Kelly Slater’s absence led to a reformulation of the heats of the inaugural round.
Frederico Morais already knows the new opponents he will face in the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup, the second stage of the WCT 2021 and the one that marks the start of the Australian leg of the world circuit. Kikas will fight against the Brazilian Gabriel Medina and also with the North American wildcard Corsby Colapinto.
After being initially placed in heat 6, in the company of world title champion Italo Ferreira and Australian wildcard Jackson Baker, from Kelly Slater’s announced absence, to injury accounts, that Frederico knew would change opponents in the opening round Newcastle stage.
Now, with the rise from the 23rd to the 22nd position of the seeding, the Portuguese surfer went to heat 5, where is the double world champion and friend Gabriel Medina, but also the younger brother of Griffin Colapinto, who received the last wildcard available for this stage that marks the resumption of action in the WCT.
If there are no more last-minute casualties until April 1, the day when the waiting window for this event kicks off, Morais and Medina will face each other for the seventh time in their career in stages of the WCT, and the balance is now balanced, fruit of three triumphs for the Portuguese and three for the Brazilian.
Interestingly, Kikas won on the first three occasions that he beat Medina, and is now in a series of three straight losses for the Brazilian. After the triumph in the inaugural round of MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2016, as a wildcard, Frederico defeated Medina in the semi-finals of the mythical J-Bay Open 2017, in which he was only fought in the final, and also in round 3 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach that same year.
Since then, the two-time world champion has taken the best against the Portuguese in round 4 of MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal 2018, in the quarter-finals of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach that same year and also in the opening round of the 2019 J-Bay Open 2019 , being that only in Bells it was a heat man-on-man.
Newcastle Pro first round heats:
H1: Kolohe Andino (EUA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Connor O’Leary (AUS)
H2: Filipe Toledo (BRA), Conner Coffin (AUS), Deivid Silva (BRA)
H3: John John Florence (HAV), Jadson Andre (BRA), Morgan Cibilic
H4: Jordy Smith (AFS), Yago Dora (Bra), Mikei Wright (AUS)
H5: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Frederico Morais (PRT), Corsby Colapinto (EUA)
H6: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Matthew McGillivray (AFS), Jackson Baker (AUS)
H7: Kanoa Igarashi (JAP), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
H8: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Wade Carmichael (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS)
H9: Owen Wright (AUS), Griffin Colapinto (EUA), Leo Fioravanti (ITA)
H10: Julian Wilson (AUS), Michel Bourez (FRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA)
H11: Ryan Callinan (AUS), Seth Moniz (HAV), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
H12: Jack Freestone (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Robinson (AUS)