Quarterfinalists decided in Brazil
Most of the Top 17 has been in Brazil for the better part of a week now, but several of them traveled thousands of miles to get to the Colgate Plax Rio Girls' Pro. Tyler Wright definitely had one of the longest journeys: She hopped back and forth in time over 30-something hours en route from Fiji. But Wright doesn't much care for jet lag. Barrels and air reverses are more her style, and they're just a few of the tricks that she used to nail down Friday's highest scores and her first quarterfinal spot in Rio.
In a single-heat trial that started at 6:30 a.m., Alessa Quizon took down three Brazilian contenders and gained wildcard entry to the Rio Pro for the second consecutive year. The early-morning conditions at Barra da Tijuca were contestable but tricky: somewhat shifty three to five-footers, little to no wind. In the first round, the top six seeds brought that progressive game we were hoping to see and advanced straight to the third round. Wright earned a 9.27 for an impressive barrel-snap combo, which remained the highest wave score throughout the day. She won the heat, but Malia Manuel didn't make it easy for her.
"I played the defensive game. I saw her waves from behind and they were fast and sharp," Wright said of Manuel. "I knew if one opened up for her, I wouldn't be able to stop her. Pretty much the whole Tour is like that. Every heat is intense and it's fantastic."
Unfortunately for the surfers sent to round two, low tide wreaked havoc on the waves and forced some serious resourcefulness. Laura Enever and Sage Erickson's battle was definitely the round's standout, with Enever somehow squeezing a 15.77 from the messy surf.
"The conditions have been tricky all morning and it kind of turned on for our heat," Enever said. "Sage and I were going wave for wave. It was a good match-up."
Manuel got her revenge on Wright in the third round as the tide pushed back in and fixed up the lineup. "Last year was so frustrating and so difficult for everyone," she said of the conditions. "This year, we're getting the back end of these storms. The wind kind of died, but the swell's still here." Wright defeated Coco Ho in the fourth round with double 8.50s.
Lakey Peterson cut a relatively short path to the quarters as her punts and powerful, controlled carves helped her skip both the second and fourth rounds. In the third round, she defeated Sally Fitzgibbons and feisty Quizon with the second-highest wave score (an 8.97) and a total of 16.14.
"There were tons of waves [out there]," Peterson said. "Rio's such a cool spot, it's so different than anywhere else we go. It's very passionate, the fans are really crazy--in a good way--and the waves are fun. It's a mindset thing for me. I'm just having a good time."
After two lay days, the women's window of opportunity is shrinking. It's already much smaller than the actual waiting period because this swell is meant to vanish on Sunday, so that rush to finish before then is in full effect. Since the men's window is a few days longer and there's a chance of some swell at the tail end of it, Saturday will likely be another full day of women's competition, culminating in the crowning of the first-ever Colgate Plax Rio Girls' Pro champion. The next call is at 7:00 a.m. local time.
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.04, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.34, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.33
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.27, Sage Erickson (USA) 12.83, Paige Hareb (NZL) 12.20
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.74, Alessa Quizon (BRA) 11.63, Silvana Lima (BRA) 6.70
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.04, Malia Manuel (HAW) 16.77, Phillipa Anderson (AUS) 7.77
Heat 5: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.77, Laura Enever (AUS) 9.20, Alize Arnaud (FRA) 7.93
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW) 16.30, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 8.00, Pauline Ado (FRA) 7.06
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.60 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.47
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 15.77 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 15.13
Heat 3: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 13.60 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 12.83
Heat 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.84 def. Phillipa Anderson (AUS) 9.57
Heat 5: Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.37 def. Alize Arnaud (FRA) 10.23
Heat 6: Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.77 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.43
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.14, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.77, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 13.03
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.20, Laura Enever (AUS) 10.33, Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.34
Heat 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.90, Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.30, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 5.20
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.50, Pauline Ado (BRA) 13.20, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.73
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) def. Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 15.10 def. Alessa Quizon (HAW) 12.10
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.00 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 14.60
Heat 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 10.77
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
QF 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
QF 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)