The World Surf League (WSL) Women's Qualifying Series (QS) Copa El Salvador Impresionante QS6000 presented by Body Glove got back in the water for a breathtaking day of surfing. The top seeds made their debut in defining fashion and posted numerous excellent scores (meaning they ranged from an 8 - 10). Ripping through Round 3 in its entirety before completing heats 1-4 of Round 4, the women put on a showcase at Punta Roca heat after heat.
Defending champion Sage Erickson (USA) was in great form as she looks to retain her title here at Punta Roca. The Ventura, Calif., native posted the event's highest single-scoring wave with a 9.57 (out of a possible 10) and then went on to top that in Round 4 with a 9.73. Earning the event's highest total thus far in the process, an 18.13 (out of a possible 20), Erickson continued her form and finds herself back into the Quarterfinals.
"It was really exciting and interesting at the same time going out there," Erickson said. "The conditions this morning weren't quite what they were the last two days so I was excited to be part of the last few heats. I knew that last wave was going to be a good one just the way it was coming in and the shape. I didn't do my warmup this morning and just watched the waves. There's a lot of opportunity and luckily got that one really good one that let me open up."
Alessa Quizon (HAW) put on a backhand showcase of high-performance surfing, posting a brilliant 17.80. Currently sitting outside the cutoff for both the Samsung Galaxy Women's Championship Tour (CT), she's looking for a big result here and showing she's prepared for the challenge. The Hawaiian took full advantage of the pristine conditions later in the afternoon after waiting for her opening heat in Round 3.
"I haven't had the opportunity to surf waves like this in a while so it felt great to perform in such good waves," Quizon said. "It was amazing to really open up like that on a perfect wave, it really helped to take the pressure off. I was just trying to have fun and enjoy myself in the lineup, it feels like a free-surf out there with so many good waves coming through. I wanted to surf so bad looking at the conditions the last few days, it's been so amazing and stoked to get a chance to surf more."
Posting some incredible numbers of her own, fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel (HAW) debuted well here with a 16.96 heat total in Round 3. Manuel has grown fond of this place after her first visit last year and is keen on spreading the word to the all the CT competitors about its potential.
"All of the opportunities really helped relax the nerves since it's the first heat, which is always the hardest," she said. "You're waiting all week to paddle out and get that first one out of the way, but the conditions were so perfect. This is probably the best stop on the QS and I always look forward to surfing righthand pointbreaks. It was nice to open up and even with the high tide, you just had to maneuver around it a bit and find that sweet spot in the wave to get in a big turn."
Pauline Ado (FRA) put in an excellent performance for her Round 3 heat and will await her next bout tomorrow morning in Round 4. Turning in an 8.33 and 8.17 right away, Ado lit up the Punta Roca lineup and is vying for a big result here in El Salvador. The medical team on site had to assist her, after she had a run-in with the rocks, but she appeared to bounce back quickly.
"I felt really good out there after getting some free surfs in and that heat was probably my best surf yet," Ado said. "My first two waves were the good ones so I wanted to wait and try to find something similar to end that heat on. I didn't really find the opportunity but it was so fun and I'll be trying to do it again in the next ones. When I came in there was a wave that pushed me on the rocks and I got a few cuts but it's okay, I'm just so happy."
Coming off a big win in last week's Los Cabos Open of Surf, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) turned in two winning performances during today's action. Posting an excellent 8.23 in her Round 3 heat, the Australian put on a dominant backhand display and carried that into the final heat of the day in Round 4. Macaulay has found her comfort zone in the lineup and looking to take top honors on the Latin American leg.
"I wanted to get surf so badly every day, it's been so perfect out there and I'm super excited to win both those heats," Macaulay said. "I'm always a bit nervous with the first heat jitters but after the opening rides I felt really comfortable out there and was able to really dig into some turns. I can't wait to get back in the water and get some more practice in. Even with a crowd this wave is so amazing and it's so hard to get out of the water. Last year I had one of my best results of the year and it was my favorite trip so to be back here is such a great feeling."
WSL North America Wildcard Meah Collins (USA) lived up to the title and topped CT surfer Laura Enever (AUS) in their Round 3 debut. Taking down event standouts Sophie McCulloch (AUS) and Ellie-Jean Coffey (AUS) in the process, Collins is into Round 4 with plenty of momentum -- despite battling illness.
"It's so amazing to get out there and I'm just thanking the Lord for my health right now," Collins said. "It was so tough yesterday not making it out of bed once and coming into that heat it felt great to get some waves. I started off pretty slow which made me a little nervous but to get those last two scores was amazing. I just put my head down and let the adrenaline kick in, and ended up making it so I'm just super stoked to be surfing again."
A 7:30 am MDT call will determine a possible 8:00 am MDT start tomorrow morning. Tune in live for all the action at www.worldsurfleague.com, or download the WSL App and stream it on your mobile device, and get all the updates from this year's Copa El Salvador Impresionante Women's QS6000.