With Main Break pumping double-overhead, the women's Championship Tour (CT) surfers had more to deal with than just their opponents. Cleanup sets plowed the lineup and most of the opening heats were spent battling the elements. It came down to who could maximize the little time they had above water. In Round 1, it was the Tour veterans.
Lakey Peterson (USA) won the opening heat with just two waves, earning midrange scores on either side of a heavy hold-down. With the wind shifting and the takeoff zone exposed, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) found the first nine-point ride of the event with two powerful bottom turns on a clean left while current Jeep rankings leader Carissa Moore (HAW) was able to keep her composure on a bumpy right to combo the field in Heat 3.
"Preparation is key, especially at a wave like Margaret River," said Fitzgibbons. "There's a lot going on and a lot to think about but I really enjoyed the challenge out there today. We got out there nice and early just to get a feel of the lineup. It was a pretty intense experience to out there just meters away while the first heat copped a few sets on the head. It was good to see them get back up and get out there for another one."
And so it went. All six top seeds advanced directly to Round 3 and current World No. 3 Tyler Wright (AUS) put another nine-point-range score on the board before the day's end. Her two-wave total of 16.74 was the highest of Round 1.
With the women's Tour leaders all advancing directly to Round 3, Round 2 should showcase some intense heats and closer battles with the bottom 11 surfers. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), who are tied at No. 12 on the overall rankings, will face off in the first heat. Rookie sensation Tatiana Weston-Webb will take on Tour vet Laura Enever (AUS) in Heat 5.
Watch all the action unfold LIVE when competition resumes on worldsurfleague.com and the WSL app.