Bianca Buitendag got off to a solid start at Bells Beach by winning her Round 1 heat at the Rip Curl Women’s Pro.
“Win or lose the promise remains. Seek, ask, knock and he will find the answer and open.” – Bianca Buitendag/Instagram
Following the sudden loss of her father only days before the event, Bianca flew back home from Australia to be with her family. She then won a race against time to be back at Bells before Round 1 commenced, arriving at 3:00am and only clocking in three hours sleep ahead of her heat.
Coming up against Malia Manuel (HAW) and Laura Enever (AUS) in Round 1, Bianca had her work cut out for her. And if travelling half-way around the world to make her heat on time wasn’t challenging enough, the conditions weren’t making things easier. Bells was offering up big, messy onshore sets in the four to five-foot range, with plenty of closeouts thrown in to make wave selection tricky.
Bianca Buitendag drives off the bottom during Round 1.
Malia Manuel set the early pace by scoring a 4.0 and a 6.33 before her competitors were able to post anything significant. Bianca picked her spot though and posted a 5.33 in the second half of the twenty minute heat, which put her right back in contention. Needing a 3.25 to move into the lead with just over three minutes remaining, Bianca found the wave she needed and squeezed in two solid turns to replace her low score of 2.17 with a 5.43. Victory was hers and she advances directly to Round 3; earning a deserved rest while the losers from Round 1 do battle in the second.
Go to worldsurfleague.com to watch highlights from Round 1 at the Rip Curl Women’s Pro
Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.76, Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.33, Laura Enever (AUS) 8.57
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 18.37, Silvana Lima (BRA) 17.67, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.93
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.67, Pauline Ado (FRA) 11.10, Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 8.00
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.50, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 12.50, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 8.24
Heat 5: Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.50, Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.57, Sage Erickson (USA) 9.33
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.90, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.77, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.84