Courtney Conlogue put on a masterclass today in the Final of the Roxy Pro France to end the remarkable run of 17-year-old injury replacement Macy Callaghan. Having missed four of the first five CT events due to injury, Conlogue now has two victories in the last three events.
Conlogue opened the Final with a 7.33 for a single, aggressive and high risk maneuver and from that point never looked like surrendering the lead, finishing with a heat total of 14.76. After defeating Johanne Defay in their Quarterfinal and Carissa Moore in the Semifinal, Conlogue took a massive step towards cementing her place on next year's CT.
"I said before the Final that if I can find some rhythm and if the ocean and I can link up and have the same high voltage then I can put in a statement performance which I think I did," said Conlogue. "The crazy thing is I'm not where I want to be right now. I still have a lot of work to do to get ready for 2019. I want to fine tune and maintain that process and have a good time too. But this win has definitely fast tracked that. It's a huge win in a place I love. I couldn't be happier."
For Callaghan her first CT Final was a tremendous gift ahead of her 18th birthday on Monday. The 2017 World Junior Champion has had a tough time on the CT - not winning a heat since Snapper back in March.
"I had a bad run at the start of the year and Bells was probably the low point. I was emotional and not in a good place. I wasn't believing in myself or my surfing." Over the last week in France, aided by the mentorship of Sage Erickson, Callaghan has proved to the surf world and, more importantly, herself that she is one surfing's great emerging talents.
"I haven't even made the Final of a big QS before, so to make my first CT Final is unbelievable," Callaghan said. "I'm disappointed that I didn't perform to my best in the Final, but the bigger picture is so positive. There's been a big change and that is that I believe in myself and my surfing. I've learned so much here in France and had so much fun doing it. I'll never forget this experience."
Earlier in the day, the Semifinals had been cleaved into two halves along the lines of veterans and rookies. The matchup between Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue in the first Semi was a repeat of last year when the Hawaiian's defeat of Conlogue had effectively lost her the World Title. Moore however couldn't repeat last year's heroics and her quest for a third successive Quik Pro France ended with a third place.
"It didn't go my way, but I'm happy with the week and the performance," said Moore. "Courtney is such a gnarly competitor so I always knew it was going to be tough. However I feel like I'm back on track and getting to the level I am capable of. The waves were great, the sun was out, I'm still smiling."
In Semifinal No. 2 Callaghan defeated Australian Bronte Macaulay in a high-scoring and entertaining battle. For Macaulay, it was her first Semifinal of the year and matched her career-best result (achieved in Maui in 2017). Coming into this event, Macaulay was sitting at No. 16 on the Leaderboard but her result today means she has a good chance of qualifying for the 2019 season.
"It's my best result and a huge confidence boost," Macaulay said. "I had a few Quarterfinals this year so it's good to breakthrough, even if I would have loved to make the Final. The last few weeks in Europe have been great. My Dad and coach Dave won the Masters Title in Azores and we've had great waves in France. I'm so stoked."
Next stop on the Championship Tour is the men's MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal Oct. 16-27. Watch live on Worldsurfleague.com, App and Facebook.