At Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California, the stage is set for a thrilling Finals Day. At the Swatch Women’s Pro, the Women’s Semifinalists have been decided. When competition resumes, the fourth place world rankings holder, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), will take on fifth place world rankings holder, Lakey Peterson (USA), in the first of two Women’s Semifinals.
Buitendag seems to be the woman to watch. After her semifinal finish at the US Open in August, Bianca prepped for the pivotal last leg of the World Surf League (WSL) World Tour by jetsetting to Les Landes, France, for a 10 day training camp where she practiced physical training and board testing. Bianca has had a continuous streak of semifinal standings and one third place finish. In the Quarterfinals of the Swatch Women’s Pro, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) had an early lead on South Africa’s Buitendag, but Bianca pulled it off under pressure. After the heat, Bianca articulated: “Performance is about so much more than just physical ability. I’ve realized that you really have to put hard work in, and things don’t always go as planned.”
Lakey Peterson and Courtney Conlogue, California natives, faced off in the Quarters. Upsets ensued when Peterson defeated the number one in the world, Conlogue, and Dimity Stoyle (AUS) bested Fitzgibbons. Stoyle, ranked number 15 on the WSL Women’s World Tour, defeated fellow compatriot and number three in the world, Sally Fitzgibbons.
When Moore vanquished Wright in the Quarters, she slid back into the number one spot for the world ranking. Tyler Wright (AUS) opened with a 9.93 ride, a near perfect score. This left Carissa Moore (HAW) fighting in the heat. Carissa Moore relied on prayers while awaiting the scores to come in; it seemed to work to achieve a leap in the world rankings: “It was really tough to keep my head after Tyler started off with a near-perfect score. I’m so thankful and happy that it worked out at the end — I was praying so hard for the score to come in.”
The Swatch Women’s Pro has been an onslaught of good waves at Lower Trestles. The good surf is a result of Hurricane Linda, which stirred up the Women’s WSL rankings. At this point, it is anyone’s game.
At the Hurley Pro, the competition for the Men’s Quarterfinalists will commence with Joel Parkinson (AUS) against Filipe Toledo (BRA). Filipe Toledo (BRA) was the first surfer to advance on after a thrilling all-Brazilian match-up in Round 4 against Miguel Pupo (BRA) and Italo Ferreira (BRA). Parkinson outdid Pupo in Round 5 to move through to the Quarterfinals where he will face Toledo.
“Filipe and I are two really different types of surfers,” said Parkinson. “It will be a good showdown for everyone to watch. I feel like I’m getting stronger, and I’m so inspired to surf at the moment.”
On September 10, 2015, the former 2012 ASP World Champion, Joel Parkinson, posted the event’s highest scores. However, Toledo also maintained scores well above the 9s. Like Parko said, this should be an interesting matchup to watch.
Current world rankings leader, Adriano de Souza (BRA), and Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) both advanced to the Quarters. De Souza reiterated: “I’m going to work hard to make sure I’m 100% for Finals Day.” Gabriel Medina (BRA) had an early advance to the Quarters, after which, he relayed: “I’m just really hungry to win an event.”
An upset occurred when fan favorite, John John Florence, was eliminated early on. In Round 5, Nat Young eliminated world number three, Owen Wright (AUS). In that same round, an even bigger upset occurred, causing controversy that went viral.
11-time world champion, Kelly Slater (USA), was defeated by three-time world champion, Mick Fanning (AUS). Kelly Slater (USA) threw this amazing air. He went prone and then, he got back on the board. Many felt Slater should have received a higher score for this attempted air. However, the judges argued that it was not a complete maneuver because he had come unstuck. While the air was not high scoring by contestable standards, it was definitely a spectacle. Slater said, “It’s just been one of those events for me when all my heats have been slow and I haven’t finished my waves too well.”
Fanning used his rail game to build the better heat total. The exciting duel saw both surfers take a wave in the final seconds with the six-time Trestles winner getting the better of the exchange. “Every time you come up against Kelly, it’s always going to be a huge heat,” Fanning said. Fanning will face fellow Aussie, Adrian Buchan, in the Quarters.
With defending champions of the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro (Jordy Smith and Stephanie Gilmore) both out due to injuries and several major contenders eliminated, the contest is up for grabs. When competition resumes for Finals Day, it is anyone’s game.
Swatch Women’s Pro Semifinals:
SF 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Dimity Stoyle (AUS)
Hurley Pro Quarterfinals:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
QF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
QF 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Nat Young (USA)