For the better part of Wednesday at the U.S. Open it was the women's turn to put on a show.
"Performing in front of an audience, that's my favorite thing about the U.S. Open," described 2010 champ Carissa Moore, who handled her round three heat with authority.
"It was like a cat fight," confessed Laura Enever, who finished third in the heat.
Since round three is not an elimination round, Enever is not out of the event. The women's portion of the U.S. Open is the final leg of their ASP World Tour season, and while the title was recently decided in France, the World Tour format is being applied for the women, whereas the Prime format is being used for the men. Confusing? Yes, just the way the ASP likes it.
Moore, Courtney Conlogue, Lakey Peterson (who beat Gilmore) and last year's winner Sally Fitzgibbons all won their round three heats, earning direct passage into the quarterfinals.
"It's always a relief to get that heat out of the way," told Fitzgibbons, after relegating Hawaii's Coco Ho and New Zealand's Paige Hareb into round four. Interesting note about Hareb, if the surf career doesn't work out she's a trained boxer who fights semi professionally down in Kiwi Country.
"I need to find other ways to fund my travel around the world, for the Dream Tour, and this is a way for me to do it," said Hareb, who last year lost her sponsor Billabong, according to a story on SurfersVillage.com. Surprisingly that's not an uncommon thing Down Under. Mick "The Ginger Ninja" boxed during his years away from tour, former world tour surfer Dustin Barca's gone the MMA route, as has Bra Boy Richie Vaculik reckons himself an MMA contender too.
Fisticuffs aside, yesterday I noted that the Brazilians were going to do damage at the Open. My oversight: local knowledge. The California contingent stepped up. Conlogue's was as strong as ever, Peterson upset the reigning world champ, and on the men's side, back-to-back champ Brett Simpson, Nat Young slipped through a close one, and Patrick Gudauskas all moved into the round of 24.
Gabriel Medina, as always, blew up in his heat. Earning himself the highest heat score of the day.
"That was definitely a tough heat because it was kind of slow and I just tried to find the big sets and do my airs," said Medina in his post heat interview.
John John Florence, Mitchel Coleborn and Julian Wilson all have to be the other favorites. I'm still staying Wilson could win it. He's focused, he's surfing strong, he's got that extra bit of intangible going for him. It's a long week, and for whatever reason, I'm saying he has the "it" factor ... if he can get the waves.
WOMEN'S NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.27, Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.00, Sage Erickson (USA) 9.40
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.73, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.43, Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.17
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.16, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.80, Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.10
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.00, Pauline Ado (FRA) 8.83, Laura Enever (AUS) 4.97
WOMEN'S NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.00 def. Sarah Mason (NZL) 8.10
Heat 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 14.40 def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.43
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.00 def. Dax McGill (HAW) 7.66
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.93 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 7.84
Heat 5: Laura Enever (AUS) 10.67 def. Justine Dupont (FRA) 7.83
Heat 6: Pauline Ado (FRA) 13.50 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 6.54
MEN'S NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND OF 48 RESULTS:
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.97, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 13.16, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 11.50, Adam Melling (AUS) 9.00
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.50, Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.66, Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.26, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 11.10
Heat 9: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 11.43, Nat Young (USA) 10.47, Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.34, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 6.70
Heat 10: John John Florence (HAW) 12.04, Brett Simpson (USA) 11.86, Gabe Kling (USA) 11.47, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 7.67
Heat 11: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 17.17, Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.34, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.34, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.27