The opening day of the Swatch Women's Pro at Lower Trestles saw the world's premiere female surfers hit the cobbles in rippable 4- to 5-foot conditions. As the first women's WT at Lowers, and with a tightening race for the world title on the line, many of the contestants were chomping at the bit for the opening heat horn to blow. And when it did, the women did not disappoint.
At the forefront of the competition today stood four-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore, who put on a blistering performance in her Round 2 matchup to drop the highest heat score of the day, a 17.83 complete with a 9-point ride. Gilmore was able to continue her domination throughout the day and has progressed all the way to the quarters.
"I was so excited to surf that heat and I couldn’t believe I got a nine on my first wave," she said. "I felt really relaxed after that. But at the last minute I went down to third so I really had to snap out of it and think about how to get out of that situation. I knew I didn't need a huge score but it was a matter of waiting for a wave. Luckily I had priority and a wave came. It was close and I'm happy I made it."
In another heat that could play into the women's title race, current world champion and ratings leader Carissa Moore took on Coco Ho and Laura Enever in one of the most explosive match-ups of the day in their Round 3 heat. While Enever failed to find her rhythm throughout the match-up, Ho and Moore put on a phenomenal display, trading solid scores all the way down to the final second. In the end, Ho would narrowly take down Moore.
"I'm stoked to get through that one," said Coco. "I knew that Carissa would hands down be the hardest person to beat out there. She has the power, the progression, everything you need for Lowers. I was able to get the better of both exchanges but it was so hard to wait for the scores at the end."
"The World Title is coming down to the wire with just four more events so this is it," said Carissa. "I'm trying my best not to think about it and not to put too much pressure on myself. I can feel it creeping up but I'm trying to stay calm and have fun."
When competition resumes, Moore will be competing against Lakey Peterson in Round 4.
Other highlights from the day included the elimination round heat between Hawaii’s Alessa Quizon and California’s own Courtney Conlogue. While Conlogue opened up the heat by catching a bevy of solid waves, it was Quizon who came out on a top with the win by posting a combined score of 13.34.
“Courtney (Conlogue) wants it as bad as I do,” said Quizon. “I just tried to not be nervous, and focus on myself. She’s been training, and I see that she’s getting better, and you don’t ever underestimate a competitor."
“I was out of the rhythm with the ocean,” Conlogue said. “It was frustrating but you’ve got to start somewhere. It was a building block, I’ve got to learn from my mistakes. We’ll see what happens in the later part of the season."
Swatch Women's Pro Trestles Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 16.50, Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.73, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 11.10
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 15.60, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 9.93, Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.83
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.60, Mahina Maeda (HAW) 11.50, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 6.30
Heat 4: Coco Ho (HAW) 16.36, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.94, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 13.56
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.57, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.07, Pauline Ado (FRA) 9.83
Heat 6: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 17.36, Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.10, Johanne Defay (FRA) 11.00
Swatch Women's Pro Trestles Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 13.34 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 8.23
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.00 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.60
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.04 def. Mahina Maeda (HAW) 10.60
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.83 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 14.06
Heat 5: Pauline Ado (FRA) 15.93 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.73
Heat 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.10 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.50
Swatch Women's Pro Trestles Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.67, Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.34, Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.37
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 16.17, Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.14, Laura Enever (AUS) 4.33
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.34, Dimity Stoyle (AUS 12.37), Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.13
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.43, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.24, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 12.50
Swatch Women's Pro Trestles Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Pauline Ado (FRA) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
Heat 3: Dimity Stoyle (AUS) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)