The second day of competition at the Target Maui Pro saw high stakes for the Top 17, with requalification and a World Title on the line. Rounds 2, 3 and 4 ran in solid, 6-foot surf at Honolua Bay. The all-Aussie trio of World Title contenders -- Stephanie Gilmore, Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright -- all dominated in their Round 3 heats and advanced directly to the Quarterfinals.
Gilmore, a five-time World Champion, is the current Tour leader. When asked about the possibility of a surf-off to determine this year's Champ, she said: "I've never experienced that in my career, but it's pretty cool."
"If it comes down to that, it'll be great to have three more heats out here at Honolua Bay with just one other surfer in the water,â€ she said, referring to the possibility of the surf-off being a best-of-three contest. Her fellow contenders, Wright and Fitzgibbons, also advanced without a hitch and, with Gilmore, are among the final eight surfers in the event.
While two-time Title winner and reigning World Champ Carissa Moore (HAW) is not in the running for a third Trophy this year, she lit up Honolua with a handful of solid performances to make the Quarterfinals. A Hawaii native, Moore broke out her signature power and precision to earn a score in the nine-point range in each of her heats.
"It's really special be here and I think we're all so happy to be able to finish off our season in Maui," said Moore. "Honolua Bay is one of the best right-hand pointbreaks in the world. It's nice to change things up and be somewhere that makes your heart beat a little bit faster.â€
Joining the four aforementioned surfers is event standout Courtney Conlogue (USA), who dominated her Round 4 heat with a Perfect 10 and a 9.40 to take the win, prowess that put the other surfers on notice.
"That was insane, to get the conditions the way they are at Honolua Bay is just incredible," said Conlogue. "I love having swell and power. I just had an incredible time out there and it was so much fun. I figured that the waves were perfect so I just needed to surf and find the right ones."
As the last competition of the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Target Maui Pro also provides a final, crucial opportunity for those surfers on the verge of requalification for the 2015 Championship Tour to earn points. Rounds 2 and 4, both elimination rounds, saw tough finales for a handful of surfers. Pauline Ado (FRA) was the first to lose her 2015 spot, after losing in Round 2 to Dimity Stoyle (AUS).
â€œI'm going to have to do the ASP Qualification Series (QS) again next year,â€ said Ado. â€œIt's been a really frustrating year for me so I really want to start next year with a different mindset and qualify again. I'm really excited to watch to the World Title race and see how it unfolds.â€
Catch all the action -- and the potential crowning of a World Champion -- LIVE when competition resumes on aspworldtour.com.