This is now two straight contests that Lakey Peterson has played a pivotal role in the world title race. Though she, herself, has only an outsider’s chance at finishing the season ranked No. 1, her fingerprints will be all over the trophy when it is eventually awarded to our 2015 champion.
The Cascais Women’s Pro worked its way down to the final four competitors on Saturday, but it was a much earlier heat that has created the major headline. Peterson was able to knock off current Championship Tour points leader Carissa Moore in the third round, equaling her earliest exit of the season. That puts Courtney Conlogue in a position to retake the points lead if she can survive one more heat and reach the final.
It was just last event at the Swatch Women’s Pro where Peterson knocked off Conlogue in the quarterfinals that allowed Moore to move back into first with her third contest win of the season. But the tables could turn once again if Conlogue manages to outduel Sally Fitzgibbons in their semifinal matchup.
The other half of the draw pits Peterson against Tatiana Weston-Webb, who has now reached her second semifinal of the season. Weston-Webb started the year with an equal third on the Gold Coast and now has the opportunity to better that finish for what would be her best-ever CT result.
Tati has run the gauntlet of all-Hawaii heats for much of the event, but she’s now the last remaining Aloha State woman. She couldn’t top Alessa Quizon in the opening non-elimination round, but she got by Brazil’s Silvana Lima in round two. Tati then took first against both Malia Manuel and Moore in round three to jump directly to the quarterfinals.
It was there she had to take on Manuel again, this time with the loser out of the event. There were good waves to be had throughout the day, but not many for this pair. They were both slow to start and didn’t appear to be sure the heat had begun until six minutes had already come off the clock. Both were waving to the shore hoping for clarification and finally confirmed the situation after a duck diving session. Each picked up a medium score before Tati took control for good with a heat-high seven-point ride at the 11-minute mark. One backhand turn sent the score into that upper echelon and she held on for a 12.00 to 8.73 win.
For Manuel, she has now made the quarters in five of the season’s eight events and her fifth-place result will help her remain in the top 10 for the year with two contests remaining.
Tati entered in eighth place and would move up at least one spot with one more heat win. Even if she remains eighth, her point total will have her much more safely within that top 10.
Quizon reached her first quarterfinal since last year’s Rio Pro, a span of 14 contests. After second- round exits in four of the first five events this season, Quizon has now gotten beyond round two at three straight stops.
It was a second straight second-round loss for Coco Ho, who will drop down to 12th place and has some work to do as the season closes out.
Seabass grabs 3rd at Azores
The week’s biggest mover up the men’s Qualifying Series rankings was Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz, who came away with a third-place result at the Azores Pro. Big points were available at this QS 10,000 event and Zietz jumped from 96th up to 31st with his performance.
He took first in each of his opening four-man heats before knocking off fellow CT rider Wiggolly Dantas in the Round of 16. He bested Portugal local Pedro Henrique in the quarters, thanks to a near-perfect 9.77 ride but then bowed out against Dion Atkinson in the semifinals.
It was an all-Aussie final heat that was narrowly won by Jack Freestone, who picked up a 15.50 to 15.00 win over Atkinson. Freestone jumps all the way to second place in the QS rankings and appears on his way to a rookie campaign on next year’s world tour.
Maui’s Tanner Hendrickson crept closer to a world tour spot as he now sits in 12th on the QS after reaching the third round at Azores.
The men will now be following the women at Cascais with the QS 10,000 Billabong Pro starting up Monday. Zietz, Hendrickson, Keanu Asing, Kiron Jabour, Dusty Payne, Granger Larsen, Mason Ho, Josh Moniz and Ezekiel Lau are all slated to compete.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.