FIJI — It’s beginning to look like shades of last year as Kauai’s Bethany Hamilton is headed to Round 3 of the Outerknown Fiji Women’s Pro.
On Monday, Hamilton, a wild card in the event, defeated reigning World Surf League champion Tyler Wright of Australia and fellow Kauai surfer Tatiana Weston-Webb in Round 1 Heat 3.
Hamilton opened with a 6.17 and backed it up with three turns for an 8.17 for first place and a pass to Round 3, sending both Wright and Weston-Webb to elimination Round 2.
Hamilton had a stellar performance at the same event last year when she reached the semifinals by blazing through the draw and causing a string of upsets along the way, including taking down both Wright and six-time WSL champion Stephanie Gilmore.
The field is led by Wright and Gilmore who are tied at the top of the Jeep Leaderboard with 29,700 points each and will both wear the Jeep Leader Jersey.
Three-time WSL champion Carissa Moore of Honolulu posted the highest heat total of the competition, with an impressive 16.77 out of a possible 20 against Nikki Van Dijk and Laura Enever in Round 1 heat 6. Moore’s opening ride of the heat was awarded a near-perfect 9.0 from the judges for powerful flow, vertical maneuvers and off-the-lip surfing.
Surfline, official forecaster for the Outerknown Women’s Fiji Pro, is calling for a small, shadowed southwest swell to pick up slowly through Tuesday, hold Wednesday and ease Thursday. Smaller leftovers are expected for Friday. Light to moderate east-southeast trades prevail each of the next couple of mornings, trending moderate to breezy south-southeast/south in the afternoon.