Heading into their Round Two heat at the Cascais Women's Pro Thursday morning, both wildcard Teresa Bonvalot and reigning World Champ Tyler Wright had a lot on their neoprene shoulders. For Wright, the reigning World Champ, this was her last chance to stay in the event and stay within grabbing distance of another World Title. Her competition, Sally Fitzgibbons and Courtney Conlogue, had won their Round One heats already and were skipping off to Round Three. For Bonvalot, a star on the Junior circuit and bright surfing hope in Portugal, taking down Wright, the current World No. 3, would be a huge coup, and confirmation of her potential in the big leagues.
She had a few distinct advantages, however: First, she grew up in the area and has home court knowledge. Secondly, as a wildcard her success or defeat here only has implications for her personally, not her rank. But perhaps most importantly, Wright was surfing in a knee brace to support her MCL, which she revealed Wednesday was mostly torn. But in the end, it was Bonvalot's surfing that won her the heat. Despite her injury, Wright was still leading with five minutes left -- that is, until Bonvalot saw her chance. She hacked up a lefthander for the win, sending a ripple of possibility up and down the Jeep Leaderboard.