Willian Cardoso and Johanne Defay won the Uluwatu contest, the makeup event for the Margaret River Pro that was canceled after a pair of shark attacks. Finals day was a marathon—the horn sounded just after the sun peeked over the horizon, and it ended as the sun began it’s descent to the other side of the horizon.
The win is a big one for Cardoso, as he’s the 2018 CT Rookie. At 32, the Brazilian has had his eyes on the CT for a long time, and it seems that now that he’s there, he’s determined to make his mark. In the final, he found himself up against an in-form Julian Wilson, who couldn’t find the waves he needed to stand at the top of the podium. Cardoso also came very close to the finals at the Corona Bali Protected, showing that he’ll likely be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
“I feel like my heart is about to explode,” Cardoso said. “After I got through my quarterfinal, I was feeling good and starting to think I could go all the way. I saw Julian (Wilson) get a great wave at the end of the final and I was a little worried. He needed a really big score and it wasn’t enough. I have worked so hard to get to this moment. Thank you to everyone who has supported me over the years. I had to be at my best today, I can’t believe I won!” Added Cardoso. “Today I beat Julian Wilson, Mikey Wright and Filipe Toledo who are all amazing surfers. This is the best day of my life, I have waited so long for this moment.”
When it came to women, the final was a goofy versus regular battle. Joanne Defay and Tatiana Weston-Webb (who, if you’ll remember, is now a Brazilian surfer) were traded blows for the entirety of the heat, but in the dying minutes, Defay watched with priority as a set rolled through. In the end, she wound up winning by just .46 of a point.
“This is crazy,” said Defay. “Everyone on tour surfs so good and deserves to win, but I am glad it was my turn today,” she said. “It was special for me to have my partner in the water to celebrate the win, you go through ups and downs as a professional athlete and to be able to share that moment with him was incredible. It’s been a strange year for me. I haven’t gotten the results I want, but I feel like I’ve been surfing good. To win in perfect surf in Bali is a dream come true.”