Above: Courtney Conologue delivered an excellent Round 1 performance. Image: WSL/Kirstin
The world’s best female surfers lit up Lower Trestles for Heats 1 to 5 of the opening Round of the Swatch Women’s Pro.
First up was Lakey Peterson (USA) who put on an impressive performance, including a near-perfect 9.37, to dominate her heat and breeze through to Round 3. The high-scoring bout saw Hawaiians Malia Manuel (HAW) and Alessa Quizon (HAW) each deliver solid heat totals of their own but they couldn’t eclipse the Californian.
“That was on of the best heats in terms of surf that I think I’ve ever had,” said Peterson. “It’s great to be at Lowers — I want to do really well here so I was a little nervous.”
Rookie Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) faced Dimity Stoyle (AUS) and Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in Heat 2 of Round 1. Stoyle held the lead through the opening half of the heat but Weston-Webb came back and built a 15.00 heat total to win her first CT heat at Lower Trestles.
“I feel really confident on my backhand here so I focused on the rights, and I think that made all the difference,” said Weston-Webb. “It’s so wonderful that the women get to compete here so big thanks to the WSL and Swatch for making it happen.”
Courtney Conlogue (USA), current No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard, stamped her authority on Heat 3, opening with an excellent 8.17 against Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and wildcard Bethany Hamilton (HAW). Conlogue continued to unleash her power surfing to claim back-to-back 8-point rides and close the bout with an impressive 9.17.
“It’s amazing to be here and I can’t believe the swell that we’ve got at this event,” said Conlogue. “Wearing the Jeep Leader Jersey is amazing, but there are still four events and Carissa is right behind me, so I have to focus on my game plan.”
Above: 13 year old Caroline Marks made her CT debut. Photo WSL/Kirstin
13-year-old injury wildcard Caroline Marks (USA) matched-up against two-time WSL Champion and current world No. 2 Carissa Moore (HAW) and Silvana Lima (BRA) in Round 1 Heat 4. Marks, who received a last-minute place in the Swatch Women’s Pro after defending event winner and reigning six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) withdrew from the competition due to injury, made her CT debut today. Moore looked confident and remained dominant throughout the heat. Her 18.36 heat total, the highest of the women’s competition, sends her through to Round 3 while Marks and Lima will surf again in Round 2.
“I’m trying to focus on myself rather than focus on the points or the title race,” said Moore. “I grew up surfing competitions here so it’s a really special place for me.”
The final heat of the day saw Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA) and Coco Ho (HAW) battle it out. The bout came down to the wire and, after several lead changes, Fitzgibbons claimed victory with a heat-high 8.27 in the final seconds.
“It’s shaping up to be a really exciting title race with quite a few of us in contention,” said Fitzgibbons. “Having been on tour for a number of years now I’m really enjoying those battles and they really get me inspired to perform at my best.”
Above: Bianca Buitendag of South Africa (pictured) placing third during Round 1of the Swatch Womens Pro at Trestles.
Swatch Women’s Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 17.20, Malia Manuel (HAW) 16.83, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 15.33
Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 15.00, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 13.90, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.60
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.34, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.67, Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 7.17
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 18.36, Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.96, Caroline Marks (USA) 11.77
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.67, Coco Ho (HAW) 14.60, Sage Erickson (USA) 14.36
Upcoming Swatch Women’s Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA), Tyler Wright (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS)