The second round of the women’s competition at the Vans US Open of Surfing ran today in 2-3ft surf. The changing conditions left many of the athletes hanging and forced some scratching for vital points at the end of each heat.
In the first heat, Paige Hareb (NZL) faced off with Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in an anticipated and what looked to be like an evenly matched heat. Buitendag started with a strong 7.50 and never looked back, winning the heat and moving on to round three with a heat total of 14.50. Hareb was the first to be eliminated in this year’s contest, and will look to regroup as the season rolls on.
Heat two produced a solid matchup that came down to the wire. Coco Ho (HAW) and Rebecca Woods (AUS) put on a great display of maneuvers despite the inconsistent waves and challenging, scattered sets. Woods scratched to maintain the lead as she took advantage of one last ride when the heat time expired, but it wouldn’t be enough to defeat Ho’s final heat score of 11.80. Ho will move onto the next round of competition.
Tyler Wright (AUS) would take her current world number one ranking into heat three of the second round after being upset in round one. She found that Leila Hurst (HAW) was a very worthy adversary as they matched each other wave for wave throughout the heat. Hurst started strong with her first two waves scoring a 6.33 and a 5.67. Wright didn’t cave under the pressure and managed put together back to back strong waves after a slow start to take a slim lead as the heat closed out.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) had the task of facing the tough and experienced Sofia Mulanovich(PER). The crafty South American made it clear she was here to win putting up early scores of 6.67 and 7.50. Gilmore responded just in time by posting a 7.27 on her final wave to catch Mulanovich and move on to the next round. In yet another close heat, Gilmore takes the win 15.20 to Mulanovich’s 14.17.
The fifth heat was dubbed by the fans on the pier “the battle of Santa Barbara” as local favorites and friends Lakey Peterson (USA) and Sage Erickson (USA) faced off in a very anticipated match up. Peterson started off strong and showed consistency throughout the heat by putting up the best score of the day, a very solid 16.76 that was capped off by a single wave score of 8.93.
The sixth and last heat of the morning saw Laura Enever (AUS) and Malia Manual (HAW) face off to decide who would advance. Both competitors waited patiently for the right ways to come their way and Manuel would put the pressure on early with second and third wave scores of 7.50 and 7.77 for a heat total of 15.27. Enever waited until the last few minutes to respond, wrapping up the heat strong and edging out Manuel 16.37 to 15.27.
Spectators were treated to thrilling finishes and tension filled buzzer beaters as the winners moved on to round three. More action will be on LIVE tomorrow at the Vans US Open of Surfing 2013.