Big points still possible for Tati, Brianna in Spain

The final 6-Star event of the women’s World Qualification Series is underway in Spain at the 2014 Pantin Classic Galicia Pro. August has been a big month for the women on the WQS with three 6-Star contests, which provide the most rankings points. Thursday’s opening day saw the completion of the first two rounds, narrowing the field to 24 wahine, including Tatiana Weston-Webb and Brianna Cope.

With three semifinal appearances already in 6-Star contests this year, Tati has moved into fourth place in the WQS rankings. One more good result this week would make it almost a certainty that the Princeville ripper qualifies for the 2015 World Championship Tour.

An Equal 13th at last week’s Swatch Girls Pro France moved Brianna up two places in the rankings, now into 15th place. She could make a dramatic leap into the top 10 with a run to the semifinals in Galicia.

Hanalei’s Nage Melamed was unable to compete this week and has had to cut her 2014 season short after suffering a knee injury while training in California. She tried to compete in the past two events but was advised to immediately rehabilitate the injury. Nage had been in a position to qualify for the 2015 world tour, which makes the injury all the more ill-timed.

But Thursday was a good day for Kauai’s two competitors. Each was able to skip the Round of 72, thanks to their rankings. In the second four-surfer heat of the Round of 48, Cope advanced with a second-place total. Her 9.25 scoreline put her into the Round of 24 along with heat winner and WCT competitor Pauline Ado.

In the seventh heat of the round, Weston-Webb opened with a 4.00 wave but still needed to do some work late. Needing just a 2.81 to move into second place, Tati picked up the best wave of the heat and earned a 6.25 for a 10.25 total that moved her into the Round of 24. She was topped only by Australia’s Georgia Fish in first place.

After reaching the final at last week’s Swatch Girls Pro France, Oahu’s Mahina Maeda, 16, was a Round of 48 casualty. She won her Round of 72 heat, but Mahina then took third behind New Zealand’s Paige Hareb and Australia’s Bronte Macaulay. The 410 points should provide her with a small bump in the rankings, where she improved from 50th to 19th after her runner-up finish in in Seignosse. It might be too late to make a run at qualifying for the WCT, but Mahina has become one of the most accomplished junior surfers in the world. She owns a pair of International Surfing Association Under 16 gold medals and she’s finished in the top five in every junior contest she’s entered in the past three years – all 13 of them.

Once action resumes, Cope will take on Macaulay, France’s Alize Arnaud and WCT rookie Dimity Stoyle in the round’s second heat. The following heat will feature Tati, Oahu’s Coco Ho, Aussie Isabella Nichols and Ecuador’s Dominic Barroa. Some other big names still in the contest are WQS No. 1 Silvana Lima, WCT regulars Laura Enever and Nikki Van Dijk, American Sage Erickson and Swatch Girl France Junior champ Keely Andrew.

A victory in Galicia means 3,500 ranking points and $8,000 in prize money. Everyone left will pick up at least 543 points and $700.

With the time difference in Spain, Friday’s action would have begun at 8:30 p.m. Hawaiian time on Thursday. Visit www.aspworldtour.com for event information and results.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

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