Injury may be a part of life for professional athletes, but that doesn't make it any easier. When Malia Manuel injured her knee in Round Four of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, she surfed through her heat, but was ultimately sidelined for the next five events, nearly half the season. And so it wasn't surprising that when she returned to competition, at the Swatch Pro at Trestles, she struggled, losing in Round Two.
But now, just a few weeks later, Manuel is finding her feet again, in the chilly Atlantic lineup. After a shaky start here at the Cascais Women's Pro, she has made it to the Quarterfinals, eliminating Johanne Defay and Bianca Buitendag in the process. Despite having to surf each of the event's purgatorial, sudden-death rounds, her comfort seems to be increasing with every heat. And she'll need it for her next battle: She'll face fellow Kauai local Tatiana Weston-Webb when the contest resumes.