It was a long-overdue win at the Essental Costa Rica Open Pro QS3,000 for Silvana Lima after earning two runner-ups in Los Cabos and El Salvador earlier this year. The win may be just what she needs to solidify herself for Championship Tour qualification -- though two major events remain on the 2016 schedule.
In an all-former CT bout between Pauline Ado and Lima, the Brazilian struck first with a low 4.83 and backed it right up with a 6.33. But, Ado stayed right behind her with a 4.17 before the two had a critical exchange that witnessed Lima post an excellent 8.00 to Ado's 6.83. But, Lima shut the door on Ado with a massive air-reverse to earn an 8.57 and then ended with an 8.83 to combo the Frenchmen for a huge win.
"I'm just so stoked right now to finally get a big win this year and get some really important points," Lima said. "I gave that Final more than my one-hundred percent. This win is such a relief because now I can spend time at home instead of going to Japan and prepare for the event in Australia. It feels amazing to come to an event with my goals in mind and be standing here able to say that I did my job and completed that goal."
The win projects Lima in to No. 4 on the QS, surpassing Keely Andrew and Sage Erickson with her chances of CT re-qualification now nearly solidified. Her campaign to victory began with a win over another former CT competitor Paige Hareb and QS hopeful Brianna Cope in the Semifinals.
"I love competing," Lima continued. "It's my life and I love it. I haven't even thought about life after competition yet because each event gets me so fired up -- I just love it. I'll go to Indonesia for some training and really get set for Australia so I'm hoping to go there more than prepared. There's still some CT girls who are on the border of qualifying and will be in that event so it's going to be a great one over there."
Pauline Ado's runner-up performance pushes her to No. 7 on the Women's WQS Rankings over Laura Enever (AUS) after an incredible run in Costa Rica. Ado took down Peruvian threat Anali Gomez in the Quarterfinals before doing battle with event threat Mahina Maeda in a critical Semifinal. Though a win would've helped her CT qualification cause all the more, Ado came out of the water with a smile on her face and determination for the next event.
"When you're in the final you always want to win but I'm happy with that result," Ado said. "Silvana [Lima] was just on fire and I got that one left which felt good to really push on, but I think I should've given myself more opportunities. I'm improving my points which is a good thing and I'll try to keep this momentum going through the end of the year."
Brianna Cope posted her best result of 2016 here in Costa Rica with a bittersweet Semifinal finish after Lima dispatched her. It was a slow Semifinal for the Kauai-native, only posting a 7.93 heat total after eliminating Alyssa Spencer in the Quarterfinals that saw multiple lead changes.
"This hasn't been the greatest year for me, but coming here and getting into the Semifinals -- I'm psyched with that fun event," Cope said. "I got a little lost in that heat thinking I was too deep from the area and that got me mentally out of whack. But, it feels so good to get my ratings up and keep going onto the next one in Japan. I just want to finish the year strong and have fun over there -- it's great to get a result."
Mahina Maeda clinched a Semifinal appearance, but fell to eventual - - Ado in a close heat that required a 7.00 out of the Hawaiian. Maeda's prolific Junior Tour success awaits to filter into her QS career -- though she currently sits at No. 19 on the rankings following this event. Her Quarterfinal played ultimate spoiler for CT qualification hopeful Justine Dupont with an early upset -- Maeda earned a 7.33 to seal the win and head into the final events of 2016 with some momentum.
"I'm really stoked to make it to Finals Day and get past the Quarterfinals barrier at a bigger event," Maeda said. "I wish I had a better heat, but it was really tricky out there and I wasn't in the right spot. Pauline and I are always in heats together so it's fun surfing against her and now I'll prepare for Japan and Australia -- my mom's family is from Japan so that will be great to visit before heading off to Australia."
The next Women's Qualifying Series event on schedule will be the White Buffalo Pro QS3,000 in Chiba, Japan.