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Quizon’s third-place finish aids her ongoing fight to remain on world tour

The last couple of years haven’t been easy for Alessa Quizon. She broke through in 2013, earning a spot on the world tour thanks to her strong season on the Qualifying Series. But her 2014 rookie campaign was hampered by some injuries and she had to sweat out her QS ranking, just re-qualifying with the final berth. This year appears to be another in which she’ll have to use the QS to stay on the world tour, since she has only managed one heat win through five CT events.

Saturday provided a good start to that end. Quizon was Hawaii’s final competitor at the Los Cabos Open of Surf, a QS 6,000 contest that provides some big points to those who reach the final few heats. Quizon made the semifinals, coming up just short of the final two in a loss against Silvana Lima. The result will give Quizon 3,500 points and bumps her up 31 spots to 20th in the QS rankings. That standing is with only two results on her account as she eyes a run back up into the top six for automatic re-qualification.

There is lots of work to be done if Quizon is to make it three straight years on the world tour, but there is still plenty of time to make it happen. More results like this run at Los Cabos will help in that quest. It hasn’t been the easiest path, but she has made it work to this point. She’s shown plenty of determination in her you career and I wouldn’t bet against her.

Australia’s Nikki Van Dijk took down the Los Cabos title, which will vault her from eighth place into first, thanks to the 6,000 points she earns for the win. Van Dijk took down Lima in a close final and was notching excellent range scores in every round. She moved ahead of Tatiana Weston-Webb, who held the QS points lead prior to Mexico. It punctuates a good couple of weeks for Van Dijk after her run to the quarterfinals at the Fiji Pro.

Both Weston-Webb and Malia Manuel appeared poised for big results at Los Cabos, but with such a deep and talented field, nothing could be taken for granted. Weston-Webb got overpowered by Sage Erickson in round five. Erickson earned a pair of excellent scores and her 17.37 total had Tati combo’d.

It’s still points for Weston-Webb and she’ll only drop one spot into second behind Van Dijk for the season. Hopefully she won’t end up even needing these QS scores if she can remain in the CT top 10.

The same goes for Manuel, who was one of the standouts and early favorites. She put up huge numbers through her first two rounds, but she was barely outpointed by Philippa Anderson in round five, 14.57 to 14.27. It’s a slight disappointment for Manuel, who was surfing so well and has been in the QS top eight for the past four years. Like Quizon, this was only her second QS contest as she moves up into 26th for the season. She will probably continue to enter these high-reward QS contests with the world tour’s top 10 becoming so competitive.

Los Cabos defending champ Coco Ho earned a perfect 10 during her fifth-round win over Isabella Nichols, but her event ended a round later in the quarterfinals at the hands of Philippa Anderson. Ho entered ninth in the QS rankings and will remain in that spot, though she was probably hoping for a few more points.

Ho took down the title last year in a final against surprise runner-up Brianna Cope. Cope wasn’t able to make quite as deep a run this time around, but the 17th place result keeps her tied for 24th this season on the QS. So Weston-Webb, Ho, Quizon, Manuel, Cope and Mahina Maeda give Hawaii six wahine in the top 26 for the year. They’re all well within striking distance to make their case over the back end of the season and would each move into the top six with just one big result.

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

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