The women’s CT took center stage today in Huntington Beach, at the Van’s US Open of Surfing with some big upsets in the opening round. Although the first round is a non elimination round, it can shape how a surfer approaches the contest if they have to surf the extra round. Now a handful of top seeds will have to surf one more round to progress through the contest. For some, fitness will become a key factor as the contest moves on.
Starting off the round one action was Sally Fitzgibbons along with Keely Andrew and Malia Manuel who was coming off a big weekend as she was the Supergirl Pro runner up in Oceanside CA. Her hot streak continued as she pulled out the round one win sending Fitzgibbons and Andrew to the second round while she gets a much needed round off.
Round two was a very competitive heat that went back and forth until the very end. Johanne Defay who is the reigning Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing Champion had a very tough draw with her good Friend Bianca Buitendag and Coco Ho challenging her. It was not to be for the defending chanp as Coco Ho gets past Bianca Buitendag by a hair winning the heat with a 12.37 over Bianca’s 12.34. Defay was relagated to third place and faces an uphill battle to reclaim her title.
World ranked number one, Courtney Conlogue ran into a buzzsaw in the form of Sage Erickson, who took the heat and continues her hot streak. Wild card winner Meah Collins was also ultra competitive and showed no fear as she charged throughout her first ever CT round but it would not be enough to surpass the world tour veterans. Meah will be a very dangerous round two draw for whoever has to go against her.
Tyler Wright fought her way to the top of heat four besting Nikki Van Dijk and Chelsea Tuach. It was a very back and forth heat with all three ladies holding onto first place at some point in the heat. When the hot potato stopped Tyler wright was the one who took it home.
Lakey Peterson made her return after nursing a broken ankle that has kept her sidelined for the first half of the year. IT was not supposed to be an easy task as she drew Carissa Moore and Laura Enever in her heat. Lakey was not phased and put everyone on notice that she is back by winning her heat in convincing fashion. Carissa will be in unfamiliar territory as she looks to avoid elimination in round two.
The days high score came in round six as Tatiana Weston-Webb surfed strong and consistent to give herself a round off while Alessa Quizon and Steph Gilmore will have to fight to stay alive in a very challenging elimination round two.
With all of the highly ranked surfers being sent to round two, look for some great heats as the not so usual suspects look to stay alive and move on to round three, while some other round two participants look to get that breakthrough win and another upset to the list this year.