Weston-Webb dropped an 8-pointer of her own and is now fronting the women’s leaderboard with a combined score of 14.83 at the end of day 1.
“The wave pool is something different and we’re really accustomed to the pressure that comes with being here at the Ranch,” said Weston-Webb. “You’re always trying to get better on every wave and for me, that’s a goal of mine so to get an 8, I’m so stoked.”
Close behind Weston-Webb is seven-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and rookie Isabella Nichols (AUS).
“It’s a huge point in the season and it’s really make or break,” said Gilmore. “You really want to get a finals here and solidify your place in the top 5. Everyone is surfing so good here and the girls are on fire so it will be a task for sure.”
11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) made a strong return to competition after missing the past four events due to injury. Slater finished day one of the event in sixth place on the leaderboard with a 13.70 heat total.
“It was fun, I was a little nervous because I haven’t been out in a heat in so long,” said Slater. “I had a good start and my board feels good. Looking ahead I think we’re all really looking forward to the next event in Mexico.”