Defay’s Backhand Comes Clutch for Win No.6 and First in Europe
“It’s overwhelming,” Defay said. “Waves changed and the swell arrived for sure, I think we both had similar strategies and maybe we both had boards a little bit small for these waves. I focused on the lefts obviously and was looking for two turns but in the end one was enough.”

Waves got scarce in the women’s Final and tested the nerves of two of the most experienced surfers in the field. Johanne Defay (FRA above) was first to put a couple of decent scores on the board, applying pressure on her opponent Tyler Wright (AUS) as time slowly dripped away.

Both surfers focused on the lefts and at that game the French surfer from Reunion Island had the upper hand, applying her polished backhand turns in the right sections like she has done countless times to win big events. As time continued to slip away, the Australian was unable to find an open wall to work her magic and Defay claimed the win.

This marks Defay’s sixth career CT win, her first on European soil, and moved her into second place on the rankings ahead of the Australian leg. It also signals her official return to 100% form after a difficult season last year, plagued by an injury early on.

“Last year was fun and weird at the same time,” Defay added. “I really enjoyed my time at home even if I was injured, it was kind of a break that I deserved too. Coming back to contests it was hard to find my feet again and my fire but I worked hard and just wanted to show my injury didn’t take me out completely. ”

Prior to today, Defay had never made it past the Quarters at Supertubos, but as lefts started pumping in the middle of the beach, the powerful regular foot reveled and dominated once again. With a solid start in Hawaii and back-to-back Quarterfinals, Defay’s win today puts her right on the heels of World No.1 Molly Picklum (AUS) in the rankings.

Two-Time World Champion Wright Back to Winning Form
After her worst season start since qualifying full time in 2011, two-time World Champion Tyler Wright (AUS above) has put two third-round exits in her rearview mirror and found her pace in Portugal to reach the Final.
“It’s amazing, I feel like this has been a really key point for my year,” Wright stated. “It’s taken me a while to figure out some of the different changes that I’ve had going on. I’m really excited to be in Portugal, honestly, this is me and my wife’s favorite event all year, so thank you Portugal for having us, I really enjoyed myself.”

Open about health issues and the changes she has made to continue to progress in her career and life, Wright has definitely found her form again and will be a threat as she heads to Bells Beach where she is the back-to-back defending event winner.

Defay and Wright had previously eliminated Lakey Peterson (USA) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) respectively in their Semifinal matchups.

To catch up on all news and highlights from the MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal presented by Corona as well as replay key heats and moments, please visit

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Women’s Final Results:

HEAT 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.83 DEF. Tyler Wright (AUS) 5.50 

MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Women’s Semifinals Results:

HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.36 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.30

HEAT 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.54 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.93

Next Stop: Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach