Blanchard eliminated in Rip Curl Boardmasters after second round

NEWQUAY, United Kingdom — The Davidoff Cool Water Wave Women’s 5-Star World Qualifying Series event hit the water at Newquay’s Fistral Beach on Monday, launching a week of action sport and music mayhem at the 26th annual Rip Curl Boardmasters.

The WQS surfers faced wind-blown 3- to 4-foot waves throughout the morning, competing in front of a massive crowd that was also enjoying one of the more warmer days Newquay has seen in recent weeks.

WQS events showcase the young talent moving through the surfing world ranks, but the Boardmasters also features some of the ASP World Tour’s elite in town for the week.

Tour veteran Megan Abubo of O‘ahu, Sam Cornish of Australia, Jacqueline Silva of Brazil and 2006 ASP World Tour Rookie of the Year Jessi Miley-Dyer of Australia are four of the higher profile surfers who competed.

Former European champion Caroline Sarran of France was also in the lineup and advanced through her morning heat with fellow French surfer, 15-year-old Rip Curl trialist Canelle Bulard.

Bulard has started the European Junior circuit on fire this year and was excited about competing in her first-ever WQS event.

Although she was pleased to advance through Round 1, Bulard was later eliminated by Brazil’s Jacqueline Silva and Australia’s Laurina McGrath in the Round of 24.

“I’ve been on tour for six years now and I am definitely focused on getting back there again this year,” said McGrath in a release. “After two years in the elite Top 16, I had some tough time with an injury that kept me out of the water for a while last year, but it’s all on again and I’m glad I won this heat.”

Former Women’s Pipeline Master Alana Blanchard of Kaua‘i brought something special to the Boardmasters and quickly impressed with a solid Round 1 win against some tough competition. Blanchard, who is “the face” of Rip Curl’s female marketing, defeated Serena Brooke, Julia Christian and Garazi Sanchez in Heat 2 of Round 1.

“It’s my first important contest this year and I am looking forward to doing a heap of these events next year,” said Blanchard in a release, explaining that this is her first professional contest of the year.

“That was a good first heat. The situation changed a lot and I’m glad I got those two last waves that pushed me to first spot.”

Unfortunately for the 17-year-old Kaua‘i surfer, her run was cut short in the next round when Miley-Dyer pulled off some last minute heroics to eliminate Blanchard.

Miley-Dyer dominated Round 1 earlier in the morning, posting the day’s highest heat score in Heat 5 — a two-wave combined score of 15.67 points.

The Australian struggled a little in Round 2 though, forced to sit in third place for most of the 20-minute heat behind Nikita Robb and Blanchard.

With less than three minutes remaining, her luck changed though and the goofy-footer locked in a 6.60 and a 6.37 to jump into first.

Blanchard was knocked to third and out of the event.

“I was hating that heat there for a while,” Miley-Dyer stated in a release. “I actually didn’t know if I’d got through until I got back to the admin area — I couldn’t hear the announcers. Luckily I did though, so I’m stoked.”

Miley-Dyer plans on finishing strongly in this competition.

“I had a good result here last year and want to make the finals again this week,” she said.

The day’s biggest upset came in Heat 9 of Round 1, when defending champion Claudia Goncalves was eliminated from the event by Rebecca Woods and French WQS campaigner Amandine Sanchez.

Goncalves failed to find rhythm, finishing the heat with a low 3.50 point two-wave combined score.

Christian and French star Pauline Ado pulled off another upset in Heat 4 of Round 2, finishing first and second respectively ahead of Jaimee Wheatley and Samantha Cornish to advance through to Round 3.

Cornish is one of the world’s most experienced surfers, but neither Ado nor Christian were intimidated in the match-up.

“I am 100 percent focused on the Junior Regional Title, but it would be really pleasant to get a good result here,” explained Ado. “My junior career is what counts most right now, but it is very important for me to get some experience against the best surfers and learn to deal with pressure.”

All of the Rip Curl Boardmasters Surf & Music Festival action will be broadcast live online at:


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