‘We’re all COVID-free:’ Pro-surfers back in the Valley, compete in WSL’s Rumble at the Ranch for charity


LEMOORE, Calif. (KSEE) — Surfers are hanging-ten in the Valley again for the World Surf League’s Rumble at the Ranch.

The last public event at the WSL Surf Ranch in Lemoore was in September.

“Gosh I haven’t surfed a contest in eight months or so now, so it’s fun to get going, get rolling,” said 11-time World Surfing Champion, Kelly Slater.

Like many sports, the World Surf League’s season has been impacted because of coronavirus.

But on Sunday, 16 pro-surfers went head to head in the first-ever mixed team competition.

“We’ve got the bubble, everybody’s been tested and we’re all COVID-free and we just get to have some fun and push each other a little bit,” Slater said.

The surfers in a two-person team, each with one man and one woman. The prize, $20,000 to the winning team’s charity of choice.

“This is part of our WSL countdown series, with the pandemic, we canceled our 2020 season so the season never officially run so we’ve had some regional events and specialty events and this is one of them,” said Jessi Miley-Dyer, VP of tours and competitions for WSL.

Caroline Marks says the event is helping her prepare for the Olympics. She says she hasn’t competed since December.

“We’re all just really stoked to be back in the jersey and you know just surfing and just kind of feeling those nerves and that energy again it’s really fun,” Marks said.

The World Surf League is taking precautions. The event was closed to the public.

WSL says they worked with the Kings County Public Health Department to keep everyone safe.

Slater says with surfing it’s easy to social distance, especially at the Ranch.

“The issue for us, for the tour, is that we can’t travel, we can’t get people in, you got to quarantine if you’re even allowed in the country, basically, American’s aren’t allowed anywhere right now, we screwed that up,” Slater said.

WSL says Coco Ho and Filipe Toledo took the event title.

They say Toledo had a “near-perfect wave” and the “highest scoring wave of the day.” 

Ho and Toledo nominated Surfrider Foundation’s LA Chapter as the recipients of a $10,000 charitable donation in their name. 

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