Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) is having a slow start to the 2018 CT compared to previous years. Today she faced the tough task of taking on Malia Manuel (HAW) and former WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in Round 3 in pumping surf at the Corona Bali Protected. Fitzgibbons sat deep with priority when the best wave of the day rolled into the lineup, and she dropped in late to a dredging tube. After skillfully navigating two deep sections, Fitzgibbons came flying out of the tube and executed two powerful carves. She was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.93 (out of a possible 10), the highest single wave score of the event thus far. This left the two Hawaiian to battle for the second advancing position, with Manuel edging out Moore in a tight and dramatic finish.
“When you have priority and you see a wave like that it’s hard not to get too excited, inside the wave I had to go through two sections and I was thinking ‘I can do this.’ Then when I came out I was so stoked. It was such a tough draw with Carissa (Moore) and Malia (Manuel), my first wave didn’t work out so when I got that good one, it took a bit of pressure off and now I’m through to the Quarters.”
Reigning, two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) made a mid-heat strategy adjustment during Heat 1 of Round 3 to overcome Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Coco Ho (HAW). Wright struggled to complete her turns in the morning glare so opted to sit closer to shore and aim for the hollower inside waves, which eventually paid off as she booked herself a spot in the Quarterfinals with a winning heat total of 14.93 (out of a possible 20). Weston-Webb finished the heat in second and will also progress, while Ho was eliminated from competition in Equal 9th.
“I just couldn’t seem to do anything right at the start of that heat, I was falling off and struggling to make a turn, so I knew I had to change things up. The glare didn’t seem to affect me as much when I was getting barreled so I just looked for the hollower ones and it seemed to be a tactic that paid off.”
Six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) snuck through her Round 3 heat against fellow Australian Keely Andrew (AUS) and event standout Silvana Lima (BRA). In a slow heat for waves, each competitor had to make every opportunity count and that’s exactly what Jeep Leader Gilmore did, finding the best wave of the 35-minute encounter to narrowly overcome Lima, who was in the second progressing spot and Andrew, who was eliminated.
Heat 3 was an all-American matchup between current World No. 2 Lakey Peterson (USA), Sage Erickson (USA) and 2018 CT Rookie Caroline Marks (USA). It was the rookie who dominated early, leading with a 15.00 point heat total. Her compatriots were left battling for second qualifying spot until Peterson posted a near excellent 7.70 to move into first and progress with Marks into the Quarterfinals. Peterson will now meet Malia Manuel (HAW) in Quarterfinal 3.
“I really tried to keep busy in that heat to show my surfing as much as possible as the heats before ours were pretty slow, then it just turned on and started pumping, the waves were amazing all heat, I felt like I had to take every wave. It’s amazing that the WSL is giving the women the opportunity to progress our surfing in such incredible waves like this. Seeing Steph (Gilmore) as the Jeep Leader win in the heat before me definitely motivated me to win — I’m keeping a close eye on her and what everyone else is doing. But at the end of I just want to focus on surfing my best and progressing through the event.”
Corona Bali Protected Women’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.93 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.33, Coco Ho (HAW) 8.57
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.40 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.54, Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.50
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.03 def. Caroline Marks (USA) 15.00, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.67
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.93 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.00, Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.83
Corona Bali Protected Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)