Courtney Conlogue (USA), current Jeep Rankings Leader, continued the hunt to defend her event title as she beat Sage Erickson (USA) and Malia Manuel (HAW) in Round 3 Heat 2. Taking advantage of the non-elimination round, Conlogue attempted radical maneuvers throughout the heat. Conlogue showcased her power surfing and control to earn a 13.50 two-wave score. Erickson stayed selective and secured a 13.13 to take the second position. Manuel tried to chip away at Conlogue’s score with her vertical snaps, but was not able to close the 1.10 point gap.
“The waves today were very similar to the beach breaks I was raised in,” Conlogue said. “With that you draw off knowledge from what you know. Conditions here at Grumari are tricky, but you have to adapt to what the waves are doing. These conditions are when you draw on those tricky maneuvers and have a bit of fun. Sometimes you have to manufacture a score on a wave and that was what I was trying to do.”
The final heat of Round 3 witnessed impressive performances from Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), six-time WSL Champion, Carissa Moore (HAW), reigning three-time WSL Champion, and Laura Enever (AUS). With multiple lead changes exchanged between Moore and Gilmore, the two went wave for wave. Gilmore used her lethal rail-game to earn a 15.44 two-wave score, forcing Moore to chase a 7.27. In the last two minutes, Moore received one last opportunity to respond, but fell short by only 0.27 points. The win will see Gilmore advance directly to the Quarterfinals while Moore and Enever will surf again in Round 4.
“Every time you have a heat against Carissa, you have to give it two-hundred percent,” said Gilmore. “Carissa is always on and focused, and you have to bring your A-game. I was a little wobbly out there with the tide filling up, but I figured I could get a couple of good scores. Carissa threw down an 8, but I just kept at it and waited for a big one to do try to do a decent turn. This is my first event all year where I have won my Round 1 heat and my Round 3 heat, so I am pretty happy with that result so far.”
Tyler Wright (AUS) delivered a dominant performance in Round 3, posting an excellent 9.17 in her heat against Johanne Defay (FRA) and Bronte Macaulay (AUS). Wright unleashed her powerful carves on both her frontside and backside to lock Defay and Macaulay in a combination situation with a 16.90 two-wave total. Wright sails through to the Quarterfinals, sending Defay and Macaulay to Round 4.
“Before this year and before working with Micro [Glenn Hall], I can honestly admit that I had no idea what I was doing competitively in the water,” Wright said. “I just did what I was good at, which was surfing. After working with Micro over the last three contests, what we have been working on is becoming more natural and easier. That type of heat is what we are working for and is pretty much how you would want a dream heat to go with heat strategy.”
Two-time event winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) also earned her place in the Quarterfinals after defeating Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and 2016 WSL RookieKeely Andrew (AUS) in Round 3 Heat 1. Fitzgibbons set the tone early in the heat with a 7-point ride. Fitzgibbons continued to improve her score and locked down a 13.77 two-wave score. Andrew, with a 12.70 heat score, needed a 7.20 to take the lead. Falling short with a 6.57 on her last ride, Andrew was not able to regain control from Fitzgibbons. Weston-Webb landed solid 6-point rides, but it was not enough to make the Quarterfinals.
“It was a challenge today with how the rip is and on those different tides, you really have to be on it,” Fitzgibbons said. “I was on different equipment today. It felt nice and lively, so I am just trying to harness the speed and throw a bit of flair and creativity into my rides.”
Earlier in the day Johanne Defay (FRA) blazed through elimination Round 2 to eliminate 2016 WSL Rookie Chelsea Tuach (BRB) in Heat 5. Defay unleashed her innovative maneuvers to land a pair of 8.83 point rides, earning her a 17.66 two-wave heat total, the highest of the day. Tuach, with an 8.10 heat total, was not able to find the score she escape the combination and defeat Defay who will face Laura Enever (AUS)in Round 4.
“I am trying to push myself in the progressive surfing category,” Defay said. “It is so much fun to try some new things and I have been doing a lot of carving. I knew I needed to do something different, so I just tried and I am really happy about it.”
Round 2 also witnessed Moore battle against Silvana Lima (BRA), event wildcard and former CT superstar, in Heat 3. Moore opened up the heat with a solid 6.50 to take an early lead, but Lima fought back with a critical 7.43. Moore, under Lima’s priority, needed a 6.87 to reclaim the lead. With sets out the back in the last two minutes, Moore responded with an 8.50 to eliminate Lima from the event.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 6:30am local time for a possible 7am start.
Highlights from the Oi Rio Pro will be webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.