challenger Series rankings. The top 10 will graduate to the 2024 Championship Tour.
“What an amazing event and an even better start to the Australia leg! This whole week has been incredibly fun,” Colapinto shared on Instagram. “Stoked to start the year with an equal third and to do some good surfing in a jersey. Congrats to Sammy Pupo for taking out the event! Off to Narrabeen tomorrow to do it all again, let’s ride!”
The next Challenger Series event, the GWM Sydney Surf Pro, starts this week in Sydney, Australia. After that, there’s a month off before things pick up in earnest this summer. Stop No. 3 will take the tour to South Africa before they come home to Huntington Beach for the U.S. Open, which kicks off on July 29.
As they say, there are heaps of surfing left to be done. But for Lindblad, Schilling and Colapinto, the success on the Gold Coast marks a brilliant start to the season and gives them all a ton of momentum as they look to make it to surfing’s biggest stage.
They’re all surfing great, appear to have great boards under their feet, and they’ve got to be vibing off all the local support. Let’s keep it going and fire them up for their qualification push.