SAN CLEMENTE, California/USA (Wednesday, September 6, 2017) – The opening day of the Swatch Pro at Trestles, Stop No. 7 of 10 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), kicked off today with Round 1 in two-to-four foot waves. The women took full advantage of the famed cobblestone break of Lower Trestles and pushed the boundaries of surfing with innovative performances in the opening heats of the event.
Silvana Lima (BRA) took out her first Round 1 win on the CT this season in an exciting battle against WSL Champions and former event winners Carissa Moore (HAW) and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). The 35-minute heat saw consistent waves and multiple lead changes between the three veterans. Moore opened with a 7.00 to set the tone, but Lima put pressure on the three-time WSL Champion with a 7.33. In a battle of the backup scores, Moore fired a 6.87, but in a dramatic finish, Lima earned the win with a 6.97. Lima will advance straight through to Round 3, while Moore and Gilmore will surf again in elimination Round 2.
“Oh my goodness, I saw my first surf heat was against Carissa [Moore] and Steph [Gilmore] and can’t believe I won this heat,” Lima said. “Could you believe that? My first heat win of the year against those two girls. It feels so good right now. I’ve been doing well on the QS and now I have more confidence coming back here to Lowers. I love surfing this wave. I just believed in myself and knew I just had to surf my best out there. Carissa is such a good surfer and Steph has so much style with her power surfing so I had to surf like myself and just keep going in that heat.”
Another major upset saw second-year CT surfer Keely Andrew (AUS) take down Tyler Wright (AUS), reigning WSL Champion, defending event winner and current World No. 1, and event wildcard Macy Callaghan (AUS) in Round 1 Heat 3. Wright captured an early lead with powerful turns for a 7.00 and 5.83, but Andrew stayed persistent and locked in a 6.00 to get back into the heat. With time winding down, Andrew capitalized on one last opportunity to take the lead with a 7.17. Wright was not able to meet the requirement on her last score and will be relegated to Round 2 with Callaghan.
“I was pretty nervous going into the water, I just have so much respect for Tyler [Wright] and she’s smoked me so many times so to finally get a win is pretty great,” Andrew said. “I’m pretty happy, but it’s only one heat so it’s a good confidence booster moving forward. It’s nice though with the results I’ve gotten on the QS to help give some leeway and some more confidence. It’s also nice to do it a bit earlier than last year so I can focus more on the CT starting now rather than later.”
An extremely heated battle in Round 1 Heat 5 saw Californians Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Lakey Peterson (USA) compete with the highest single-wave scores of the day. Conlogue opened with a commanding 8.67, while Peterson fought back with a 7.67. Conlogue gained the advantage again with an 8.00. Peterson had one last attempt to take the heat, needing a near-perfect 9.00, but fell just short with an 8.33. Conlogue will advance to Round 3, while Peterson and Laura Enever (AUS) will compete again in Round 2.
“It was definitely a great heat and Lakey [Peterson] has been looking really good out here just watching the training sessions, so I just wanted to get the ball rolling,” Conlogue said. “You had to time your turns properly and I ended up linking up with some good sets, and I was just having a blast. Pretty much my mission this year has been finding empty waves. I’ve just been surfing and doing a lot of yoga, which is great because it creates some structure and discipline to my routine.”
Current World No. 2 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) is off to a strong start at the Swatch Pro with a big win over 2017 CT Rookie Bronte Macaulay (AUS) and Coco Ho (HAW) in Round 1 Heat 4. Fitzgibbons earned a last-second victory with a 14.53 two-wave heat total over Macaulay’s 13.07 and Ho’s 11.27. Fitzgibbons showcased her sharp rail carves to earn the win and will look to deliver another high-performance display in Round 3.
Coco Ho of Hawaii (pictured below) was sent to Round Two of the Swatch Pro at Trestles after losing to Sally Fitzgibbons of Australia in Heat 4 of Round One in4-foot foot conditions at San Clemente, California, USA, today Wedn, sday September 6, 2017. PHOTO: © WSL / Morris SOCIAL : @wsl @kennethemorris
“I saw those last few heats and it looked a little tricky as the tide filled in and to have those back-and-forth conditions gave you that real excitement factor inside,” Fitzgibbons said. “I saw Bronte [Macaulay] take one and it had a good line to it so I kind of assumed she would get the score. So I started paddling in and had to get my hands off the rails with only five seconds left, and I just felt really nice and silky on that last one. It’s awesome to feel that competitive experience each time, especially Coco [Ho] and myself, being on tour nine or ten years. We continually match-up against each other, but I feel like you never really know a surfer just because the sport and all the women are evolving so fast and improving their game.”
The last heat of the day saw Sage Erickson (USA) fly through Round 1 Heat 6 with a 6.50 and 6.93 against Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Malia Manuel (HAW). So far, Erickson is keeping pace with her recent success at the Vans US Open of Surfing. The Californian will move directly on to Round 3 for the opportunity to continue her run at a second win in California this year.
Mali Manuel of Hawaii (pictured) was sent to Round Two of the Swatch Pro at Trestles after losing to Sage Erickson of USA in Heat 6 of Round One in 2 – 4 foot conditions at San Clemente, California, USA, today Wednesday September 6, 2017. PHOTO: © WSL / Rowland SOCIAL : @wsl @nomadshotelsc.
“I’ve been competing on the QS for eight years and the CT for five and even with that win [in Huntington Beach], I was still in frantic mode thinking I need to get to the Pantin QS event,” Erickson said. “But, my coach and everyone around just kept telling me ‘you’re fine, just relax,’ and I think there’s a different perspective and way that I’m going this year. I don’t want to just survive on this tour, I want to do well and sometimes it takes a while to choose your focus. Coming into this event, I was a little nervous just because I’ve never been an event winner before and I didn’t know how to go about it. I think that’s where I started getting into my own head again and that’s what has cost me in the past, so I just brought it back to the basics here.”
The opening heat of the day saw current World No. 5 Johanne Defay (FRA) take the win to advance straight to Round 3 over No.8 Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and No. 13 Pauline Ado (FRA). In a close heat, Defay was able to collect a slight 1-point lead over Weston-Webb with an 11.50 two-wave score.
Below: Tatiana Weston-Webb of Hawaii (pictured) was sent to Round Two of the Swatch Pro at Trestles after losing to Johanne Defay of France in Heat 1 of Round One in 2 – 4 foot conditions at San Clemente, California, USA, today Wednesday September 6, 2017. PHOTO: © WSL / Morris SOCIAL : @wsl @kennethemorris
“It’s always Tatiana [Weston-Webb] and me, and I think we have a good balance going in heats,” Defay said. “She gets me sometimes and I get her sometimes, so I like competing against her. She’s such a good competitor and she’s surfing really well. It’s good training to be out there with a lot of people because everyone is surfing so well and this wave is just so much fun. I just want to break through the Quarters at this event and keep making the Final series every event for the rest of this year.”
With non-elimination Round 1 complete, the stage is set for the first elimination heats of the event in Round 2 when competition resumes. Event officials will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. local time to make the next call.
Fun size SSW swell mix prevails on Wednesday, although it will be gradually easing. Fading and smaller/small SSW swell mix prevails Thur-Fri, coming up slightly for the weekend as small, new SSW swell fills in. Next week looks better as back-to-back SSW to S swells move in Monday through Thursday, with Wed-Thur likely enjoying the largest waves of the waiting period. Surfline.
The Hurley Pro and Swatch Pro at Trestles will be broadcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL app and on Facebook LIVE via the WSL’s Facebook page.
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.
Swatch Pro Round 1 Results:
Swatch Pro Round 2 Match-Ups:
Hurley Pro Round 1 Match-Ups: