While clearly in the middle of an early season battle with Nikki Van Dijk for the unofficial 2017 Most Improved title, Sage Erickson may have found the ultimate advantage -- a magic surfboard. We know a few things about the board, but not a lot, and Erickson's not talking. When asked about it in Brazil she demurred, willing only to divulge "really liking" it's red rails. What we know: it's a Channel Islands Fever model with purple-hued rails. Other than that it's a bit of a mystery. With her confidence brimming and old trusty under her feet, Erickson blitzed a Cloudbreak wedge, capped by a steezy, knock-kneed backhand snap to score a 7.67 that probably should have gone into the excellent range.
Afterward, she nonchalantly told the WSL's Barton Lynch that she'd actually been surfing mostly rights at "other places" in the past couple days leading up to the event and had to tell herself to calm down in the early moments of her important Round One heat win.