THE Corona Bali Protected, stop number five on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), continued on Friday in dreamy four-to-six foot (1.7-2 metre) conditions.
(min cost $8)
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The world’s best surfers were treated to a taste of perfection as Keramas continued to deliver for women’s round three and men’s round four, leaving just eight quarter-finalists in each division.
Gerroa’s Sally Fitzgibbons is having a slow start to the 2018 CT compared to previous years.
On Friday, she faced the tough task of taking on Malia Manuel (Hawaii) and former WSL champion Carissa Moore (Hawaii) in round three in pumping surf at the Corona Bali Protected.
Fitzgibbons sat deep with priority when the best wave of the day rolled into the line up, and she dropped in late to a dredging tube.
After skilfully navigating two deep sections, Fitzgibbons came flying out of the tube and executed two powerful carves.
She was rewarded with a near-perfect 9.93 (out of a possible 10), the highest single wave score of the event thus far.
This left the two Hawaiian to battle for the second advancing position, with Manuel edging out Moore in a tight and dramatic finish.
“When you have priority and you see a wave like that it’s hard not to get too excited,” Fitzgibbons said.
“Inside the wave I had to go through two sections and I was thinking ‘I can do this.’
Then when I came out I was so stoked.
It was such a tough draw with Carissa [Moore] and Malia [Manuel], my first wave didn’t work out so when I got that good one, it took a bit of pressure off and now I’m through to the quarters.”
Reigning, two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright, from Culburra Beach, made a mid-heat strategy adjustment during heat one of round three to overcome Tatiana Weston-Webb (Brazil) and Coco Ho (Hawaii).
Wright struggled to complete her turns in the morning glare so opted to sit closer to shore and aim for the hollower inside waves, which eventually paid off as she booked herself a spot in the quarter-finals with a winning heat total of 14.93 (out of a possible 20).
Weston-Webb finished the heat in second and will also progress, while Ho was eliminated from competition in equal ninth.
“I just couldn’t seem to do anything right at the start of that heat,” Wright said.
“I was falling off and struggling to make a turn, so I knew I had to change things up.
“The glare didn’t seem to affect me as much when I was getting barrelled so I just looked for the hollower ones and it seemed to be a tactic that paid off.”
Tyler’s brother Mikey, a wildcard at the event, yet again solidified the decision to provide him with an opportunity at the elite level, booking a spot in the quarter-finals at the Corona Bali Protected.
Wright trailed CT veteran Adrian Buchan (Australia) and 2018 CT Rookie Griffin Colapinto (United States) for the majority of the heat until he unleashed a series of committed power hacks- to snatch first place.
Colapinto then followed and added some of his progressive flare to move into second, leaving Buchan eliminated from the event.
“I pretty much had to surf a whole heat in about 5 minutes because I needed two waves,” Wright said.
“I’m happy to be into the quarters, we have had such perfect surf for this event, I hope it keeps on pumping.”
Corona Bali Protected women’s round three results:
Heat one: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.93 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 12.33, Coco Ho (HAW) 8.57
Heat two: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.40 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.54, Keely Andrew (AUS) 8.50
Heat three: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.03 def. Caroline Marks (USA) 15.00, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.67
Heat four: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.93 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.00, Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.83
Corona Bali Protected women’s quarter-final match ups:
Heat one: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)
Heat two: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Heat three: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)
Heat four: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Caroline Marks (USA)
Corona Bali Protected men’s round four match ups:
Heat one: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.00 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.60, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.66
Heat two: Mikey Wright (AUS) 15.80 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.73, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.50
Heat three: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.76 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.70, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.76
Heat four: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.00 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.87, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.16
Corona Bali Protected men’s quarter-final match ups:
Heat one: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat two: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat three: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat four: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
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