11 May, 2013 11 May, 2013

Tyler Wright Wins, Bianca Third at Colgate Plax Rio Pro

Tyler Wright with a slob air on her way to victory in Rio.

Tyler Wright with a slob air on her way to victory in Rio.

Tyler Wright has won the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro, beating fellow Australian Sally Fitzgibbons in the final. The win sees Tyler usurp Carissa Moore atop the 2013 ASP Womens World Tour standings, after the Hawaiian lost out in the semi-finals.

Just missing out on a spot in the finals was Bianca Buitendag. The shredder from the Southern Cape did still make the semi-finals of a World Tour event in her rookie season, so you can bet she is stoked despite losing out on a finals berth. Had she landed her double grab air (see pic below) in the small, tricky conditions, then perhaps she would have been in with a shout. In the end, eventual winner Tyler Wright left Bianca needing a combination of rides.

Bianca punts during her semi-final clash with Tyler Wright (AUS).

Bianca punts during her semi-final clash with Tyler Wright (AUS).

This result moves Bianca up to 8th in the world rankings with two events to go – a great achievement by the World Tour rookie. Bianca also showed that it’s not only her stylish backhand in powerful waves that makes the lanky goofyfoot a world tour threat, her forehand in the small beachbreaks of Rio was also looking sharp.

Click here for all the heat reviews, photos and results from the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro.

Official press release below.



Tyler Wright goes to the top. Photo: ASP/ Kirstin

Tyler Wright goes to the top. Photo: ASP/ Kirstin

BARRA DA TIJUCA, Rio De Janeiro/Brazil (Saturday, May 11, 2013) – Tyler Wright (AUS), 19, has defeated Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 22, in a high-scoring final of 17.80 to 15.67 to win the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro in peaky two-to-three foot waves, simultaneously taking the frontrunner position on the 2013 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT).

Wright dominated the Barra Da Tijuca lineup from start to finish, posting the high scores of each round with incredible progressive combinations on the punchy righthanders. The Australian’s efforts against Fitzgibbons in the Final were no different, as Wright unloaded committed forehand combinations and was rewarded a 9.33 and 8.50 to secure the win.

“This feels pretty good,” Wright said. “This whole event has been stepping stones for me. I started off a bit shaky and this is my first even where my family is not here with me. Brooke Farris was here looking after me and thanks to everyone for all of their support. After I lost that Round 3 heat I just wanted to catch waves and I stayed busy from then on. It’s just the way it worked out. I just love catching waves. I just kept building and building and I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is just fantastic to come to Rio, I love it.”

Wright’s victory in Rio marks her second of the season following a win on the Gold Coast and the two victories combined with two additional runner up finishes have launched Wright to the No.1 position over Carissa Moore (HAW), 20.

Tyler Wright, your new WCT leader. Photo: ASP/ Smorigo

Tyler Wright, your new WCT leader. Photo: ASP/ Smorigo

“It’s awesome to move to the top of the rankings, but I’m honestly not thinking about the World Title,” Wright said. “I’m just having fun surfing and enjoying each event and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year.”

Sally Fitzgibbons, defending event champion, put in an amazing effort in an attempt to retain the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro Title, seamlessly linking fluid backhand combinations on the Barra Da Tijuca lefts en route to another Final. Fitzgibbons ousted Oahu talent Carissa Moore in their Semifinals bout, but was unable to put a stop to Wright’s momentum in the Final to finish runner-up overall.

“I’m happy to progress though to the Final,” Fitzgibbons said. “It’s always exciting to come in to a final against Tyler (Wright) and I knew she’d be tough to beat out there. I love coming to Rio and I always get good results here. Unfortunately I fell at the last hurdle, but I’ll come back bigger and better next year.”

The event's defending champ fell short on the final. Photo: ASP/ Smorigo

The event’s defending champ fell short in the final. Photo: ASP/ Smorigo

Fitzgibbons’ runner-up finish at the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro moves her to No. 3 on the ASP Women’s WCT.

Carissa Moore, 2011 ASP Women’s World Champion, donated another strong performance this season at the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro, finishing equal 3rd overall. The Hawaiian champion was looking dangerous for yet another Final appearance this season after defeating Laura Enever (AUS), 21, in the Quarterfinals, but fell to Fitzgibbons in their Semifinal match up.

“It was good heat with Sally, but there were just not that many waves,” Moore said. “We paddled all over the beach and sometimes it turns in to strategy and paddle battling and unfortunately I was on the other end of it today. It’s alright though and I’ll take this on to the next event.”

Moore, who was leading the women’s ASP WCT rankings entering Brazil, has been relegated to the No. 2 position following Wright’s victory, but is still well within contention of the 2013 ASP Women’s World Title.

“I have never been thinking that I’m running away with the World Title at all,” Moore said. “I’m just happy to be in the race. I know it’s going to be tough if I want to win the World Title again and other girls want it just as bad.”

Semifinalist Bianca Buitendag. Photo: ASP/ Smorigo

Semifinalist Bianca Buitendag. Photo: ASP/ Smorigo

Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), 19, ASP Women’s WCT Rookie, earned the best result of her young career, finishing equal 3rd overall. Buitendag displayed crisp surfing on both her forehand and backhand while besting hungry American Courtney Conlogue (USA), 20, in the Quarterfinals, but was unable to surpass Tyler Wright in the Semifinal.

“I think it’s the best result of my professional career,” Buitendag said. “I’m really happy with my result and happy to be here in Brazil. It’s good to get my head above water for a change. I’d been in a tough mental space over the last few events and kind of putting myself down and this allowed me to think and surf smarter. Now that this event is over I’ll be able to go back and analyze my performance.”

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am local time for a possible start to Round 2 of Billabong Rio Pro Men’s competition.

1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.80
2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.67

SF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.90 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.97
SF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.94 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.64

QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.50 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.34
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.10 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 10.24
QF 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.83 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.74
QF 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.20 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.33

ASP WOMEN’S WCT TOP 5 (Following Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro):
1. Tyler Wright (AUS) 40,000 points
2. Carissa Moore (HAW) 38,200
3. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 34,200
4. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 32,100
5. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 26,450
8. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 21,450

Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Gustavo Fernandes (BRA)
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Messias Felix (BRA)
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (BRA) vs. Ricardo dos Santos (BRA)
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 9: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 10: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 11: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 12: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

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