Sally Fitzgibbons out of Roxy Pro
Semifinalists were decided today for the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by BOQ, stop No. 1 of 10 on the Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, in two-to-three (1 metre) waves at Snapper Rocks.
Reigning two-time ASP World Champion, Carissa Moore (HAW), will face five-time ASP World Champion, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in the first Semifinal of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. South African, Bianca Buitendag will face Lakey Peterson from the USA in Semifinal number two when competition resumes.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) faced off against an on-fire Courtney Conlogue (USA) in the first Quarterfinal of the day. Both surfers lit up the morning Snapper Rocks walls, blending dynamic top-turns with forehand arcs. It was a tight heat with both surfers keeping busy and getting waves under each other's priority. Despite Conlogue's significantly improved game at the elite level, it was Gilmore who came away with the win and will move through to the Semifinals where she will face Carissa Moore (HAW).
"I definitely think a little bit of local knowledge paid off there," Gilmore said. "It's interesting, those two waves I took off on under her (Conlogue's) priority looked terrible at the beginning, but I could just see down the line that they had an extra little section that could go. There's a lot of emotion that goes into these heats but I'll do my best to pace myself throughout the rest of the event."
Carissa Moore defeated fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel in a slow affair with few waves rolling through and average scores coming in. The reigning two-time World Champion struggled to find a high-scoring wave, tallying a total of 10.33, but it was enough to earn her a spot in the Semifinals. Moore will face Australian Stephanie Gilmore in Semifinal No. 1, as Manuel's Roxy Pro campaign comes to an end.
"It was a weird heat," Moore said. "I was a little bit slower this morning, but I just tried to keep busy. I'm stoked and am looking forward to the heat. It's going to take no nerves going up against Steph (Gilmore). I need to go out there and have fun and get on the right waves. This is her (Gilmore's) home break and she knows exactly the right waves to pick so I do have a tough match-up. I'm really excited though, Snapper is the bank I have surfed the most lately and it has been fun."
South African goofy-footer Bianca Buitendag took on defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) and leveraged her impressive physique out at Snapper Rocks. Buitendag pushed hard to showcase impressive combinations on the Snapper Rocks wall, putting pressure on Wright early in the heat. Wright hit back with her trademark forehand wrap but couldn't find enough opportunities to perform. Buitendag found the best waves on offer, decimating the sections on her backhand and scoring an upset victory against the No. 2 seed for a place in the Semifinals against Lakey Peterson (USA).
"Most of the wave potential is right in front of the judging tower, so I decided to set myself up there and be patient. Luckily it came my way," said Buitendag. "It feels weird being the only goofy-footer in the draw because you can't compare yourself to anyone, which is a good thing. I grew up on a right-hand point break so I hope I can get good waves."
The last Quarterfinal of the day saw a match-up between 2013 Roxy Pro runner up, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), and Lakey Peterson (USA) who were both fighting for a slot in the Semifinals. Peterson put on another dynamic show and the scoreboard churned as Fitzgibbons put up a solid fight. An excellent 8-point wave saw Peterson knock the Australian out of the competition, devastating Fitzgibbons' chances of a repeat final appearance. Peterson will go on to face Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in the Semifinals.
"I was pretty fired up, I don't think I've ever claimed an 8-point wave in my life," said Peterson. "I'm so excited and I've worked so hard this year. To get to the Semifinals is awesome and I want to keep going. I've worked hard so it's good to have it pay off."
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Match-ups:
Semifinal 1: Stephanie Gilmore (USA) vs. Carissa Moore (HAW)
Semifinal 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results:
Quarterfinal 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.43 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.50
Quarterfinal 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.33 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 7.00
Quarterfinal 3: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.93 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 7.67
Quarterfinal 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.90 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.84