BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio de Janeiro/Brazil: The Rio Women’s Pro presented by Billabong, stop No. 4 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, ran through Rounds 2 and 3 in two-to-three foot (0.5 – 1 metre) surf. Round 2 saw wildcard Silvana Lima (BRA) cause an upset by taking out old rival and five-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), while replacement surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) got the better of current ASP WCT No. 5 Bianca Buitendag (ZAF).
Heat 3 saw a clash between Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Silvana Lima (BRA). The two have shared a series of explosive heats in the past and their battle in Round 2 of the Rio Women’s Pro proved to be no different. Gilmore got out of the gates first with a 5.90, quickly placing Lima on the ropes with an excellent 8.17 for a two-turn backhand combo. The Brazilian battled back, however, combining a big outside snap and clean air-reverse on a right for a 9.10 and a win over the five-time ASP Women’s World Champion. Lima went on to face Lakey Peterson (USA) and Malia Manuel (HAW) in Round 3 where she was defeated by the American and will have to surf against Pauline Ado (FRA) in Round 4 for a place in the Quarterfinals.
“I really tried to do an air in that heat because I knew I would need a really good score to win,” said Silvana Lima. “I can’t believe I made it, I’m so happy. I’m feeling 100 percent right now. Everything is going right for me and going really well. I can’t wait to keep going in this competition.”
“When I saw Silvana (Lima) in the draw I knew she would be dangerous because she’s hungry for a win and she’s been injured for a while,” said Stephanie Gilmore. “She’s also one of the few girls that can do airs consistently. I am happy to see Silvana back because she’s so good and she deserves to be on Tour. We go way back, we’ve had a couple of close World Title races. She brings a great energy to the Women’s Tour, she’s an incredibly talented surfer and she’s great to watch. I think she’ll do really well here and she could go all the way. I’m pretty disappointed at the loss.”
Round 2 Heat 4 also saw an upset when, in the opening 10 minutes of the heat, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) was called for an interference, neglecting to triple check if Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) had given up priority. With Buitendag in need of a Perfect 10 for the win, the injury replacement for Courtney Conlogue (USA) quickly sealed the deal on the following wave, pushing her combination score to an insurmountable 11.67 and eliminating the Women’s World Championship Tour No. 5 from the competition. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and fellow Hawaiian Coco Ho got the better of Weston-Webb in Round 4 so she will have to surf again in Round 5 against Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) for a Quarterfinal berth.
“I’m really glad I made the heat and I’m glad that I’ve had this experience,” said Tatiana Weston-Webb. “For Bianca (Buitendag) to get an interference is really unfortunate because she’s been surfing amazing. I was so happy to get the 8.33. It’s great to know that I can get approval from WCT judges on my on my waves. I don’t feel pressure because I’m just here to learn and gain experience. It’s so fun to see all my heroes and surf with them, I love this.”
The crowd roared as the day’s Brazilian hero, former WCT competitor and event wildcard Silvana Lima (BRA), took to the water for a second time to in Round 3. Lima fed off the crowd and the momentum she built from her Round 2 upset of Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), opening with a 7.00 and maintaining a solid lead as her opponents Lakey Peterson (USA) and Malia Manuel (HAW) neglected to post any significant scores in the opening minutes. But in the final 10 minutes, Peterson overpowered Lima, posting a 9.03 for vertical snap and tail-out turn. Manuel and Lima were left in need of excellent scores as the clock ticked down to zero but Peterson’s score, the highest two-wave heat total of the day (17.13), held up through the end of the heat advancing her to the Quarterfinals.
“The non-elimination rounds are really fun because there’s less pressure,” said Lakey Peterson. “You really want to win them because then you get to skip a round. It’s the first time this season that I’ve skipped two rounds and it’s really cool. Silvana (Lima) and Malia (Manuel) are great opponents. I’ve always really like the way Silvana surfs, she’s very progressive. Malia is so solid and you know she’ll always get two good waves. Everyone on Tour is so good now so you know you’ll never get an easy heat.”
Reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) combated fellow Oahu native Alessa Quizon and French talent Pauline Ado in Round 3 Heat 2. Moore grabbed the highest score of the heat of 7.50 to start, but Quizon took the lead with a 6.33 and 5.50. Ado kept her name in the hunt, logging a 5.67 of her own. With 10 minutes remaining, Moore surpassed Quizon for the lead, notching a 5.90 on a right that would carry her through for the win and a place in the Quarterfinals.
“I’m not really keeping track of points but I was surprised to see Steph (Stephanie Gilmore) go down earlier,” said Carissa Moore. “Silvana (Lima) is surfing amazing so it’s great to see her back on Tour and putting on a show for everyone in front of a home crowd. Silvana has been on the Tour for years and has so much experience. It’s great to see her in the event and it’s great having wildcards in the event.”
The final heat of the day saw a rematch of the 2012 Rio Women’s Pro Final featuring Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Coco Ho (HAW) along with alternate Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW). Ho commanded the first half of the heat, combining her light and fast attack in the pocket of both lefts and rights. Fitzgibbons fought back, surpassing the Hawaiian with a solid 7.33 for the lead. With just two minutes remaining, Ho belted a turn on her opening ride, but failed to land her last maneuver, falling shy of the score needed to surpass Fitzgibbons who secured her place in the Quarterfinals.
“It was exciting out there today,” said Sally Fitzgibbons. “I’ve got a few things to work on but I was really happy to get that 7.00 mid heat and shut it down at the end using my priority well. Over the years Coco (Ho) and I have had some great battles. We had a Final here in Rio a few years ago, which I was thinking about while I was out there. Drawing from those past experiences has given me confidence and I think I’ve got a lot more in the tank so I’m looking forward to the Quarterfinals.”
Rio Women’s Pro Round 4 Match-ups:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Heat 4: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
Rio Women’s Pro Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.36, Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.73, Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.03
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.23, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 11.83, Pauline Ado (FRA) 8.67
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.60, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.77, Laura Enever (AUS) 10.20
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.03, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.46, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 10.20
Rio Women’s Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 13.77 def. Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 11.07
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.10 def. Johanne Defay 13.87 (FRA)
Heat 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.43 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.10
Heat 4: Tatiana Weston-Web (HAW) 15.00 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 8.17
Heat 5: Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.43 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 10.00
Heat 6: Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.07 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.13
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