Connor O'Leary named WSL Championship Tour rookie of the year

Golden boy: Connor O'Leary advanced directly to round three of the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters and was awarded the 2017 rookie of the year award. Picture: WSL/Cestari
Golden boy: Connor O'Leary advanced directly to round three of the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters and was awarded the 2017 rookie of the year award. Picture: WSL/Cestari

Connor O’Leary's dream run on the surfing world tour continued with the first year competitor adding the prestigious rookie of the year title to his already impressive CV.

As the veterans said goodbye to the Championship Tour after being eliminated in round three of the Billabong Pipe Masters in memory of Andy Irons, we saw the next generation celebrate big wins. Cronulla’s O’Leary, in particular, winning the prestigious rookie of the year award over the six other talented rookies on the CT.

“Becoming rookie of the year is a big deal for me. You only get one shot at that and I feel like this year has more talented rookies than ever,” O’Leary said. 

“To stand out amongst these guys is a massive confidence booster for me.”

Connor O'Leary with his mother Akemi in Hawaii after his Pipeline third round loss and rookie victory.

Connor O'Leary with his mother Akemi in Hawaii after his Pipeline third round loss and rookie victory.

O’Leary was not able to come out of his round three match-up against Kanoa Igarashi (USA) to progress but now focuses ahead on the 2018 season. 

"I am stoked to take home the rookie of the year title and have a few beers with some friends when I go home,” said O’Leary.

“It was such a massive learning experience for me. For me it's a massive confidence thing to know and to keep telling myself I'm good enough to match it with the best. I'll take that confidence into next year and see how I go."

Sitting in 14th place on the world rankings, last year's World Qualifying Series winner and now rookie of the year just needs a contest win to really cement his position among the world's great surfers.