Kauaians have stellar day Down Under

Five girls from Kaua‘i made the venture down to the Telstra Drug Aware Pro at Margaret River, Australia, and after three rounds Wailua’s Malia Manuel and Hanalei’s Bethany Hamilton have emerged as front-runners at the competition.

Manuel, who’s coming off a second-place finish at last week’s Hunter Ports Women’s Classic, opened up her day with a Round of 48 heat victory.

Manuel’s two-best waves gave her a score of 16.20, edging Nikki Van Dijk’s 14.77 for the round win.

The Wailua native continued her day with an easy victory in the Round of 24. Manuel’s 15.83 gave her more than enough room for a win over France’s Pauline Ado, who finished with a 11.10.

While Manuel’s consistency comes as no surprise, Hamilton’s resurgence has been be the story of the competition.

Hamilton has struggled to catch good waves so far this season, but the Hanalei native followed up her Tuesday round of 60 victory with an impressive Round of 48 win. Hamilton’s 16.16 gave was good for a near 10-point victory. Former Women’s World Champion Sofia Mulanovich of Peru finished second in the heat with a combined score of 7.71.

Hamilton continued her hot-streak in the afternoon in the round of 24. Surfing against a trio of Aussies, the Kauaian scored her third-consecutive heat victory with a score of 10.06. Laura Maccaulay finished second with a 7.70.

Tatiana Weston-Webb, the 15-year-old Kauaian who claimed the 2011 Pipeline Women’s Pro Championship, advanced out of the Round of 48 in the morning with a second place finish in her heat. Weston-Webb’s 11.27 combined score was just short of Pauline Ado’s 13.10 round-winning score.

Surfing in the afternoon, Weston-Webb’s run at the round of 12 came to an end with a fourth place finish.

Other Kauaians surfing in the Drug Aware Pro were Nage Melamed and Alana Blanchard. Melamed was ousted in the Round of 48, taking fourth place with a 6.66 in the same heat as Weston-Webb. Blanchard’s 4.30 put her in fourth place in her heat, won by South Africa’s Rosanne Hodge.

• Tyson Alger, sports writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or by emailing talger@ thegardenisland.com. Follow him on twitter.com/tysonalger.

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