In challenging conditions at Praia do Guincho, upsets defined the competition on a day that was so windy that many competitors didn't know their scores until they got back to the beach. Add to that the impact of each win and loss on the Jeep Leaderboard for both the requalification picture and the World Title race, and the Top 17 faced a perfect storm of tension, high stakes and physical challenge.
Three of the four Round 4 matchups saw underdogs defeat their higher-ranked opponents, in a rollercoaster day for World Title contenders Carissa Moore (HAW) and Courtney Conlogue (USA). With only three events left in the season -- including Cascais -- tension was palpable.
Taking on Lakey Peterson (USA) in her second heat of the day, Moore looked shaky. Her waves didn't last long, and her turns lacked the power that she's known for. Peterson was able to oust the No. 1 surfer in the world with a single-wave score of 6.00.
That left the door open for Conlogue to overtake Moore in the rankings, but rough conditions and in-form, lower-ranked surfers made for a rocky road. First, in Round 4, she had a see-saw battle with Dimity Stoyle (AUS) that went down to the wire, where the women traded heat leads twice. The final score went to Conlogue, keeping her yellow jersey hopes alive.
In the Quarters, Conlogue took on Australian Nikki Van Dijk. Van Dijk had her in a combo situation early in the heat, in which Conlogue needed two new scores to catch up. But Conlogue broke the day's trend of upsets when she scored a near-perfect 9.67 for precise cutbacks all the way to the sand. She won the heat in the final minutes, and will move on to the Semifinals. She's now just one heat away from the overtaking the No. 1 position on the Jeep Leaderboard.