Australians stumble in artificial waves
A STAR-studded Australian team struggled on the new surf ranch which uses artificial waves in the inaugural Founders' Cup of Surfing in California.
Recently retired Mick Fanning was joined by current women's world champion Tyler Wright, Byron Bay resident Matt Wilkinson, Joel Parkinson and Stephanie Gilmore.
They finished fourth overall from the five teams that competed with a combined World Team winning the event.
The team comprised South African pair Jordy Smith and Bianca Buitendag along with Michel Bourez (Tahiti), Paige Hareb (New Zealand), and Kanoa Igarashi (Japan).
Brazil came second with the United States in third while the European team finished fifth.
The Australian team earned the fourth-place finish after barely missing qualification in their sudden-death, surf-off against the World Team.
"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, I think the two will complement each other really well.”
With surfing to be included in the next Olympics in 2020, there still needs to be a decision on whether natural or man-made waves will be used.
The feedback from this event could play a major role in the decision.
Wright will shift her focus to defending her Rio Pro title in Brazil later this week.