Best week ever? Kauai wahine stringing together big results

Tatiana Weston-Webb regained a commanding lead in the Qualifying Series rankings by winning the Supergirl Pro title, Sunday in Oceanside, California. Her victory in the finals over Courtney Conlogue was not only a win over an elite competitor, but it virtually guarantees her a spot on the 2016 Championship Tour.

The 6,000 points she earned for her first win of the year up her season total to 17,300. Oahu’s Mahina Maeda sits just past the current cut line for QS participants in seventh place with 10,000 points. For Weston-Webb to drop out of the top six given that margin is almost impossible.

That takes a lot of the pressure off the remainder of Tati’s world tour season, but she continued her dominance in the opening round of the US Open of Surfing, which began for the women Tuesday in Huntington Beach, California. Weston-Webb picked up a first-round victory, notching the two best wave scores of the heat for a 14.43 total against Laura Enever and Bianca Buitendag. That sends her directly to round three and assures another top-nine result, which has now been the case at all six stops on tour.

Just seven women on the CT have yet to lose in the second round this season – Carissa Moore, Courtney Conlogue, Sally Fitzgibbons, Lakey Peterson, Tyler Wright, Coco Ho and Weston-Webb. That’s a stat that could change very soon as Moore, Fitzgibbons, Peterson and Wright all lost in round one at Huntington. After an upset-filled session, those four – who each reside in the top five of the CT rankings – will have to survive round two heats against some hungry upstarts.

Last year’s U.S. Open champion, Wright, was taken down by Malia Manuel on Tuesday. Despite Wright’s skill and tenacity, this really shouldn’t be considered much of an upset. Manuel made her name at this very event seven years ago when she became the youngest ever US Open champion at the age of 14. Since then, Manuel has gone on to have great success on both the QS and CT circuits and has reached the semifinals at Huntington twice in the past three years.

Manuel made a deep run last week at the Supergirl Pro, reaching the quarterfinals for an equal fifth place. She was knocked off by Conlogue but earned 2,650 points to jump nine spots into 17th for the season. A couple more quarterfinal appearances in QS 6,000 events would put her right back on the cusp of the cut line, just in case she slides from the CT’s top 10.

Sliding out the top 10 isn’t likely to happen this week, thanks to her opening round win. But heat wins for Johanne Defay, Nikki Van Dijk and Ho are going to keep them all right on her heels. Coming into this contest in ninth place for the year, it would be an ideal spot for Manuel to pick up a top-five result and give herself some more breathing room.

Moore and Alessa Quizon, who also picked up a big quarterfinal result in Oceanside, will have to survive round two elimination heats. Moore, being the top seed, will get wild card Chelsea Tuach from Barbados. Quizon, as one of the lower seeds, has to contend with Wright.

Fitzgibbons takes on Australia’s Keely Andrew and Peterson has to deal with the always dangerous Sage Erickson. Buitendag faces Dimity Stoyle and Silvana Lima faces Enever to complete round two.

With a win and a fifth for the two Kauai surfers this past weekend, expecting more might be a bit greedy. But with the way they’re both surfing and their past success in that California sun, it wouldn’t be an all that crazy expectation.

•••

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

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.