The semi-final stage is set for the women in Huntington Beach at the Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing. If you have been following then you already know that your fantasy picks are probably wrecked. The top three ranked surfers in the world, Steph Gilmore (AU), Sally Fitzgibbons (AU), and Tyler Wright (AU) are all gone. None of them getting out of the quarter finals. All three of these ladies were dispatched by confident upstarts Coco Ho (HAW), who took out Tyler Wright and Sage Erickson (USA) who sent Sally Fitzgibbons home earlier than expected. Throw in trials winner Maud Le Car (FRA) who got past Gilmore in round two. Both Coco How and Sage Erickson will move onto the semi- finals where they will face more of the big guns on the world tour. Coco Ho matches up with fellow Hawaiian Tatiana Weston-Webb in what should be a classic. Sage will see a familiar face in Courtney Conlogue (USA), who she has faced twice in the last week, splitting those match ups with Courtney taking the finals of the Supergirl Pro last week in Oceanside, and Sage getting the win in their first round match up in Huntington Beach.
The first quarterfinal heat of the day featured the last two Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing winners, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Johanne Defay. It was a back and forth match-up with an aggressive Tatiana Weston-Webb edging out Defay 12.80 to 11.90. After a rocky start to the 2017 season, Weston-Webb is starting to catch fire and move up the rankings. Defay will regroup and come back to California for the next event at Lowers ready to get back on track.
Heat two of the quarterfinals started with a bang and went back and forth for the entire round, with the last wave as time ran out deciding the outcome. Coco Ho wasted no time putting the pressure on reigning world champion and number one ranked Tyler Wright as she raced to a lead at the opening horn putting up a solid 7.83. Tyler Continued to answer forcing Coco to pull out one more wave at the end to secure an upset win of 12.86 to12.50 in what so far is the biggest win of her year.
The third heat gained more importance to Sally Fitzgibbons who would have a chance to move into number one in the world rankings if she could win out in Huntington Beach. Usually calm under pressure, Sally was quickly put on notice by Sage Erickson who raced out to a lead and then masterfully used her priority to keep Sally Fitzgibbons at bay. As the heat went on the waves seemed to vanish and time ran out on Fitzgibbons, as a confident and crafty Sage Erickson pulls out a close win, 10.74 to 9.10
In the last quarterfinal of the day Pauline Ado (FRA) came in looking for a big win of her own as she matched up with number four in the world, Courtney Conlogue. Little was left to the imagination in ths one as Courney confidently put things out of reach fairly quickly. Pauline did not have an answer and fell victim to Conlgue at her home break 14.87 to 10-47. This however would be Ado’s best finish of the year as she claimed an equal ninth place in Huntington Beach
Down to four women who have all taken different paths to the semi-finals. Aggression, speed and power, cunning and wit and of course, confidence will be on display as these ladies charge toward a Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing title.