There was something in the water this week at Lower Trestles; a potent mix of raw ambition, distilled confidence, plus an unfiltered, no-holds-barred will to win. And Silvana Lima was drinking it down by the gallon.
That heady stuff, plus a healthy dose of raw talent and relentless work, fueled the Brazilian surfer today to her second-ever Championship Tour win at the Swatch Pro -- and her first CT win since 2010. Along the way, she took down Tour titan Stephanie Gilmore and an on-fire Lakey Peterson. But in the Final, it was another underdog who did battle with her: Australian Keely Andrew, who, like Lima, has relied on her Qualifying Series rank to keep her spot on the elite Tour.
While neither woman's rank climbed dramatically in terms of numbers -- Lima arrived at Trestles at World No. 15 and leaves at No. 13; Andrew climbed from No. 12 to No. 11 -- their achievements at the Swatch Pro transcend earthly matters like math. Lima, for her part, arguably has more grit than anyone on Tour. She has qualified, and requalified, for the CT a mind-blowing three times, selling her belongings and opening a kennel to fund her quest. This year, that has paid off on the QS, where she has rocketed up the rankings to No. 1, assuring her CT spot for the 2018 season.
But until this week, that success had yet to translate to the elite Tour. Her results this year are a string of 13ths and 9ths -- a far cry from fighting form. So to commemorate her massive coup at Trestles, she has something highly personal (and perhaps a little painful) in mind.
"I came here thinking I want to get a Lowers tattoo if I win, so my next one is the train," she said. "I just had to believe in God, he knows you, he knows your time and I was just waiting, but this is my time. I've gotten so much confidence from the QS and being at the top of the rankings there has really helped me be able to relax and let loose on the CT. All I wanted to do was have fun out there and do my best."
As Lima sang and danced to the delight of an impassioned crowd, she wasn't the only one with something to celebrate. Earlier in the day, Sally Fitzgibbons got a sweet taste of divine intervention, too. Although she was defeated in the Quarterfinals Thursday, her rankings fate relied on how Courtney Conlogue fared this morning in her Semifinal against Andrew. Their battle was a see-saw heat in which both women made mistakes, but with under two minutes left, the 22-year-old-Australian powered out an 8-pointer that turned the heat, and took her to the Final.
And with that bit of fate, the top tier of the rankings are a new world heading to the old one later this month. Fitzgibbons took over the No. 1 spot on the Jeep Leaderboard, and will be wearing the yellow jersey at Portugal's Cascais Pro later this month. Conlogue jumped up a spot, to World No. 2, while Tyler Wright dropped to No. 3, and Gilmore holds steady at No. 4.
The day's other Semifinal pitted Lima against Lakey Peterson, who put on one of the event's best performances Thursday in her Quarterfinal. Her determination and progressive prowess here bumped her up two spots on the rankings, to World No. 8 -- a safer spot in terms of job security in 2018.
Now that the rankings have shifted a bit on its axis, surprises will likely unfold again when the women paddle out in Portugal. For Lima and Andrew, however, it will hardly matter what happens next. The potion they drank down at Trestles should last them a long time.