The Copa El Salvador Impresionate presented by Body Glove, a women's QS 6,000 event, saw a showcase of incredible surfing from the world's best in beautiful Punta Roca waves today. Top seeds dominated the lineup, with nearly all Championship Tour (CT) surfers advancing.
Malia Manuel (HAW) unleashed her high-performance surfing and posted the highest heat total of Round 2 with a 17.17 (out of a possible 20). Laying into the fast pace right-handed pointbreak, Manuel was flying through sections with critical maneuvers worthy of a 9.17.
"My strategy was to find a longer wave that I could open up on and get a few good maneuvers in," Manuel said. "I didn't hear it was a nine but it felt really good and I think my equipment has been a big key to that."
Manuel has become one of the women to beat in QS events, and that was evident here in El Salvador. With only a handful of people in the lineup, she was beaming with confidence and carried that through Round 3 where she once again advanced.
"Sometimes a pointbreak can be perfect but inconsistent, but we had a really fun heat," Manuel said. "I was so stoked to be surfing this wave with only three other girls out -- it's incredible. Even if there weren't really big sets it was good to hug the point and get a couple of good ones."
Fellow Hawaiian Alessa Quizon put on a clinic in Round 2, dropping a contest-high 9.57 single-wave score en route posting an excellent heat total of 16.47. The Hawaiian came out charging and showed no signs of letting up, enjoying her time in the water the entire heat.
"It's pretty tricky out there because it's changing a lot but it's so fun," Quizon said. "It felt really good to be on a great wave -- it's been awhile. I'm just having fun out there. Toward the end I didn't even know what my scores were, I just thought here's another right and it's perfect."
Quizon continued to find those perfect rights, advancing from her Round 3 heat with more impressive surfing. She has a lot of momentum going forward and is looking to post a good result here in La Libertad.
"It feels really good to win another heat and keep going," Quizon said. "It was pretty tough out there in the lower tide but hoping for more fun ones in the morning. I noticed there wasn't much opportunity out there so you had to make the best of it and stoked to make another round."
Continuing to show that she is a force on the QS, CT wildcard Keely Andrew (AUS) found two gems for an 8.50 and 8.23. The Australian was nervous coming into this event, but after getting into her rhythm she looked unstoppable.
"The first wave of the first heat is always nerve-racking for me," Andrew said. "The first one I took off on I just wanted to shake off a few nerves. To get that out of the way now I hope to move forward more with more confidence. For the rest of the day I get to relax, hydrate, and take what I learned from this heat and put that into tomorrow -- it's a brand new day."
Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), the only rookie on the women's CT this year, took full advantage of the conditions during Round 3, putting up an 8.50 before backing it with an 8.17. The Hawaiian was excited for the waves on hand, despite the slow start, looking composed and confident on each ride.
"I was actually really worried in the beginning," Weston-Webb said. "There weren't a lot of waves and I felt shaky because I fell on the first one. Sitting for about 10 minutes there were finally two sets that came through and I got both of them -- still pretty shaky but felt strong on the first few turns. I'm so stoked to have this board shaped by Tim Carroll, it's performing absolutely amazing on this point break and feels great."
Currently No. 1 on the women's QS rankings, Weston-Webb is proving why she sits atop the ratings with her strong goofyfooted style and eye for sections to pick apart. Advancing into the action tomorrow, the young Hawaiian hopes to keep that momentum going.
"I feel really good about my backhand right now," Weston-Webb said. "There's always room for improvement, but I think I'm surfing with some of my best technique at the moment. This is definitely one of my strong suits and I'm really stoked about tomorrow."
Tune in live on worldsurfleague.com or the WSL app at 8 a.m. CST as Round 3 continues.