Silvana Lima (Ceará, Brazil) has torn through the star studded field to claim victory at the ASP 6-Star Qualifying Series (QS) Port Taranaki Pro on the final day of the New Zealand Home Loans Surf Festival. Hundreds of surf fans lined the shores at Fitzroy Beach, Taranaki to watch a selection of the world’s best female surfers battle for all-important ASP QS ranking points and prize-money in reeling three foot (1 metre) lefts and rights.
Lima was sitting in 2nd place with only three minutes left of the 30 minute final, she chased down a left and unloaded a barrage of tight and technical turns, the wave scored an 8.00 and Lima stole the win from Laura Enever’s grasp. Lima was on the Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour for seven years until re-occurring knee injuries saw her drop off last year but the innovative Brazilian is back to her best and on track for a return in 2015 after claiming No. 1 spot on the ASP QS rankings.
“I haven’t been in a Final for three years because of my injured knee and it feels so good to be back,” Lima said. “This has been a great event for me, I don’t like the cold but I love New Zealand. I just really want to thank everyone at this event and everyone who has supported me. I’m getting closer to being back on the WCT next year, I just need to stay fit and focused.”
Laura Enever (North Narrabeen, NSW/AUS) was on fire in her Quarterfinal and Semifinal clashes, attacking the lip with speed, power and flair and netting excellent scores for her troubles. In the Final it looked like she had the win, sitting in 1st place with only three minutes to go, but was leapfrogged by Lima. Enever had one last chance, taking off on a nice wave with four seconds remaining on the clock, she fell on her second turn and handed victory to Lima.
“I’ve been trying to search for that competitive fire that I used to have and I feel like I found it today,” Enever said. “I used to make a lot of Finals, but I lost the flair or fire and it feels so great to be posting good scores and surfing good heats again. It would have been good to come away with the win but Silvana (Lima) got me in the end.”
Sage Erickson (CA, USA) lost out to Lima in the Semifinals finishing the event with her second 3rd place finish on the ASP QS for 2014. Erickson now moves into fourth on the ASP QS rankings and has her eyes firmly focussed on reclaiming a spot on the ASP WCT.
“It’s a long season ahead, I definitely feel good about this one,” Erickson said. “Semifinals is a really good result, I lost in my first heat in Manly and then made the Semis in Newcastle. It’s a little bittersweet, I want to do one heat better and get into the final and I would really like to solidify that spot on the WCT for next year. I knew that Silvana (Lima) was going to be tough competition, she’s just so good in beach breaks and small conditions so I knew it was going to be tough and I’ll just take this one on the chin and hopefully go one better in the next event.”
Tatiana Weston-Webb (Hawaii), who won the Chain Resources Pro Junior two days ago had to settle for 3rd place in the Port Taranaki Pro after she was eliminated by a red-hot Enever in the Semifinals. Weston-Webb was one of the in-form surfers of the event, consistently posting big scores with her fast and powerful brand of surfing.
“I came into this event trying to have fun and that’s what I did,” Weston-Webb said. “I really want to make a QS final, so that’s my goal for 2014. My first two events weren’t too good, so this event I really wanted to try and get a good result and now I have a lot more confidence going into the other events. Hopefully I’ll make the WCT but we’ll see. I’m stepping in for Courtney Conlogue as an injury replacement because I finished last year as an alternate so I’m going to the Rio WCT after this.”
PORT TARANAKI PRO FINAL RESULT:
1st Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.17 def. 2nd Laura Enever (AUS) 13.43
PORT TARANAKI PRO SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 16.87 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 11.50
SF2: Laura Enever (AUS) 17.26 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 8.93
PORT TARANAKI PRO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 16.20 def. Alize Arnaud (FRA) 14.73
QF 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 17.17 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 13.04
QF 3: Laura Enever (AUS) 17.46 def. Justine Dupont (FRA) 14.00
QF 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.33 def. Leila Hurst (HAW) 14.00