Women's quarterfinalists decided at Drug Aware
Drug Aware Pro
ASP Men’s Prime Event
ASP Women’s WCT Event
Surfers Point, Margaret River, Western Australia
16 – 24 March, 2013
Top Women's Seeds Progress to Quarter Finals at WCT Drug Aware Margaret River Pro
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 March, 2013 : - - The forecast swell came back into Surfers Point this morning as contest organisers resumed with Round 3 and 4 of the Women’s WCT Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. With the women enjoying priority over the men thanks to the contest’s WCT status, the remaining top 12 battled it out in clean 4 to 6 foot waves that framed Mainbreak.
Reigning Margaret River champion Courtney Conlogue landed the first blow as she surfed strongly in the opening heat of the day. The Californian strung together a number of high scoring waves, excelling in the powerful overhead conditions to gain the top score of 9.17 and move straight into the first Quarter Final. "The swell picked up and it was really exciting to see some big waves while not having much wind at all, so I was really fortunate to be out there" said Conologue. “It is rare that the women get priority over the men so we are really loving having the pick of the waves at the moment.”
Conlogue has dominated Margaret River over the past two years, heading towards a history making win of three Championships in a row at the famed reef break. "The finish line is so far in the distance right now, there is still lots I need to do," said Conlogue. "I'd love to win it but I'm not going to stress myself out too much."
Whilst Conlogue stormed straight through to the Quarter Finals the other top seeds found the going tough in the early rounds this morning. Number one seed Stephanie Gilmore struggled with her equipment in the second heat of the day. Other top seeds Sally Fitzgibbons (2) and Carissa Moore (4) also failed to win their Round 3 match ups and faced elimination heats in Round 4.
Gilmore faced a sudden death Round 4 match-up with local wildcard Felicity Palmateer. After a slow start the five-time World Champion came out strong against the powerful waves, once again with a change of boards. The new equipment did the trick as she recorded the highest heat score of the day so far (18.00), punctuated by a 9.33 on the final wave of the heat, eliminating the local girl.
Afterwards Gilmore was relieved to progress to the Quarter Finals after a battle with her equipment, the conditions and local wildcard Palmateer. "I did have one wobbly heat this morning still trying to work out equipment, but I feel like I did really well just then," said Gilmore. "I didn't really know what to expect from Felicity, I knew she was going to charge, I knew she would be in the best spots for the waves so I was keeping an eye on her for her local knowledge, following her around for a little bit."
In a blockbuster Quarter Final matchup Gilmore will now face off against Conlogue, where she will hope to end the American’s dominance at Margaret River. "I feel good, I have a great board now and the conditions are perfect and they are supposed to be all weekend," Gilmore said, looking ahead to the Finals.
Despite their early battles the other top women’s seeds also progressed through to the Quarter Finals. Hawaiian Carissa Moore only caught three waves in her heat but it was quality over quantity for the world number 3. Moore scored three 7 point rides, eliminating South African teenager Bianca Buitendag in the process. She now meets Coco Ho in an all-Hawaiian second Quarter Final.
World number 2 Sally Fitzgibbons also progressed out of her Round 4 elimination heat with a strong ride against American Lakey Peterson. Fitzgibbons started her heat in good stead, quickly grabbing two high scoring waves and keeping Peterson at bay late in the heat. Fitzgibbons will now meet Hawaiian sensation Alana Blanchard in the third Quarter Final, with hopes of continuing her strong start to the WCT season as she attempts to go one better and claim her first world title after three consecutive runner ups.
The change in status to add Margaret River back onto the World Championship Tour for the women ensures a hotly contested finals will unfold in the coming days. Current world number 1 Tyler Wright will face New Zealander Paige Hareb in the fourth Quarter Final. The eighteen-year-old Australian will be looking to make it further through the finals to keep her position at the top of the current ASP women’s rankings after claiming the opening WCT event on the Gold Coast earlier this month.
The excellent swell forecast looks to continue, possibly peaking at over 3.5m on Saturday with a perfect 2.5m swell and offshore winds for the final day on Sunday.
Check the Live Coverage
Heat # 1,
Courtney Conlogue USA
Stephanie Gilmore AUS
Heat # 2,
Coco Ho HAW
Carissa Moore HAW
Heat # 3,
Alana Blanchard HAW
Sally Fitzgibbons AUS
Heat # 4,
Tyler Wright AUS
Paige Hareb NZL
# 1 : Margaret River locals get into ASP trials
# 2 : Paterson & Palmateer rule Drug Aware trials
# 3 : Tough day for champions at Margaret River
# 4 : Gilmore fires Day 2 of Drug Aware Pro
# 5 : Swell waits, and so does Drug Aware Pro
Source: Drug Aware
Author: Jason Dover
Tags: Margaret River Pro, ASP Prime Events, Trialists