Australian duo Tyler Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons will continue their battle for the yellow jersey after both secured their spot in the quarter finals of the US Open of Surfing in California.
Wright lost her Round 3 heat but came back with a big win over wildcard Maud Le Car in Round 4.
The World no.1 threw down a commanding 7.57 to gain the heat lead. Le Car, with a 4.67, needed an excellent 9.07 after Wright locked in a 6.17. Le Car, who previously eliminated Stephanie Gilmore, was not able to repeat her victory yesterday and will exit with in 9th place.
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“It’s always a part of the plan to end up in the Finals and I treat every heat pretty much the same with the same details and prep,” Wright said.
“Obviously, I have to adapt to whatever is on-hand. Clearly not enough training was done on my part as I thought paddling at J-Bay was going to be enough — but no — this current is super hectic. The water is constantly pulling you so it’s taken it out of me today, but I’ve kind of just been managing that and I’m managing energy in a heat.”
World No. 2 Fitzgibbons flew through Round 3 with a 14.33 heat total against Sage Erickson and Silvana Lima.
Fitzgibbons took full advantage of the southside sets to post an excellent 8.00 and solid 6.33 for the win and the highest two-wave total of the women’s event today. Fitzgibbons will meet Erickson again in Quarterfinal 3.
“I think a World Title is always the intention and it’s just about how you get there and events like this where anything can happen,” Fitzgibbons said.
“It’s shaping up to be a week where you can show up and consistently build, and get that spark in yourself — the excitement is there for me especially this year. What I love most about coming here and being in this position is putting on the jersey and the process of it all. At this level, it’s the tiniest thing that will send you out of the event, so it’s about just being on and focused.”
Local favorite Courtney Conlogue also advanced to the quarter finals, along with Tatiana Weston-Webb, Coco Ho, Johanne Defay and Pauline Ado.