They ran through heat after heat on Saturday’s finals day at the Pantin Classic Galicia Pro in Galicia, Spain. The 16 remaining wahine got into the water, which was providing mostly small, drawn-out rights. But with the men set to finish on Sunday, there was no opportunity to wait for better conditions.
That served Coco Ho just fine as she made the best of the situation by going 4 for 4 in her head-to-head heats, taking the top spot on the podium for her first win of the season. Her day’s path saw her knock off Macy Callaghan, Dominic Barona, Silvana Lima and finally Caroline Marks.
It’s a huge result for Ho, who had yet to post a signature result during the Qualifying Series schedule. She had been knocking on the door with a ninth at the Los Cabos Open and a fifth at the Supergirl Pro, but this victory at a QS 6,000 moves her all the way from 23rd to seventh on the season. She’s currently in 11th on the Championship Tour, so moving back towards that QS top six is of the utmost importance to her re-qualification chances.
It’s the sixth QS win of Ho’s stellar career and comes at the most opportune time. She seems to be in her best form of the year, having just taken third at the US Open of Surfing. Given the choice, she’d much rather keep moving up the CT rankings and not need the QS as a backup. But if the season ended today, she’d be the 15th of 16 qualifiers, so moving up in both would alleviate a lot of anxiety.
Despite a strong group of Hawaii competitors, Tatiana Weston-Webb was the only other surfer to reach the quarterfinals. Tati started well on Saturday, knocking off Japan’s Minori Kawai in round four. But her next heat was less successful and more heartbreaking. Needing a 5.54 to move into first against Marks, Tati came close but earned a 5.40 on her final wave. That allowed Marks, the young American, to remain in the field and ultimately take second place.
Weston-Webb sits in second place for the season on the QS, holding a third-place result and four fifth-place results. But after back-to-back runner-up finishes on the CT bumped her up into eighth place, she’s likely to remain safely in the top 10.
Brisa Hennessy reached the fourth round, but ran into a buzzsaw in Silvana Lima. Hennessy continues to prove herself to be one of the best up-and-comers in the sport. In all likelihood, she’s still a year or two away from really competing for a spot on the world tour, but she might have passed Mahina Maeda as Hawaii’s most probable next CT wahine.
Maeda, Zoe McDougall and Alessa Quizon all fell in third-round action.
The men finish up today, though results were probably complete by the time you opened this paper. Keanu Asing, coming off a win last week at the Vans Pro, remains in the field. He has a fifth-round matchup with Hawaii’s only other competitor, Imaikalani Devault.
With just 16 surfers remaining, all action now moves to head-to-head elimination heats. Some top seeds remain, including Jesse Mendes, Evan Geiselman, Josh Kerr, Kanoa Igarashi and Nat Young. Having just moved into the QS top 10, Asing would do well to advance another couple heats to avoid a stampede of surfers from surpassing him.
David Simon can be reached at email@example.com.