If you missed the first half of the action at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro – Women’s, don’t fret, as we look back on the core of the important moments that happened.
Most of 2016’s top 10 athletes showed dominance in the very first round. Malia Manuel, who ranked seven last year, won her Round One heat against Johanne Defay and Bronte Macaulay. Courtney Conlogue, last year’s World No. 2, won her first round heat against Sage Erickson and Coco Ho.
The World Champion Tyler Wright also dominated her Round One heat against Laura Macaulay and Keely Andrew, taking the highest heat total of the first round in the process. Her excellent 8.67 helped her power through, and she made it look so easy.
Tyler Wright powering through Round One:
Another standout was Stephanie Gilmore who mustered a heat total score of 14.10. Gilmore, who previously won the Roxy Pro Gold Coast weeks ago, showed she is determined to keep up with her World Title campaign. Steph defeated Bianca Buitendag and Nikki Van Dijk in their Heat Four match-up.
Carissa Moore, last year’s World No. 3, showcased her skills she had sharpened over the off-season break and won against Lakey Peterson and Pauline Ado in their Heat Five battle.
Sally Fitzgibbons won against Silvana Lima in Heat Six with a very slim margin of 1.66. Her excellent 8.83 wave, which was the highest single wave score of the round, helped her secure the lead sending Silvana Lima and Tatiana Weston-Webb into Round Two eliminations.
The first heat of the second round saw Bronte Macaulay putting up a fight against Nikki Van Dijk. Macaulay scored an excellent 8.00, but she failed to get a good backup score and Vand Dijk won the heat by a 1.01 margin.
Watch their heat replay below:
Coco Ho and Johanne Defay both advanced to the third round after beating their Round Two opponents. Ho had a heat total of 13.10 against Lakey Peterson, while Defay also had a good 15.27 heat total versus Laura Macaulay.
Tatiana Weston-Webb made a comeback after losing in the first round and secured a ticket to Round Three with her 15.17 against Bianca Buitendag’s 9.66
Sage Erickson and Keely Andrew also secured Round Three slots. Erickson had a 14.67 against Pauline Ado’s 11.87. Andrew had a 12.66 heat total, defeating Silvana Lima by a 4.70 margin.
The third round got more interesting as last year’s World Champ, World No. 2, 3 and 6 all secured their Quarterfinals slots.
In Heat One, Courtney Conlogue took down Coco Ho and Johanne Defay. She added an 8.27 to her 7.43 with less than five minutes left in the heat, when she paddled into a left-hander and showcased some excellent backhand maneuvers. This helped her secure the lead and skip the Round Four carnage.
In Heat Two of the third round, Tyler Wright showcased once again why she is the World Champion. In a tightly contested battle between her and Malia Manuel, Wright emerged the winner by a 0.94 margin. Both surfers had excellent range scores above 8.00. Manuel had an 8.00 backed up by a 9.00. Wright had a 9.57 backed up by an 8.37. But it was Wright’s near perfect 9.57 ride that got her the advantage. She took off on a wave and did a series of excellent maneuvers – a solid turn, an excellent floater above the lip, and finished off with another well executed vertical.
Watch Tyler Wright’s Solid 9.57:
But the excitement continued to build and another standout performance by Stephanie Gilmore surprised the crowd once again. With less than a minute and a half left in Heat Three of Round Three, Gilmore was in the last place needing an 8.20 to snatch the lead. She saw a nice set coming and used priority to paddle into the wave, where she made a series of combination maneuvers from a solid hook, an inside carve, and another turn through the lip to complete her ride. She earned a 9.10 for the effort and snatched the win from Nikki Van Dijk. The six-time world champ showed that she is determined to win another world title this year and there is no one stopping her.
Steph’s buzzer-beater comeback wave:
And the excellent waves kept on coming in the third round. Another outstanding performance was seen with Carissa Moore nailing a 9.57. Moore unleashed a variety of maneuvers including verticals and carves and finished gracefully with flow. She eventually won the heat against Sally Fitzgibbons and Keely Andrew.
Round Four was a mix of casualties and survivors. Sage Erickson took down Coco Ho after putting pressure on early by scoring a 6.83 and a 7.93 in the first 15 minutes of the heat. Ho was unable to find an answer and got eliminated.
Malia Manuel, a constant stand-out, dominated her heat against Johanne Defay. Manuel had a good 7.00 wave to start off the heat and she continued paddling for better waves to back her score up until she found a 6.67 to ensure her lead.
Nikki Van Dijk also proceeded to the quarterfinals after defeating Keely Andrew, 14.83 versus 12.70.
The last to to secure a quarterfinals entry was Sally Fitzgibbons, who shredded on a combination of 8.67 and 8.27, putting pressure on Tatiana Weston-Webb. Tatiana was in a combination situation, needing a 16.95 to snatch the lead. But with less than 10 minutes left in the heat, she could no longer find the scores she needed to win.
The second half of the event is expected to bring in more surprises and excitement for all. Who will be on track to winning a world title by the end of this event? It’s all about to unfold in the next few days.
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