Snapper Challenger Wraps — San Clemente (Almost) Runs The Gauntlet - Stab Mag
Photo by WSL

Snapper Challenger Wraps — San Clemente (Almost) Runs The Gauntlet

India Robinson and Samuel Pupo take trophies to prevent a 2% podium sweep.

features // May 13, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Editors note: Post will be updated as more images become available.

Like Don Corleone in his prime, Kolohe Andino dispatched his San Clemente hitmen to snuff out their respective rivals through nearly the entirety of the Boost Mobile Gold Coast Pro.

Though the first event of the 2023 Challenger Series speedrun didn’t serve us a platter of behind-the-rock shootouts, the pulsing south swell presented more than enough coping for widespread enjoyment. 

As you’d expect, Steph Gilmore made a dramatic run through the draw, finding a handful of buzzer-beaters against the rising crop of talent, before falling in the semi’s to India Robinson (or,  more accurately, a really long lull.) Her matchup with Sierra was terrific. We respect Sierra’s decision to wait on competition, but also, we can’t get enough of her in the jersey (and her signature aquamarine wettie).

YTG. Photo by Cait Miers/World Surf League

Less expected, at least by the metric of Snake and Stace’s predictions, was the Two Percent mafia almost running the top half of the draw. Jett Schilling looked polished and rife with momentum, claiming multiple 6’s on his way past CT #1 João Chianca and Jadson Andre. He slipped only in the semi, on an Imaikalani DeVault shaped banana peel.

In potentially the best heat of the event, two regular footers with CT-spec brothers — Sammy Pupo and Crosby Colapinto — chased each other around the lineup claiming 7’s. Sammy left the 2% soldier in the dust, just barely.

“It’s not a claim, it’s an appeal,” said Rabbit, during the heat recap. It certainly feels that way Bugwan.

“Two percent has passion for sure,” Don Kolohe says, laughing at his crew’s claims. “I mean, we’ve got two point nine thousand subscribers on YouTube. Can you believe it??”

Love it fellas.

Maybe once they hit 3,000 they’ll get an event win.

After both Crosby and Jett faltered in the semis, the San Clemente trophy tease continued, seeing 17-year old Sawyer Lindblad miss out on a couple thousand CS points to a very deserving India Robinson in the Women’s final.

Sally Fitz and Sophie McCulloch met India in knee-deep water for hugs. Adorbs.

Yeah you. Photo by Cait Miers/World Surf League

During a rather boring final between Samuel Pupo and Imaikalani DeVault, the beach commentary resorted to pumping up Shimmy Disco in an attempt to salvage the mass exodus of spectators. It…worked?

Sammy’s double reverses deserved the win, and fulfilled Stace’s suggestion that he should lead the CS rankings easily.

In CT news, Jack Robinson hopped on the call and said he’s been in the gym everyday, but he’s not surfing yet. Though the wavepool event is only two weeks away, he stood by last week’s claim that he’ll be there and surfing — even saying he’s glad for the break, and will be coming with refreshed energy.

Photo courtesy on-site reporter E-dog Davis.


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