Tyler Wright of Australia advancing into the Semifinals during the Roxy Pro France. Image: WSL / Poullenot. Photographer: Kelly Cestari
Tyler Wright (AUS), current frontrunner on the Jeep Leaderboard, will continue her charge for the WSL World Title as she defeated compatriot Laura Enever (AUS) in the second Quarterfinal heat. Wright, the two-time defending event winner, posted two strong 6-point rides on her backhand to advance to the Semifinals.
“I like the crowd and how they do not just cheer one surfer, but they cheer on everyone whether you win or lose up the beach or down the beach,” Wright noted. “As a general crowd that is pretty amazing. I plan to do my thing [in the Semifinal]. I do not know who is going to win or lose, but I know what I can do and I know me. I am happy with that. I have a very good team behind me so we will go after that heat with the same goal in mind — to win every heat and win every final. Other than that, I cannot do much more.”
As the only surfer able to block Wright’s Title win in France, all eyes were on Courtney Conlogue (USA), current Word No. 2, in her Quarterfinal heat against Nikki Van Dijk (AUS). Conlogue unleashed a series of powerful backside turns to secure a 7.33 and a 7.97, but Van Dijk posted an excellent 8.60 to narrow the gap. Conlogue waited for a set to fire back with a near-perfect 9.17 to secure her place in the Semifinals and keep her World Title hopes alive.
Courtney Conolgue at the Roxy Pro France. Image: WSL / Poullenot. Photographer: Kelly Cestari
“It is down to the nitty-gritty right now and Nikki (Van Dijk] got me in the first round so I did not want that to happen again,” Conlogue explained. “To be honest, I wanted to take the opportunity off of Nikki when I used priority in the last few minutes. I have had so many times where there has been a minute remaining and that one wave ends up being it. I decided to put my cards in when taking that wave. This World Title race is really exciting for me. Now, I am simplifying and giving myself the best shot I have.”
The final Quarterfinal matchup saw an intense clash between three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) and six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). Moore powered through the heat with an excellent 8.67 and a near-perfect 9.57 to put Gilmore in a combination and take the win. Moore will advance to the Semifinals where she will face Conlogue. Gilmore will walk away with an Equal 5th place finish, her sixth Quarterfinal loss this season.
“I wish Steph (Gilmore) was on the other side of the draw so we didn’t have to meet up until the Finals,” Moore said. “I love competing against her, I think she brings out the best in everybody. I knew I’d have to go out there and swing my best swing if I wanted to beat her. It would be amazing to win her, so far this year it’s been tough for me to break the Semis and win.”
Tatiana Weston-Webb at the Roxy Pro France. Image: WSL / Poullenot. Photographer: Kelly Cestari
Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) fired in the opening Quarterfinal matchup to defeat Sage Erickson (USA). Weston-Webb put on a clinic with a near-perfect 9.47 and a commanding 7.77 second wave score. The Californian battled back with a 13.84 combined score, but could not challenge the Hawaiian’s excellent forehand rides. Weston-Webb’s win will mark her fourth Semifinal berth of the year.
“I have really just been enjoying myself this whole week and taking a serious/fun approach to this event,” commented Weston-Webb. “I feel really confident and feel like my surfing is there. As long as I catch the waves, I feel good. After the 9.47, I knew that was the most amazing, fun wave I’ve probably ever caught in a contest. I kicked out and thought that it should hopefully be an 8. I was really surprised when I heard it was a 9, but forgot how many turns I did on that wave.”
Previously, Erickson eliminated crowd favorite Johanne Defay (FRA) in the opening heat of Round 4, and continued her recent rise through the CT ranks to reach the Quarterfinals for the fourth time in a row.
“Johanne (Defay) has been one of my inspirations on this tour, when she qualified she came in as the last seed from the QS and she’s won events and completely transformed her surfing,” Erickson said. “Luckily I had good scores at the beginning, I would have liked to build on that 5 but I made it so I’m happy. I’m excited to compete, I have amazing people around in my life and it’s a beautiful time in our sport, I think the girls are incredible and I just want to be a part of that mix.”
ROXY PRO FRANCE SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
SF 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Carissa Moore (HAW)
When the contest resumes (probably on Wednesday) WATCH THE ROXY PRO LIVE. Click on the image below to watch.