Coco Ho arrived in Portugal ranked No.15 on the Jeep Leaderboard, well out of the requalification picture on the Championship Tour.
But on Thursday Ho made her first Semifinal of the year at the Cascais Women's Pro. It's the latest indication that Ho, who had a rough start to the year, is mounting a serious second-half comeback.
Ho faced Lakey Peterson in her Round Four match-up. Peterson was a finalist last year at Cascais, and has been surfing well ever since returning from an ankle injury she suffered earlier this year. Despite it being a relatively low scoring affair, Coco's smarts got her through.
She followed with a huge upset win over 3-time world champ Carissa Moore in the Quarterfinal. The Quarterfinal was much more of a slug fest, that Ho ended up winning by a narrow half-point margin. Ho earned the nod by aggressively attacking the meaty sections being served by Guincho, while Carissa struggled to capitalize on her opportunities.
Coco eventually lost out to event winner Courtney Conlogue in the Semifinals, but her 3rd place result lifted her to No. 13 on the CT, just three spots out of requalifying. That said, there's 5600 points between her and No. 10 ranked Laura Enever. Only the Top 10 surfers requalify via the CT.
Ho finds herself in a similar situation on the QS, where she's ranked No. 9, three spots below the qualification cut there. On the plus side, she's only 1800 points behind the current Silvana Lima, the current No. 6 (the Top 6 on the QS qualify for next year's CT).
One other thing helping Ho's cause on that front is three of the ladies in front of her are already qualifying through the CT. As of today Malia Manuel, Sage Erickson and Laura Enever are making the CT cut. If nothing changed from here on out, Coco would actually sneak in as the 6th QS qualifier. But the reality is that's a very unlikely "if". Ho still has plenty of work to do, and with her 3rd place result at the CT event in Portugal she's opened a new door to save her CT slot.