Billabong team rider, Courtney Conlogue (USA) won her first ASP World Championship Tour event of the season today at the TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival. With 1-3ft conditions during the Dow AgroSciences Pro finals, Conlogue and Hawaiian Coco Ho were forced to hunt down waves in the inconsistent line up. Despite the difficult conditions, Conlogue managed to score an excellent 8.33 ride after already securing a solid 5.67 backup score.
The top female surfers in the world will now prepare for their 5th stop in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the Billabong Rio Pro.
The TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival witnessed some exciting action over the past few days, including an impressive 10 point ride by Hurley‘s Lakey Peterson. More details of all the action are below with video recaps from round one and two.
Santa Barbara native, Lakey Peterson put on an excellent show at the TSB Bank New Zealand Surf Festival featuring the Dow AgroSciences Pro. During round one of competition, Peterson nailed a combination of backhand hacks to lock down a perfect 10 score and then backed it up with a solid score of 7.60 to place first in her heat.
“The waves got really fun, actually,” Peterson said. “It was bigger than it had been in the morning and I was really relaxed. It turned on right before we paddled out.”
“Bells was a good turning point for me and I came close but I was bummed to lose in the Semifinal,” Peterson said. “It’d feel great to win this event and finish off this leg on a high note. If the waves stay like this it’s going to be a fun event.”
Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons used a combination of forehand and backhand maneuvers to advance directly into round three.
“Conditions are improving and we were lucky to wait for tide to turn around,” Fitzgibbons said. “The wind is coming around and I think there will be some really exciting surfing at this event.”
Reigning TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival champion, Carissa Moore (HAW), is looking continuously dangerous as the women’s season advances into the fourth event. Moore took the heat win in round one for a strong start.
“It feels really good to advance straight through to Round 3,” Moore said. “The waves were a little slow and the conditions are a little tough, but the girls are all doing really well. I’m really excited for the next couple of days. I love New Zealand and I’m happy to be back here.”
South African rookie, Bianca Buitendag caused a major upset over ASP WCT ranked number one Tyler Wright (AUS).
“I just really wanted to skip that second round,” Buitendag said. “The last two or three months is the first time I’ve surfed three man heats where i have had to win the heat to get through, so i have been getting used to that. It’s my rookie year so I’m just finding my feet and it’s an exciting year for me.”
Both Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Sage Erickson (USA) were forced into round two after Coco Ho (HAW) came from behind in their round one battle.
“We got down here at dark and I was excited to get jersey on after Bells,” Ho said. “You never know what’s going to happen in these beachbreak conditions. You don’t have time to watch the other girls, so you just surf. I think I started last of all the girls in that heat. I didn’t get my heat going until later and it was close. I know Steph (Gilmore) can do anything and she ripped that last one.”
The Final heat of the event came down to Conlogue and Ho.
“I put in a lot of hard work between last year and this year and I’m stoked to have it paying off with a win,” Conlogue said. “I’ve felt like I’ve been surfing well all year and have been building momentum up until this point. Really happy about today.”
Conlogue’s win today bumps the young Californian from 5th to 3rd on the 2013 ASP Women’s WCT rankings, within striking distance of the world surfing crown throughout the back half of the season.
“We’re halfway through so there is still opportunity ahead,” Conlogue said. “Carissa (Moore) and Tyler (Wright) have had such strong starts to the season and didn’t have as strong performances here to it’s opened up the race a bit. I’m feeling confident in my surfing and I’m going to give it a good run in Brazil.”
Today’s Runner-Up finish marked a season best for Ho today, vaulting the young Hawaiian from 9th to 7th on the ASP Women’s WCT rankings.
“Bummed I couldn’t keep it going into the Final but Runner-Up is a great result for me and taking down some big names is a great confidence boost for me,” Ho said. “Best result in a long while and we’re heading into Brazil where I have done well in the past. I feel like I have been surfing well all year and it’s a relief to finally get a solid result. Boards are going really well and I’m looking forward to the next stop.”
For complete results, visit: www.aspworldtour.com