16 May, 2015 16 May, 2015

Bianca Buitendag into Quarter Finals in Rio

In a dropping swell at Barra da Tijuca, Round 2, 3 and 4 of the Oi Rio Women’s Pro and the quarter finals of the men’s event were completed, narrowing the field down to the final four men and eight women in the battle for victory in Brazil.

Bianca Buitendag was in top form in Round 4.

The women were the first to hit the water this morning, and the match-up between Hawaii’s Malia Manuel and Laura Enever (AUS) was Round 2’s most thrilling. Laura gained the upper hand early on with an 8.17 score, but Malia answered back strong with a 9.00 which she backed-up with a 6.60 to take a deserved win in the end.

Other standouts in Round 2 were Lakey Petersen (USA) and Tyler Wright (AUS), who both won their respective heats to qualify for Round 3. They were joined by Silvana Lima (BRA), Johanne Defay (FRA) and Coco Ho (HAW), who also finished first in their match-ups to advance.

Round 3 followed, with Bianca Buitendag set to do battle with 2-time world champ Carissa Moore (HAW) and Johanne Defay in Heat 2. The trio paddled out for their match-up following a dominant performance from Lakey Petersen, who grabbed a spot in the quarter finals with a win in Heat 1. The Hawaiian drew first blood and shot into a strong early lead with a 7.50 on her opening ride. When Carissa then backed that score up with first a 7.00 then a 7.37 a few minutes later, both Bianca and Johanne had no answer and had to settle for a spot in Round 4, while Carissa grabbed the second of eight quarter final slots.

Carissa Moore smashed her way to victory in Round 3.

Tyler Wright finished Heat 3 strongly to grab the third quarter final spot. Already in the lead and with six minutes remaining, the Australian scored first a 9.00 then an 8.57 to put both her competitors in a combination situation and book her place in the quarter finals. In Heat 4, Malia Manuel claimed a close victory over Margaret River winner, Courtney Conlogue (USA), and Coco Ho to advance to the quarter finals.

Following Round 3 the men paddled out for their quarter-final match-ups. The swell was sticking around and the waves were still fun, with ramps everywhere. Predictably, Filipe took to the skies again and pulled off multiple air reverses for the win against Kiwi rookie Ricardo Christie, who put up a brave fight despite cheers from the crowd every time he slipped up. Filipe was through to the semis and the locals were stoked.

Boing! Filipe has a pair of springs for legs and was busting out in the quarter finals.

Another rookie, Italo Ferriera, then went head-to-head with fellow Brazilian, Jadson Andre, and claimed victory over his more experienced opponent with a performance that saw him building momentum throughout. Left, right, Italo was ripping some tight turns on his forehand and busting his tail up and out on his backhand for a deserved win and a spot in the semi finals against Filipe – which should be quite the air show.

Speaking of air shows, 2-time World Air Champ, Josh Kerr (AUS), was up against Bede Durbidge (AUS) in Heat 3 of the quarter finals. Bede is not one of the most futuristic surfers on tour, so with ramps everywhere to be found it looked like a certainty on paper that Josh would be grabbing a spot in the second semi-final. But Bede had other ideas and smashed some solid lefts to put Kerrzy on the chase. It was a chase till the end and Kerrzy couldn’t keep up, thus Bede booked himself a spot in the semis.

Who says you can’t win in Rio without airs? Bede certainly can.

In the final heat, Matt Wilkinson and Owen Wright went toe-to-toe in an all-goofy showdown. Wilko got off to an early start, destroying his first wave with three lightning-fast backhand whacks and an inside reo, and held the lead all the way through to the end despite Owen pushing and shoving all the way. Owen nearly stomped one massive air but it was not to be, and the second semi was set to be a Wilko vs Durbidge match-up.

“Bede and I have had a similar game plan all event,” said Wilko. “Catch the bigger waves with big sections. On the other side of the draw they’re doing all sorts of things.”

Before the sun set in Rio, the women paddled out to contest Round 4 and decide the remaining quarter finalists. Bianca was up first against Sally Fitzgibbens (AUS) and despite a quick start from her opponent, the Vic Bay local remained focussed and blasted her first ride to score an 8.83. Sally fought back with an 8.00 ride of her own, but Bianca maintained control of the match-up throughout to earn a spot in the quarter-finals. She will be facing high-flying Californian, Lakey Peterson, in Heat 1.

Courtney Conlogue is looking to make it back-to-back victories on the Dream Tour.

Keely Andrew (AUS) grabbed a surprise win over the experienced Johanne Defay in Heat 2, while Coco Ho beat crowd favourite Silvana Lima in Heat 3. Rounding out the Rio Women’s Pro quarter finals was Courtney Conlogue, who beat Hawaii’s Tatiana Weston-Webb in the last heat of the day.

Go to worldsurfleague.com for heat reviews and results from the Oi Rio Women’s Pro.

HEAT 1 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs Italo Ferreira (BRA)
HEAT 2 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs Bede Durbidge (AUS)

HEAT 1 – Lakey Peterson (USA) vs Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
HEAT 2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) vs Keely Andrew (AUS)
HEAT 3 – Tyler Wright (AUS) vs Coco Ho (HAW)
HEAT 4 – Malia Manuel (HAW) Courtney Conlogue (USA)

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