It was only the first day of competition at the Nissan Super Girl Pro QS 6,000 and some of the top-tier women's QS elite put their stamp of authority down. Three-to-four foot swell powered its way into Oceanside Pier's southside lineup and provided plenty of opportunity for the women, though it came with a price of testing their physical stamina while battling through opening rounds.
Now those that made their way through to Round 3 await some of the world's best when they put the jersey back on.
Splendor For Surfing's Next Generation
Reigning World Junior Champion and QS No. 10 Kirra Pinkerton decimated her Round 2 debut with an impeccable 15.27 heat total, leaving runner-up Samantha Sibley (San Clemente, Calif.) needing a 9.54 (out of a possible 10) to overtake her. This is the start of what could be a pivotal turning point for Pinkerton with the opportunity at hand to capitalize on valuable points but the upcoming talent has a long way to go to make it happen.
"That was the best way I could've started and glad to get that one out of the way, you never want to lose first heat and the waves are big which is what I really like," Pinkerton said. "Sam surf's really good and Mia McCarthy's beaten me a couple of times so I knew that'd be tough but I knew my strengths out there. I actually didn't know I had an 8 until toward the end so I was still thinking I needed two good waves and I calmed down so much when I heard the scores (laughs). Now I'm feeling more confident after that one heading into the weekend."
Many of the current top-ranked women came firing right out of the gates with current No. 3 Zahli Kelly starting Round 2 in dynamic form. The 15-year-old joins a handful of next generation competitors making their presence known so far in 2019 after already garnering a third-place finish at the year's first QS 6,000. Kelly's humble approach on land gives way to a powerful forehand in the water and something she utilized to earn a 12.00 (out of a possible 20) heat total to start begin her event.
"That was a dream start to this event to be honest," Kelly said. "It's pretty cool to have a seed into these higher events and be sitting in a good spot on the rankings because if you do well it can really lead somewhere. I never pay too much attention to the names (in my heat) and just surf my best. Just knowing I've done all I can, no matter if I win or lose, I'll come away happy."
Pauline Ado Fires On All Cylinders
The former Championship Tour (CT) competitor showcased her veteran knowledge in dominant form with a 14.33 heat total, including an excellent, meaning an 8.00 or higher, 8.00. It's been a tough start to the year for Ado as she looks to rejoin the world's best but two wins in Europe put her back on track ahead of the Super Girl Pro.
"It's funny because I've had a lot of good sessions in previous days but this morning I wasn't too happy with my surfing and then it all came together in the heat," Ado said. "There was a lot of water moving so it wasn't easy but there were great opportunities. The beginning of my year was pretty bad and I did some smaller European events to find my rhythm and it worked out. That was the biggest goal heading into these bigger events so it feels good to have that back."
Spoilers Ensue Early
Not all the higher-seeded competitors were as fortunate and Australian Freya Prumm delivered a heavy blow in Round 2 Heat 4, helping eliminate QS veteran Bailey Nagy. Facing a similar fate as Nagy, former CT competitors Justine Dupont and current QS No. 5 Alessa Quizon were also eliminated from competition as the former CT competitors looks to find her way back on Tour. QS threat Cannelle Bulard, Meah Collins along with veterans Brianna Cope and Tanika Hoffman were also sent packing.
"This is the best result of the year already for me so far so it's is really nice," Prumm said. "I paddled into a few thinking they were straight closeouts but then gave me a big section to go after and I guessed the judges were appreciative. In that last heat I just went for it, thinking there's no way in hell I got the score then got washed through the pier only to find out I won the heat (laughs). I'll take it."
Event organizers will convene at 7:30am PDT for an 8:00am PDT start to Round 3 action.
The Nissan Super Girl Pro will run at Oceanside Pier beginning July 26 - 28.