Two years ago, Brianna Cope made a pretty stunning run through the elite field at the Los Cabos Open of Surf to finish runner-up to Coco Ho. It’s still Cope’s best professional result and sent her soaring up the rankings.
We could be seeing a similar breakout performance from Maui’s Summer Macedo.
The Mexican beach break is a favorite location each year for the women on the Qualifying Series and has usually been a successful spot for Kauai surfers and wahine from all over the state. This year has been no different as the deep field has narrowed to include some of Hawaii’s best on the QS.
With more than 100 competitors hoping for a run similar to Cope in 2014, Saturday brought the number down to just the final 16. Among them are Tatiana Weston-Webb, along with Oahu’s Alessa Quizon, Brisa Hennessy and Maui’s Macedo.
Just 15 years old and competing in both the QS 6,000 and the Junior event, Macedo has been one of the week’s most surprising stars. She worked her way into the semifinals of the Junior event before putting on a fine display in the QS Round of 24. In a small twist of fate, Macedo knocked out Cope in that sixth round and did so in style. She blew her fins in the closing seconds for an 8.83, which was by far the heat’s best wave and cemented her 15.60 total for first.
The event now moves into all head-to-head heats to eventually crown a winner. Weston-Webb is one of the contest favorites, along with defending champion Nikki Van Dijk. The pair of Championship Tour regulars have had prolific QS careers, dominating many of their events to maintain their respective spots on the CT roster.
Tati earned a bye all the way into round five, where she had to outduel fellow Kauaian Alana Blanchard. Their four-woman heat featured three from Hawaii, with Tati and Hennessy earning the top two advancing spots. Weston-Webb went on to win her sixth-round heat against Dominic Barona and Ella Williams to find herself in the final 16.
Both Cope and Malia Manuel were ousted in the sixth round, just missing out on the final day of competition. Manuel came into the contest second for the season on the QS, so she will add a few points to her ledger, but she is used to making some deeper runs. Cope will still take away her best finish of the season and move back into the top 50.
Like Macedo, Anahola’s Mainei Kinimaka pulled double duty in the Junior and QS events. She made the quarters of the Junior and advanced to round five in the QS, where she fell to two of the world’s best in both Quizon and Silvana Lima. It’s a continuous upward trend for Mainei as she adds to her experience now as a regular on the QS circuit.
With four in the final 16, there’s a chance for an all-Hawaii final like we enjoyed two years ago. Tati will face CT rookie Chelsea Tuach in round seven. Macedo takes on Van Dijk in what is probably the most intriguing matchup of the contest to this point. Quizon faces fellow CT surfer Keely Andrew and Hennessy will go up against Barona.
The swell is supposed to rise a bit today so the two-woman heats should feature plenty of big scores as the always exciting Cabo week approaches its conclusion.
David Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.