Malia, Tati out early; Seabass still in as upsets abound at Trestles

The women got the green light on Tuesday, but both Malia Manuel and Tatiana Weston-Webb were stopped early at the Swatch Pro in San Clemente, Calif.

Looking to survive dangerous second-round elimination heats, Manuel and Weston-Webb were in the first two match-ups of the day. In her first contest back on tour after an MCL injury in April, Manuel’s low ranking set her up with a tough opponent in round two as she took on Carissa Moore. Despite having the higher ranking, the heat was much more critical for Moore. She’s in the most susceptible position of her amazing Championship Tour career and taking a throwaway score would have really put her in a tough situation with three events remaining.

Both surfers had strong heats with Moore getting her offense in early and Manuel trying to come back late. That comeback ultimately fell short as Moore took the 15.56 to 13.70 win.

Manuel won’t improve on her 13th-place ranking she had coming into Trestles, but she’s just getting back into contest form. Her technique looked smooth as always, but the waves didn’t give her much to really attack, so it’s hard to determine how comfortable she is on that rehabbed knee. Maybe the upcoming European leg will give us a better sample size.

Moore went on to put up a 17.43 in round three to jump directly into the quarterfinals. Incredibly, that’s as far as she’s gotten in any contest all year. Any momentum she gains at this point will probably just be to carry over into 2018, because even winning the last four events may not be enough to win a world title.

Following Manuel’s elimination, Weston-Webb took on France’s Pauline Ado, who is on a bit of a hot streak. Ado reached the quarterfinals at the US Open of Surfing and the semifinals at the QS Pro Anglet — both last month.

It was a very close, back-and-forth heat as Tati moved into the lead with 10 minutes remaining, picking up a 6.60 on her backhand right. But just a minute later, Ado responded on a set wave, needing a 5.94 to get back in first. It came through as just enough with a 6.13 and Ado held on the rest of the way as the ocean went quiet.

It’s a minor stumble for Tati, who had reached finals in back-to-back CT events coming into this week. She now has a pair of 13th-place results on the season, so any more second-round losses will certainly cost her in the rankings.

Silvana Lima had the best heat of the event in her round-three win, tallying an 18.10 two-wave total. She and Moore are into the quarterfinals, awaiting the rest of their competitors at that stage. Two more third-round heats will get underway when action resumes.

The men’s Hurley Pro draw has been plagued or blessed with upsets, depending upon your perspective. World title hopefuls Matt Wilkinson and Owen Wright were each knocked out by wild cards to start round two. That was just the beginning, as Joel Parkinson, Connor O’Leary, Kolohe Andino and Michel Bourez all lost in the next four heats. That’s six of the top 13 in the rankings each getting minimum results.

Sebastian Zietz managed to avoid the second round, winning his first-round heat against O’Leary and Kanoa Igarashi on a 16.83 total. His 9.50 equaled the best single-wave score of round one, showcasing some exceptional surfing with a variety of maneuvers and some snapping turns.

Zietz will now face Brazil’s Italo Ferreira in their third-round elimination heat when the Hurley Pro continues.

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

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