Kauai's Malia Manuel withdrew from the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro today after suffering a knee injury during her Round Four heat. Her sudden exit is all the more sour because of her momentum so far this season: Last month, she won the prestigious women's Qualifying Event at the Australian Open, and was on her way to the Quarterfinals here at Margaret River.
According to Deputy Commissioner Jessi Miley-Dyer, Manuel may have torn her MCL, one of the ligaments in the knee. In Round Four, she was surfing something of a rematch between her and Johanne Defay, who she defeated in the QS event. It looked like she might have gone over the rocks in the shallow inside section at Main Break, but she continued surfing the heat -- and won.
Despite the bad news for Manuel, her sudden exit is good news for one person: Tyler Wright, the 2016 World Champion. The two women were slated for what would have been a gloves-off battle in the Quarters. Because of Manuel's last-minute withdrawal, Wright gets a walk-through, which sends her straight to Semifinals.
There will be no competition Monday local time; The next call is Tuesday at 6:45 a.m. AWST. If heats run, tune in to see how Wright and the rest of the remaining women fare in the finals.