Cream always rises to the top and some of the world's best women continued their domination at the Ron Jon Florida Pro pres by Sunshine State Florida Lager QS6,000. Faces the surfing world has come to know, aside from Australian teenage talent India Robinson, took over and showcased what could be done despite tricky conditions at Sebastian Inlet.
2017 Championship Tour (CT) Rookie of the Year Bronte Macaulay stole the show in Round Five with a blistering performance on her backhand. The Victoria, Australia, native earned a near-perfect 9.23 (out of a possible 10) and 17.23 (out of a possible 20) heat total - both being the top scores of this event so far. Macaulay backed herself up on the QS last season to re-qualify and now looks to get an early confidence boost heading into her second year on the Championship Tour.
"I had a pretty good off-season at home just training and it's nice to start the year off with a result. It's pretty crazy to see this event come up and I've had such a good time staying with Pauline [Ado], her boyfriend, and Garazi [Ortun] so we've had a blast. I just learned last year that if you get off to a good start it really helps on the QS, even though the goal is always to make the Top 10, it's just reassuring to get to work before the end of the year hits."
Fellow Australian talent Mikaela Greene put up a fight against an on-fire Caroline Marks with a quick 6.00 start, but Marks answered right away with a 6.60 of her own. The next exchanged would prove vital as Marks smashed a lefthander gem on her vicious backhand to score an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10). Marks is feeling the hometown support every step of the way and can now try to give them something to truly cheer for with a Quarterfinals berth.
"My family just surprised me from California with the rest of the making it out so I'm feeling really happy and a lot of great energy all around me," Marks said. "I'm just stoked to be here in Florida and surfing at home - it's amazing. It's so good to have my family here and I went to dinner with a bunch of old friends last night so it's hard to describe how great it is to be here. I'm stoked there's waves and to be in the Quarters takes some pressure off knowing I have keeper, but I'm not stopping."
India Robinson comes into the Florida Pro as her first international QS event and found her spark to earn a Quarterfinal berth. The 17-year-old, Victoria, Australia, competitor grew up on the waves of Bells Beach and has a groomed forehand attack. Robinson now enters her last year as a Pro Junior and is taking advantage of any QS opportunities she can to prepare for a full-time QS career.
"I'm so stoked and this is already an amazing result so I couldn't be happier," Robinson "The start of the year is so important so you when it's time for re-seeding you can be in that top seeded round. I'm used to bigger, more powerful waves, so when I come to these type of waves I really rely on my rail game. I've been surfing against Brisa [Hennessy] for years now and it felt great to finally get a win so I'll just try to take this momentum forward."
Brazilian CT and QS veteran Silvana Lima (BRA) continues to show she's a force to be reckoned with at the elite level with another big performance. Lima's springy style and fast maneuvers are never to be counted out in punchy beachbreak, and she proved so once again today. This marks a big opportunity for Lima after re-qualifying for the CT via the QS last season and she can put some nerves to rest early with a big result.
"It's great to make the Quarterfinals at this event and start the year off with a keeper result, but I want to make the Final," Lima said. "I just wanted to get out there and stay busy everywhere because it's pretty tough out there to find your spot. The wave will either give you two quick, powerful turns or one big one so it's not about catching all the waves you can, but you just have to give it your best. It's great here being a new place, new year, but I want to keep it going."
Tune in live at 8:00 a.m. EDT for the possible to start to women's Quarterfinal action at the Ron Jon Florida Pro pres. by Sunshine State Florida Lager QS6,000 and see who takes the inaugural title.