After nearly a week of waiting, the Swatch Pro at Trestles got going again today in mixed, inconsistent conditions. The results were mixed, too, with a few of the Tour titans making it through the elimination round, and a few wins from women who need to turn their seasons around, and fast. There were some slow heats -- including one that had two restarts due to a dearth of waves -- but also some electric performances, making for a long day.
Tuesday's best performances came from two of the Tour's top progressive surfers, Silvana Lima and Lakey Peterson. Lima, who made the Tour again this year for an unbelievable third time, is perhaps the grittiest of the bunch. And her flashes of brilliance are bar-setting, with some of the biggest above-the-lip maneuvers on the women's CT. Neither her will to survive nor her profound talent, however, have traditionally translated into an ability to win heats. Sitting at No. 15 on the Jeep Leaderboard, Lima will again rely on her Qualifying Series rank to keep her job in 2018 -- she's No. 1 there, having done double-duty all year long.
So it was all the more surprising when she came firing out of the gate in Round Three today, tearing apart the unsuspecting waves at Lowers for an 8.33 and then a 9.77, for the highest heat tally of the event so far. That scoreline earned her a trip to the Quarterfinals -- her best result all year. And, hopefully, it's a sign of things to come.
"I'm so happy right now and can't believe I've made it through to the Quarterfinals," Lima said afterward. "Steph [Gilmore] is such a great surfer and Johanne [Defay] too, so I just thought about myself out there. I...still can't believe it. It's big for my momentum and it's so good to finally take some success from the QS to the CT. This is so good for my confidence moving forward as well."
The day's other smoldering performances came from Peterson, whose status as a San Clemente transplant paid off in spades. That, and something was unleashed within: After a season of see-saw results that have swung from second to last place, Peterson may have simply had enough of not letting her gifts -- or her hard work -- shine. In Round Two, Peterson was simply on another level than anyone else so far today, surfing a total of 10 waves in 30 minutes and throwing an air of her own for a 9-point score.
She carried that fire of ambition straight into Round Three, where she seared the lineup on her opening wave to sprint out into the lead. But it was Tuesday's third standout -- Carissa Moore -- who wrested control from Peterson's high-energy clutch and win the three-woman match. Peterson will surf again in Round Four, while Moore jumps straight to the Quarterfinals.
Compared to three World Titles and general surfing hegemony since she was a menehune, making it to the Quarterfinals isn't a huge achievement for Moore. But this year, at this point in the season, that success is hugely important. This year has been an odd one for the Oahu native and perennial top-five threat. With just three more events on the calendar this year, she's at No. 9 on Jeep Leaderboard. That's not only a far cry from her typical numbers, but also dangerously close to the requalification cutoff (only the top 10 on the rankings requalify with CT standings).
But then again, no matter what spot Moore's at, she reminded us today that she's still one of the most consistent performers on Tour, even when the pressure is on. In both Rounds Two and Three today, she reminded everyone that her competitive mojo is alive and well.
Round Two also meant, of course, the end of the competitive road at Trestles for some of the CT women. July's Vans US Open runner-up Tatiana Weston-Webb was among the casualties, as was Coco Ho, who also shined bright at Huntington Beach. Current Jeep Leader Tyler Wright, meanwhile, is still in the game at Trestles, but by the skin of her teeth. In Round Two, wildcard Macy Callaghan had her against the ropes at the start; in Round Three, Wright was in the shadows of the Peterson and Moore show, and will try again in Round Four.
Round Four, Heats 3 and 4 will kick off Wednesday's action at Trestles. Tune in for next heats at 7:30 a.m. PDT.