Meet Your 2023 CS Graduating Class - Stab Mag

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"You know you're giving me priority in our first CT heat together, right?" - Eli Hanneman to Kade Matson, probably. Photo: Thiago Diz/World Surf League

Meet Your 2023 CS Graduating Class

Erin Brooks and Samuel Pupo win final event in Saquarema, 2024 CT surfers finalized.

news // Oct 21, 2023
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The waves were grey and lackluster. The YouTube comment section was rife with mom jokes. The claims were comical and aplenty.

All tell-tale signs of a Challenger Series event.

The surfing — for the most part — was worth sitting through the standard sandal and beer commercials, however.

When all concluded, seven new surfers and seven re-qualifiers clinched their spot on the 2024 CT.

An incredible day for the Pupo fam — not so much for Herdy fans. Photo: Diz/WSL

Cole Houshmand, Kade Matson, Eli Hanneman, Jacob Willcox, Crosby Colapinto, Sawyer Lindblad, and Alyssa Spencer qualify for the CT for the first time.
You can read our interview with Cole Houshmand here, our interview with Jacob Willcox here, and our interview with Crosby Colapinto here.
Sally Fitzgibbons, India Robinson, Isabella Nichols, Jake Marshall, Imaikalani deVault, Samuel Pupo, Deivid Silva, Frederico Morais re-qualify for the CT.
Samuel Pupo defeats Tahitian Mihimana Braye to take the event win.
Erin Brooks defeats Australian Sophie McCulloch, lands Dane-esque close-out turn in final.

Two wins that, in the big picture, didn’t actually mean much. Photo: Diz/WSL

Two moments really stood out to me during this morning’s Finals Day: Eli Hanneman dramatically defeating Michael Rodrigues to help hand his friend Kade Matson a spot on the CT and Ladybird Erin Brooks’s last wave in her final against Sophie McCullouch.

In the case of Eli, he had already clinched his own spot on tour. But, in his quarterfinal heat against Michael Rodrigues (who would’ve qualified himself if he won the heat), Eli narrowly won — sealing the deal with an elevator-drop, end-section smash.

When Eli landed that turn, Kade Matson knew his fate was practically sealed — his friend and contemporary had locked in his position on next year’s tour.

In Erin’s case, her final heat against Sophie McCullouch was very close until the last sixty seconds. Each surfer was vying for the win within 3-5 points. But, with a minute left on the clock and priority, Erin Brooks took off and slammed an end-section turn that made the crowd go crazy, the commentators scream into the webcast, and Dane Reynolds feel a disturbance in the force all the way from Ventura.

Despite the win, Erin still finished outside of the CT qualification picture, finishing 9th overall on the 2023 Challenger Series.

Click play for Erin’s angsty end-turn. Video: WSL

For Samuel, his ride to the podium was markedly smoother. While Tahitian stand-out Mihimana Braye looked formidable, Samuel was able to string quick, punchy turns together in less-than-flow-friendly conditions.

The win was honey on top of the açaí bowl for Pupo, who had already qualified for the 2024 CT earlier in the event.

Samuel will be joining his brother, Miguel, on tour again in 2024, making the Pupo fraternity the second band of brothers on tour, alongside Griffin and Crosby Colapinto.

2023 men’s qualifying class

2023 women’s qualifying class


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