After the cancellation of the Roxy Pro Biarritz, the race for the women’s World Title is still up for grabs as the they fight through third to the last event of the year. The Vans US Open of Surfing is worth valuable points for female athletes as an ASP WCT event, so expect the competitors to strive in surf city USA even though the event will not crown a World Champ. The Roxy Pro has been rescheduled to coincide with the Men’s Quiksilver Pro France to finish off the season. News of the rescheduling comes as welcome relief to the world’s best female surfers, all anticipating eight elite events this season in which they would do battle.
“We’re totally at the mercy of mother nature and she didn’t come to the party this week,” Tyler Wright, ASP Women’s WCT rankings leader said. “It’s a really unique situation so I’m thankful to ASP and Roxy that we get to come back to the Southwest of France. I love the croissants and I’m sure we’ll get some great waves in September.”
This brings us to the next event, the US Open of Surfing. In the past, the Women’s World Champion was crowned in Huntington Beach, however now the women have another opportunity to gain vital points in the world title race.
World ranked #1, Tyler Wright (AUS) will no doubt begin to feel the pressure of being the front runner when she tries to hold on to her ranking in front of the largest crowd of any event. Can she keep it together in this crazy environment? History has shown that Huntington Beach can change the outcome of a season very quickly. The crowds are loud and knowledgeable and can overwhelm even the most seasoned veterans. They can also energize and help separate the true prime time players.
One surfer who is familiar with this boisterous crowd is Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). Currently ranked #5 and with three events left, she can easily find her way to the world championship. Suffering a stable fracture of the Calcaneus in her left foot during the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach, she has had time to heal and get better. Although she was set to compete this past week in France, the extra time off before The US Open and the rescheduling of the Roxy Pro will work to her advantage as the season wears on. Gilmore has been there before, five time and defending world champion, her road to #1 may very well begin in Huntington Beach CA.
Carissa Moore (HAW) the current #2 ranked women’s surfer is not far behind and a good showing in Huntington Beach can easily catapult her into the #1 ranking with two events to follow. You have to think that the rescheduling of the Roxy Pro Biarritz will benefit Moore as well. She has won two events this season, Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach and The Drug Aware Margaret River Pro and has also been one of the few who have conquered Huntington Beach, winning the US Open of Surfing in 2010 and finishing as the runner up last year. She will not be flustered by the activity of the crowd and knows the waves of Huntington well.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) is the #3 ranked surfer on the world tour and has experienced the thrill of the US Open of Surfing, winning the event in 2011. Fitzgibbons has also been the ASP world tour runner-up for the last 3 years, and is looking to finally break through and win her first world title. Although she hasn’t won an event this year, Sally has quietly accumulated points with her consistency as she has finished 2nd or 3rd in four of the five world tour events this year.
Defending US Open Champion, Lakey Peterson (USA) is currently ranked 6th but will be very dangerous. Hailing from Santa Barbara, Peterson will have a large fan section of locals. If there is one event that you can say a surfer owns, this could very well be it for Lakey Peterson. She was not only the runner up in 2011 but the junior champion that year as well! In 2010, her first appearance, she was 3rd. Another win here could put her catapult her into the top 3.
Another local favorite, 2009 US Open of Surfing winner Courtney Conlogue (USA), who happens to be ranked #4 in the world can make waves with a win here. Conlogue knows Huntington Beach the best as her local break as she was raised in Santa Ana. She has surfed here more than any other female competitor on the WCT and will use that experience and the home crowd energy to fight for the win. Along with Tyler Wright and Carissa Moore, Conlogue is the only other women’s competitor that has a world tour event win this year.
The winner claims 10,000 points towards the world championship. The difference between first (Wright) and fourth (Conlogue) right now is less than 8000 points. With three events left, the world title can go to anyone and the race is far from over. The Vans US Open of Surfing will begin narrowing down the title possibilities. Keep checking TheSurfChannel.com for regular updates and original images!