Essential Costa Rica Open

Women's Top Seeds Debut in Dominating Fashion at Esterillos Este

Andrew Nichols

Critical Day of Competitions Unfolds in Costa Rica
An intense Day 4 of action at the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 determined Quarterfinalists for both the men and women with qualification hopes on the line.

Finals day is set for the women in Costa Rica and contenders in attendance vying for a spot toward Championship Tour qualification all remain. Top seeds made their debuts in Round 2 of women's competition and proved to be nearly too much for fellow competitors with brilliant performances throughout the day.

Former CT competitor and current WQS No. 10 Justine Dupont edged her way out of her Round 2 debut, but found her form in Round 3 with a blistering 8.93 on her forehand to close out the heat. The French competitor looks to drop her lowest result, an Equal 17th in El Salvador, for a chance to find herself back in the qualification picture heading into the final events of 2016.

Justine Dupont (FRA) winning her Round 3 heat at the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 Dupont's backhand proved a deadly threat to her fellow competitors and Mahina Maeda will look to answer back in Quarterfinal Heat 1. - WSL / Johan Pacheco

"I felt like I was in good form during my free surfs, but that first heat was tricky to find a good one and didn't surf so well," Dupont said. "This heat was going that same way until the last minutes when I found that really good one which was great to show my surfing. "It's coming down to just a few events to get qualification points so we're all hoping for a big result."

Fellow Frenchmen and current No. 8 Pauline Ado boasted an even more electrifying performance with an excellent 16.43 heat total. After a close Round 2 heat, Ado came back firing on all cylinders and looked unstoppable posting an 8.83 as her opening score with powerful turns in the critical sections of the wave. Despite winning the Pro Zarautz, Ado's 1,000 points for that victory will need to be forgotten if she is to make her way back to the CT.

Pauline Ado (FRA) winning her Round 3 heat at the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 Ado had a great Euro leg that she is now trying to translate into the final stretch of the year in hopes of getting back on the Dream Tour -- taking on Anali Gomez in Quarterfinal Heat 2 to start. - WSL / Johan Pacheco

""The first heat is always a bit tricky and I was feeling a bit nervous so going into the second round I just wanted to find a good rhythm," Ado said. "It ended up being really fun and found a really good one in the beginning which gave me a lot of confidence in that heat. This is a unique event with the CT happening at the same time so it opens up some opportunity and my goal is always to improve my points."

Silvana Lima opened her account in Round 2 with an excellent 8.67 to take charge of her heat and continue that momentum into Round 3 with another victory. The Brazilian's signature speed and power paved the way for a terrific performance that has her into another final day of competition with a chance to solidify herself within the Top 6.

"It's so fun out there and it just reminds me so much of home with the warm water and good beachbreak so I'm really happy," Lima said. "It's my first time here and I'm really looking to get some points. To make another finals day is amazing with my board working so great and the support of my friends here. If I get a result here then I'll feel a lot more relaxed heading into the last few events so that's definitely my goal, but it's so important to keep my head on the next heat."

Silvana Lima (BRA) winning her Round 2 heat at the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 Lima's fall off tour lit a fire under her this year and now finds herself back within striking distance of re-qualification -- beginning with Quarterfinal Heat 3 against former CT threat Paige Hareb. - WSL / Johan Pacheco

Mahina Maeda has a solid year going on the QS and today showed she's a force not to be put on the back-burner. The Hawaiian posted an excellent 8.50 en route to a big Round 2 win and claimed runner-up behind Ado's blinding performance in Round 3. Looking for a second victory in 2016, Maeda is into the Quarterfinals with plenty of momentum.

"Throughout the heat it's consistently changing so it's difficult to keep up, but I found that big opening turn which I feel judges are looking for so that was good," Maeda said. "I've been having a really slow year and hopefully with these last few events just get my seeding up for next year. That first heat gave me a lot of confidence going forward and wave selection is a huge factor -- it's great to be out there with all the girls in this one."

Mahina Maeda (HAW) winning her Round 2 heat at the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 Maeda currently sits at No. 21 on the QS and will build on that moving into the final three events of the year. - WSL / Johan Pacheco Alyssa Spencer (USA) earning runner-up in her Round 3 heat at the Essential Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 13-year-old Alyssa Spencer continued to turn heads and earned a Quarterfinal Heat 4 appearance against Hawaiian QS threat Brianna Cope. - WSL / Johan Pacheco

Quarterfinal action begins with the women and a 7:30 a.m. local time call for a possible 8:00 a.m. start to get Finals day underway. Tune in live beginning at 8:00 a.m. to see who will be crowned this year's inaugural Essential Costa Rica Open Pro Women's QS3,000 champion.