Lots at stake for Blanchard, Moore in final 2013 event

Only one event remains on the women’s world tour after the Roxy Pro France concluded on Wednesday. Alana Blanchard remains in a precarious position and needs a solid result at next week’s EDP Cascais Girls Pro in Cascais, Portugal to secure back-to-back seasons of inclusion on the world tour.

It would mark the first time Blanchard has competed full-time on the Association of Surfing Professionals women’s world tour in consecutive years. After an Equal 9th place finish in France, Blanchard sits in a tie for 10th place in the 2013 season rankings. The top 10 gain automatic qualification for the Top 17, so she remains on the proverbial fence with just one more chance to prove herself.

Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons got her first event win of the season with a first-place finish at the Roxy Pro France and moved up into third place for the year. She bested fellow Aussie Tyler Wright in the final, making it five finals in seven events for Wright, who remains in second place in the championship race.

Oahu’s Carissa Moore has held onto her No. 1 ranking going into Portugal, reaching the semifinals before being knocked out by Fitzgibbons for an Equal 3rd finish in France. Moore and Wright are now the only two who can win the ASP championship and the Hawaiian’s lead over the Aussie is razor thin. The 2011 world champion has amassed 54,700 total points to Wright’s 54,500.

But despite currently holding the edge, Moore will actually be under more pressure than Wright next week. Total points for the season are determined by the surfer’s seven best scores out of the eight events. Wright took an Equal 9th place at April’s event in New Zealand, which is included in her current total. Moore’s worst result this year is an Equal 5th at the same event, so Wright has more room for improvement.

The best I can figure, if both women reach the quarterfinals, Moore will need to finish ahead – not tied, but ahead – of Wright to win the title. Wright would win the crown if the two go out in the same round.

Obviously, the best way for it to end would be a head-to-head heat between the two.

Getting back to Blanchard’s situation, she is tied with Australia’s Laura Enever for 10th place. France’s Pauline Ado leapfrogged those two this week with a quarterfinal appearance in her home country. Blanchard and Enever have the exact same results this year, each compiling two Equal 5th, three Equal 9th and two Equal 13th finishes.

So whoever gets further than the other at Cascais will move ahead and secure a spot – unless Malia Manuel comes up with a big finish. The Wailua native is currently in 12th place, but will make the world tour next year, regardless of her WCT final standing. If she has a breakout event, she could make Blanchard’s path very difficult.

Oh, and don’t forget that if Manuel can finish in the WCT top 10, that could bump Princeville’s Tatiana Weston-Webb into world tour qualification for next season.

BUT, if either Blanchard or Manuel knocks Enever or Ado down out of the top 10, they would still be keeping Weston-Webb outside a Top 17 spot because Enever and Ado’s world rankings are still just ahead of Tati’s.

Got all that?

So there could be one or two Kauai wahine on the 2014 world tour, but not all three, depending on how everything plays out in Portugal.

Speculation and prognostication are fun. Utter confusion? Not so much. But no worries, we’ll have the hard numbers soon enough. The Cascais Girls Pro begins on Thursday and has a five-day waiting period through Oct. 7.

• ‘My Thoughts Exactly’ appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays in The Garden Island. Email David Simon your comments or questions to dsimon@thegardenisland.com. Follow David on Twitter @SimonTGI

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