The Women’s elimination round four delivered more excitement than the average person could handle first thing in the morning. The Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach gave a loud wake up call to surfing enthusiast on the shoreline and watching live via webcast. Every heat was down to the wire. With inconsistent waves strategy and priority were the most important factors for the worlds best women’s surfers.
In a low scoring yet ultra exciting round one, Sally Fitzgibbons and Sage Erickson worked hard to make the best of what mother nature offered, trading the lead back and forth. They squeezed the best of what they could with the waves that were available. Sage opened up scoring with a 4.5 and nursed a lead for most of the heat. Sally eventually answered with a 5.67 to put her in the lead with under 10 minutes to go. With time running out Sage would need a 5.9 or better to pull ahead an win the heat. She was able to find a nice frame to work with getting in a couple of nice turns. With time running out the judges scores came through, 6.07 would be the score and Sage will move on to the quarter finals by the slimmest of margins scoring a 10.57 to best Sally Fitzgibbons score of 10.40! Sage will face her local rival Lakey Peterson in the quarterfinals.
Tatiana Weston-Webb next took on Laura Enever in the second heat. The trend continued with inconsistent waves and both world class surfers making the most of every wave. Tatiana’s best early score of 6.33 got things going and Laura answered with a solid 6.13 to keep pace. After trading some waves back and forth, Tatiana would put the heat on ice with a very nice 7.83. Another close heat with Tatiana Weston-Webb’s final score of 14.16 being just enough to end Laura Enever’s run as she could only come up with a 13.00. Tatiana will now focus on knocking off number on ranked Courtney Conlogue in the quarter finals.
Heat three would change the landscape for the rest of the contest. In yet another close heat, the upstart young surfer from Australia, Keely Andrew pulls off on of the big upsets of the Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing, slipping by the reigning world champion Carissa Moore. A huge win for Keely by the margin of only .36! With an equal ninth place finish, Carissa will take a big hit in the rankings after this event, while Keely begins to surge. She gets another tough draw in the quarter finals facing fellow Australian and world title contender Tyler Wright.
In the day’s final heat for the women’s CT in Huntington Beach, Coco Ho and Malia Manuel continued the nail biting excitement as the went at each other wave for wave. It would be the final scoring waves of both surfers to determine who moves on. The judges reviewed and added to the drama and when the wait was over Coco Ho would get a score of 5.73. It would not be enough as Malia Manuel gets a 6.60 to edge out Coco. Malia earns the last spot in the quarter finals to face the always dangerous Stephanie Gilmore.
The heats are getting tighter and starting in the quarterfinals it is win or go home for these surfers, so expect them to hold nothing back. With the upsets that have already occurred, the world rankings are going to be shaken up. Some newer faces are on the rise and the ladies at the top will be feeling the pressure.