Date: Wednesday, May 27, 2014
Schedule: Women's Round 3 (Heats 1-4) and Round 4 (Heats 1-2)
Conditions: Four foot (1.5 metre) building swell at Restaurants.
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.33, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 16.30, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 8.60
Five-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 2013 Rookie of the year Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) and darkhorse Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) took to the water for a historic, first-ever women's heat at Restaurants and the trio wasted little time establishing themselves on the shallow lefthander.
The only regular-footer in the heat, Gilmore asserted dominance by posting an excellent 8.00 for a series of backhand snaps and continued to find her stride, etching an additional 8.33. The South African answered by detonating a series of committed forehand snaps, but her 8.87 fell just thee-hundreths of a point shy of the score needed to surpass Gilmore.
Gilmore advances directly to the Quarterfinals while Buitendag and Weston-Webb are relegated to Round 4.
"When you're here on the island and you're seeing these perfect lefthanders out the front it's beautiful and hard not to have the event here (at Restaurants)," Gilmore said. "It's a challenging wave but also so mechanical so you can get in a rhythm and do your thing."
Heat 2: Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 14.17, Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.87, Alessa Quizon 10.50
Downtime between sets shortened and a flurry of action between the World No. 1 Carissa Moore (HAW) and the two rookies, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) and Alessa Quizon (HAW), erupted every few minutes. Each set featured back-to-back-to-back takeoffs with a slight edge favoring the reigning Champion for her ability to control her rides over the rib-ridden surface.
The lone Aussie in the heat sat on the bottom of the pack despite having the highest single-wave score, a 7.67. By taking a different approach, Stoyle charged down the line and hacked a couple sharp backhand snaps for a midrange six and forcing a lead change. The Hawaiians were in need of a large, workable set but the swell held off. Stoyle, the highest-ranked rookie on Tour, gets a direct advance to the Quarterfinals.
Heat 3: Laura Enever (AUS) 18.84, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.07, Paige Hareb (NZL) 14.93
After a few hours holding for the right tide, competition resumed with Round 3 Heat 3. Current ASP World No. 2 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) made her game plan clear from the word go: catch long Restaurants runners and tag them with multiple backhand blasts. New Zealand's Paige Hareb hunted for the tube and was able to clock some decent tube time. Sydney's Laura Enever was the most successful at combining tubes and turns and was rewarded with a 9.27.
All three surfers had excellent scores in their accounts and the heat was wide open until Enever caught a set wave and attacked the lip with reckless abandon over the shallow reef. She was rewarded accordingly with a 9.57 to book a spot in the Quarterfinals. Fitzgibbons and Hareb advance into Round 4.
Heat 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.30, Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.73, Tyler Wright (AUS) 10.33
Each competitor notched a series of midrange scores to start, with Manuel getting the best of the opening exchanges. While the rookie remained relatively quiet, Defay posted the highest score of the heat, a 7.27, with six minutes remaining. She continued her late-heat charge, dropping an additional 6.03 to overtake the lead.
Wright made the most of a last-second wave, but was unable to surpass Defay. Defay advances directly to the Quarterfinals.
"It's similar," Defay said, referring to her home break on Reunion Island. "It can be longer but I really feel like home here."
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 16.90 def. Alessa Quizon (HAW) 14.84
With nine-pointers on offer and the tide continuing to come in, the call was made to move directly into Round 4.
Two goofy-footers started the second elimination round with two different forehand approaches. Quizon went charging down the line to pick up speed for impactful vertical snaps while Buitendag preferred slower, seamless carving covering as much surface face as possible. Scoring favored the controlled surfing of the South African, awarding Buitendag an excellent 8.50 with 10 minutes off the clock. At the halfway mark, Buitendag improved her bottom score to an 8.40 putting the rookie in a combination situation.
The Hawaiian found her rhythm with roughly eight minutes to go. On her fourth and fifth waves she scored a 7.77 and a 7.07, respectively, but she still needed an excellent-range ride to overcome the lead and would fall short.
"When the waves are small I have a disadvantage but when the wind is so strong like this it makes a big bump in the wave and it's better to have that extra height to plow through," said Buitendag.
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.07 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 15.13
Moore took on Weston-Webb in the final heat of the day and the pair wasted little time in posting solid scores. Weston-Webb seemed unfazed by her competition, tackling the steep lefts of Restaurants with complete commitment, earning a 6.83 and 7.33 to establish a lead over the Champ.
Moore battled with a polished display of backhand surfing, netting a 7.67 and a 6.73 to overtake her fellow islander. Weston-Webb maintained her composure, upping the ante with a 7.83 for a quick barrel and a series of critical forehand turns, regaining the lead.
Moore would not be outdone, answering back with five seamless backhand turns for a near-perfect 9.40, forcing one final lead. Moore held on to the win and advance to the Quarterfinals.