Date: Thursday, October 2, 2014
Schedule: Round 1 (Heats 1-6)
With minimal surf on offer at Carcavelos beach, event organizers moved competition to the backup site Guincho.
Conditions: 4-to-5-foot surf at Guincho
Lakey Peterson established an early advantage over Bianca Buitendag and Nikki Van Dijk, scoring a 7.00 to top all scores going into the back half of the heat. Van Dijk kept busy while Buitendag remained selective but neither were able to put up significant numbers.
When Van Dijk ultimately found a good coring opportunity late in the heat, Peterson, who had remained relatively quiet, was right behind her. On her last wave, Peterson got into the excellent range and finished with a convincing heat win.
"I haven't had one of the three-man heat wins in a while," Peterson said. "It's nice to have a round to skip and go into another non-elimination round."
Results: Peterson 15.07, Van Dijk 13.10, Buitendag 10.00
The three competitors in Heat 5 all got off to early starts, with the nod in the opening exchange going to Laura Enever. At a critical moment, Enever split a peak with Stephanie Gilmore, who is positioned to claim the World Title this event. The ride garnered both surfers excellent-range scores, but again Enever earned the slight edge, keeping Gilmore in second and forcing Paige Hareb into a combination situation.
Gilmore improved her situation on a forehand ride but her score came in mere decimal points behind the number needed to take the lead. When she faltered on her last-second takeoff, Enever was able to claim the heat.
Results: Enever 14.00, Gilmore 13.37, Hareb 8.30
Heat 4 featured a rematch between Roxy Pro finalists Tyler Wright and Courtney Conlogue. The third World Title contender of the day, Wright took off early and opened with a six. Alana Blanchard found her first decent ride at the midway point, but she needed a near-perfect score going into the second half.
Conlogue, who had been holding the highest opening score -- a 6.60 -- forced the first lead change when she combined two powerful vertical hacks to up her second score. Wright answered on her forehand, putting together a variety of fins-free maneuvers for the first nine-point ride of the event. It would give her the lead and a ticket directly into Round 3.
Results: Wright 15.96, Conlogue 12.87, Blanchard 8.70
Sally Fitzgibbons drew first blood and stayed active. After trading small scores with Coco Ho and wildcard Teresa Bonvalot, Fitzgibbons broke out with a seven-point ride and the event's first excellent score -- an 8.00 -- for technical precision on her backhand. Going into the second half of the heat, both Ho and Bonvalot needed two fresh scores, each.
The Hawaiian and the local wildcard struggled to find a solid backup score as Fitzgibbons's attack continued. The Australian replaced her bottom score with a 7.57 on her 11th wave.
"It's a really nice feeling to start the day with good scores," Fitzgibbons said. "At the moment between the top four it's even stevens and there's a lot of work to be done to stay in this (World No. 1) jersey."
Results Fitzgibbons 15.57, Ho 8.14, Bonvalot 6.67
Defending event champion Carissa Moore opened up with one deadly maneuver for a 6.17 to establish an early lead over Dimity Stoyle and Alessa Quizon. The rookies got on the board soon enough but couldn't match Moore's powerful closeout move.
On two more single-maneuver waves, Moore had ditched her opener for higher six-pointers and a comfortable lead going into the backend of the heat. She didn't slow down though. Moore kept busy and tallied 11 rides by the end of the heat, more than Quizon and Stoyle combined. Stoyle managed to hold second position due to her five-point opener, but neither she nor Quizon would overtake Moore.
"It's a tricky beachbreak so I wanted to give myself a bunch of opportunities," Moore said.
Results: Moore 13.54, Stoyle 7.50, Quizon 7.40
In the first 10 minutes, regional knowledge of temperamental beachbreaks was paying off. France's Johanne Defay and Pauline Ado earned the heat's first keeper scores for charging the choppy lefts, but places shuffled constantly as each surfer adjusted to the high tide.
Solid rights started to form, allowing Malia Manuel to open up her forehand attack to improve her scoreline and take the second spot. Defay stuck to the lefts, finding more face to work with for a longer string of clean carves.
Ultimately, Defay's fellow Frenchwoman had the final say. Ado's last wave earned a 7.50 for a powerful, two-maneuver backhand ride, shooting her from third to first.
"It's really tricky and selection was really hard," Ado said. "In that situation it's almost better not to have priority and see the what other girls do. The [7.50] wave felt great and I thought I could get the score. When you don't have priority you have to just go and try."
Results: Ado 13.00, Defay 12.00, Manuel 11.84