Cascais Women's Pro

Title Race Intensifies at Cascais Pro

Highlights: Title Race Tightens in Cascais
The Women's WCT title race intensified in Portugal, as the Cascais Women's Pro 2014 got closer to its final stages.

Date: Friday, October 3, 2014
Schedule: Round 2 (Heats 1-6), Round 3 (Heats 1-4), Round 4 (Heats 1,2)
Conditions: 2-to-4 feet at Carcavelos
Round 1 Recap

Round 4

Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 4, Heat 2
Paige Hareb (NZL) and Courtney Conlogue (USA) face off in an elimination round in Carcavelos.

Courtney Conlogue got an early start, tucking into a barrel section that closed out, but eventually posting a 5.00 to get her scoreline going. Paige Hareb followed suit, but with slightly smaller scores amid dropping wave size. The tricky conditions made wave selection paramount, and it worked in Conlogue's favor. Her strongest wave saw her break out the powerful maneuvers for which she's known; she earned a 6.50 and solidified her lead.

Paige Hareb made a final effort on her backhand, but the wave size was smaller and there was only so far she could take it. She finished in Portugal with an equal ninth-place finish, while Conlogue was headed straight for the Quarters.

Result: Courtney Conlogue, 11.83 def. Paige Hareb, 6.83

Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)

2014 Women's Cascais Pro - Round 4, Heat 1
Aussie Laura Enever and Hawaiian Malia Manuel were matched up in a sudden-death heat at Carcavelos.

The first heat of the elimination round was exceptionally low-scoring. The break went flat and made it tough for the women to find solid waves. For most of the heat they each had a series of scores under one point each, and it became a game of building minor numbers.

Sets began to roll in during the last five minutes of the matchup, giving both surfers an opportunity to surge ahead. Malia Manuel snagged a 5.87, while Enever powered her way into a 6.00, adding a few minor numbers before time ran out. Despite Enever's stronger performance, Manuel's total with her backup score, a 2.33, topped her opponent's, and Enever was eliminated in the final seconds.

Result: Malia Manuel, 8.20 def. Laura Enever, 7.70

Round 3

Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 3, Heat 4
Stephanie Gilmore battles in-form surfers Lakey Peterson and Pauline Ado in the final heat of the no-losers round.

Like the other women's Tour leaders, Stephanie Gilmore took the lead and held on to it from early on in the heat. Lakey Peterson was hot on her heels, at least until the last ten minutes. Still carrying momentum from Round 2, Gilmore found a solid frontside ride, powering up the face for powerful turns. The wave earned her an eight-pointer, and suddenly she was far ahead of the other two women.

Pauline Ado trailed, tallying minor scores that didn't add up to a significant total. When the closing horn sounded, Gilmore got the advance, with Peterson and Ado headed for a sudden-death Round 4.

"It's like a tennis match," Gilmore said. "I just hit my serve, and the ball's in the other girls' courts. It's back and forth, and we'll see whoever's up next. It's interesting. I'm nervous and excited, anxious. All different kinds of emotions going on right now, and it's great."

Results: Stephanie Gilmore 15.50 vs. Lakey Peterson 10.50 vs. Pauline Ado 6.50

Heat 3: Tyler Wright vs. Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 3, Heat 3
Johanne Defay, Tyler Wright and Nikki Van Dijk in non-elimination competition.

Tyler Wright, the belle of the European ball this season, led the heat from the start with a 6.50. She backed it up with a three-pointer to better her scoreline and stay out in front. Nikki Van Dijk was next, with a few smaller scores that had her in second place. Johanne Defay's momentum seemed to have faded.

It was in last portion of the heat that things shifted quickly. Defay found a 7.17 to move closer to the top spot. With just minutes left, she bettered that with a backhand attack that scored her a 7.93 and knocked Wright back to second place. She and Van Dijk were sent to Round 4, while Defay was headed straight to the Quarters.

"I'm just getting more used to it, and proficient in my approach," Defay said of her recent momentum. "I'm realizing that I'm happy to be here and want to be part of it for many years."

Results: Johanne Defay 15.10 vs. Tyler Wright 10.30 vs. Nikki Van Dijk 5.97

Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 3, Heat 2
Sally Fitzgibbons, Laura Enever and Courtney Conlogue look for the direct advance to the Quarterfinals.

World No. 1 Sally Fitzgibbons kicked off her day in Round 3 after getting the advance from a Round 1 win. She was fired up from the first moment and took off on every wave she could find. The strategy served her well; as she found her groove she tallied an 8.67 and a 7.70 for a strong lead. Courtney Conlogue, capitalizing on her own momentum, scored a 7.47 for a solid second-place spot, showing off her wrapping turns and power in clean, chest-high waves.

While her opponents exchanged wave after wave, Laura Enever didn't seem to find her rhythm. Despite a strong performance the day prior in her heat against Stephanie Gilmore, Round 3 saw her idle in the lineup for much of the matchup. In the final moments, it was down to the two heat leaders; Conlogue tried to slip into a last wave but Fitzgibbons used priority to keep her off it and secure the win.

"You want to, by this stage, pick up everything you can," said Fitzgibbons. "Implement heat strategy. That's one of my major goals, to keep improving."

Results: Sally Fitzgibbons 16.37 vs. Courtney Conlogue 11.47 vs. Laura Enever 5.07

Heat 1: Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Carissa Moore (HAW)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 3, Heat 1
Carissa Moore, Paige Hareb and Malia Manuel vie for a spot in the Quarterfinals.

The first heat of Round 3 was a battle of the Hawaiians. Two-time World Champion Carissa Moore led for most of the heat, scoring an 8.77 and a 6.00 for a solid lead. She continued to stay active, taking every opportunity to break out her power-carves, snaps and style. Malia Manuel, however, was still on fire from Round 2. She took a steep drop on one of the biggest waves of the morning for a 9.27, edging closer.

Paige Hareb trailed throughout the heat. She found a few midrange scores, but wasn't keeping up with her high-scoring opponents. She and Manuel, who finished second, were sent to Round 4, while Moore was headed straight for the Quarters.

"I was a little nervous going into that heat, but ended up having a really good time," said Moore. "There are a lot of girls on tour doing airs and progressive moves, and they inspire me."

Results: Carissa Moore 16.70 vs. Malia Manuel 13.97 vs. Paige Hareb 8.60

Round 2

Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 2, Heat 6
Courtney Conlogue and Coco Ho contest the final heat of Round 2.

The final heat of the elimination round saw California native Courtney Conlogue go up against Hawaiian Coco Ho. Conlogue, who was forced to sit out three WCT events this year due to injury, was hungry to prove her mettle and get back in the game. That drive was evident as she built her scoreline, starting with a throwaway, adding a 4.17 and backing it up with a 7.67.

Coco Ho wasn't faring as well. With fewer than 15 minutes left, her highest score was just a 3.33, and she needed an 8.51 to get ahead. She found a five-pointer to get closer, but still needed another strong number to catch up. Conlogue, meanwhile, kept her rhythm going through the end to take the win and move on to Round 3.

Heat 5: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 2, Heat 5
South African Bianca Buitendag and Kiwi Paige Hareb vie to stay alive at Carcavelos.

Kiwi Paige Hareb, World No. 16, took an early lead and didn't let go. She worked to get into as many waves as she could in a slow lineup, and put three midrange scores together in short order. Despite strong performances in recent contests, South African Bianca Buitendag, started with a 0.57, followed by a 0.90, and a two-pointer that didn't help her cause.

Much like the other women who started their heats ahead, Manuel carried her momentum through the very end. Buitendag seemed to be waiting for bigger sets that never arrived. When the horn sounded, she was still behind and her run in Portugal was cut short.

Result: Paige Hareb, 12.50 def. Bianca Buitendag, 3.73

Heat 4: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Alana Blanchard (HAW)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 2, Heat 4
Hawaiians Malia Manuel and Alana Blanchard face off in Round 2.

Malia Manuel charged out of the gate with a seamless opening wave, connecting powerful turns with snaps and tail drift to score a 7.83 and set the bar. Manuel's fellow Hawaiian Alana Blanchard snagged a four-pointer, but needed something bigger to get started in earnest.

Before Manuel continued her attack, going for broke on the 2-3-foot righthanders. After a throwaway three-pointer, she snagged an 8.50 for another series of powerful snaps on a set wave. It was the highest score of the day, and cemented her win. Blanchard, unable to find waves in a slower morning lineup, was eliminated.

"There's not many opportunities, and that plays into it," Manuel said. "You don't want to surf safe, but you want to surf smart."

Result: Malia Manuel, 16.33 def. Alana Blanchard, 7.43

Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Teresa Bonvalot (PRT)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 2, Heat 3
Stephanie Gilmore looks to avoid a Title race disaster as she faces local wildcard Teresa Bonvalot.

The woman of the hour, Stephanie Gilmore, got off to a strong start with a 7.17 that gave her the lead. But local wildcard Teresa Bonvalot, though, was a solid competitor and forced a lead change with a pair of midrange scores. But with a World Title at stake, Gilmore had more to fight for and pushed on her next wave: She broke out her signature, wrapping turns and quick transitions on her backhand to earn a 6.93 and regain the lead.

Gilmore held on to her lead through the second half, finding another long right for a seemingly casual ride to the inside. She scored a 7.00 to lock in her win and move on to Round 3.

"Round 2's not the place you want to be at, but it's good for me sometimes to make more aggressive," Gilmore said after her win.

As her for her Title hopes, she was candid. "It's not too far removed from reality. But at the same time, it's going to be really difficult. Sally, Tyler, Carissa all could make it to the Finals."

Result: Stephanie Gilmore, 14.17 def. Teresa Bonlavot, 10.56

Heat 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 2, Heat 2
Johanne Defay and Alessa Quizon face off in sudden-death Round 2.

Johanne Defay was the first to take off and looked comfortable in a righthander that earned her a 6.33 for a strong start. Alessa Quizon was quick to answer with a critical, backhand maneuver that put a two-pointer on her scoreline. She backed it up with a three-pointer to close the gap before the second half.

But Defay, who has been steadily improving her game with every event, earned a 4.17 next, to solidify her lead and leave Quizon further behind. On contrast to her French opponent, Quizon's performances were hampered by a foot injury at the Roxy Pro France and before that at the Swatch Women's Pro Trestles. With four and a half minutes remaining, she needed a wave more than anything but the break didn't cooperate. Defay took the win and Quizon's run in Portugal was over.

Following her win, when asked if she was thinking about a potential Rookie of the Year honor, she said: "I"m really happy that I'm getting better and better in my heats, technically."

Result: Johanne Defay, 10.50 def. Alessa Quizon, 6.00

Heat 1: Dimity Stoyle (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

2014 Cascais Women's Pro - Round 2, Heat 1
Aussies Nikki Van Dijk and Dimity Stoyle faced off in the first heat of the day, in a battle to stay in the competition.

The women's contest resumed Friday in glassy waves at Carcavelos, the primary event site. Nikki Van Dijk opened the heat, working a clean righthander in the first heat of the day and earning a 6.00 to kick things off. Dimity Stoyle answered back on a similar wave for a 5.67 to keep the scoreboard even to start. Van Dijk continued, building a scoreline with a 6.00, while Van Dijk faltered on her next ride for a minimal score.

With less than a minute left on the clock, scores hadn't budged; Van Dijk still led and Stoyle needed a 5.34 to take the win. As the seconds ticked down, she found a wave and pumped her way through the reform to squeeze it dry. When the scores came in, though, they weren't in her favor: Stoyle earned a 5.20, and was eliminated by a fraction of a point.

Result: Nikki Van Dijk, 11.00 def. Dimity Stoyle, 10.87