Port Taranaki Pro NZ Home Loans Surf Festival

Semifinalists Decided At the Port Taranaki Pro

Four surfers remain in contention for this year's World Surf League (WSL) Port Taranaki Pro Women's QS6000 as Rounds 5 through the Quarterfinals were completed in good, onshore 1.5 meter plus surf at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth.

Coco Ho (HAW) goes into the final day full of confidence following her win over Laura Enever (AUS) in the first Quarterfinal. Ho controlled the heat from start to finish after an excellent 8.07 early on, leaving last year's runner-up searching for gold.

"Laura (Enever) and I matched up on the Gold Coast too, we're developing a bit of a rivalry, but we're always friends once we hit the sand," Ho said. "I was so nervous, she caught a great wave and luckily for me she fell off because I know she's capable of big scores. I made the Final here a few years ago and I still think about how I wish I won that one. Hopefully I can make up for it tomorrow." said Ho.

Keely Andrew wins her Round 5 heat. Keely Andrew won a tight battle against fellow Queenslander Isabella Nichols. - WSL / Stephen Robertson

Tessa Thyssen (BLM) from a little known French region in the Caribbean has been flying under the radar at the event and surfed a strategically perfect heat to win Quarterfinal 2 over Bronte Macaulay (AUS).

"I can't believe this is happening!" Thyssen said. "I was having a really bad year up until now. I was losing in my first or second heat and now I'm in the Semis - I'm so happy. I'm from Saint Barts in the French Caribbean and New Zealand is a long way from home but I'm really enjoying my time here. I thought it would be colder but it's really nice. I can't believe I get to surf against Coco (Ho) in the Semis tomorrow, I've looked up to her for a long time. It will be a day to remember."

Quarterfinal 3 saw a very tight battle unfold with less than a point separating Sage Erickson (USA) over fellow Championship Tour competitor Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW).

"Being on the CT this year has taken some pressure off me at the QS events and I think it's helping me to perform," Erickson said. "This is only my second QS of the year and I finished 5th in Manly and I've at least got a 3rd here so it's feeling good. Tatiana (Weston-Webb) is a great competitor and she's been getting results lately so this heat gives me confidence and I learn from every heat. Hopefully I can go all the way and take the win tomorrow."

Isabella Nichols advancing to the Quarterfinals of the Port Taranaki Pro during the NZ Home Loans Surf Festival Isabella Nichols finished with an impressive equal 5th place. - WSL / Will H-S

Sunshine Coast Australian pair Isabella Nichols and Keely Andrew decided the final heat of another mammoth day of surfing. A top result is critical to both surfers who are desperately chasing qualification onto next year's Championship Tour and Andrew's came out on top, selecting better waves down the beach to advance to Semifinal 2 where she will face Sage Erickson.

More info, results and imagery available here - www.surffest.co.nz