The second round of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast was meant to be the aerated, cheese-like filling between two delectable and masculine Quiksilver crackers (hold the Vegemite) on Sunday morning. The general consensus was that the waves would take a turn for the worse as the women hit the water shortly before high tide, but the 4-foot sets rolling past the rocks at Snapper proved to be highly contestable.
Just ask rookie Lakey Peterson. The 17-year-old was absolutely ripping. She posted a heat total of 16.33, second only to Brazil's Silvana Lima, who rustled up a 17.56. Tour sophomore Courtney Conlogue, 19, also scored some excellent waves and New Zealand alternate Sarah Mason caused a major upset by knocking out world No. 6 Coco Ho.
Laura Enever found her fast-paced rhythm and advanced to the third round after some initial trouble in the first heat. As Brazilian Jacqueline Silva drew chilled-out, serpentine lines and executed wrapping turns, Enever took a different approach and assailed many a lip.
The second heat saw a similar matchup as France's Pauline Ado fiercely combatted Peterson's progressive hacks with more traditional [but equally as impressive] roundhouse cutties. Peterson took the lead with a 9.0, but Ado wasn't interested in elimination and remained firmly in the game. Ado finished the heat with a noteworthy 14.37.
"I've been looking forward to getting to the Gold Coast for quite some time now," Peterson said. "Since I qualified, I've been getting ready and training. The waves are so fun, the sun came out, and the crowd's amazing. I'm just happy to be here, surfing against my heroes, really. That [9.0 ride] was one of the better waves I've seen all day. I had priority and I could tell that one was going to hit the sandbar and line up all the way. It was such a beautiful wave, and I was stoked I got to ride it."
Even with an aching knee, Silvana Lima had wildcard Philippa Anderson comboed halfway through the third heat. Anderson fought admirably, finishing with an 11.50, but was ultimately no match for Lima's precision and impeccable connections. Lima's top waves were both in the excellent range.
"I'm so happy with that," said Lima, "Before the heat, I felt my knee a little bit, so I was just like, 'I can do this, forget the knee.' I surfed for me and for all of Brazil, and I feel great right now."
On Saturday, Anderson said, "Going into a heat, you always hope for a win, but even just to win the trials and surf Snapper with three girls out -- let alone Carissa, world champion, and Bec Woods, another great Tour surfer -- I'm just so stoked and privileged to be in the water."
Sarah Mason took an early lead over 20-year-old Ho in the fourth heat. The 16-year-old is originally from New Zealand, but has been living on the Gold Coast for several years now. She found a slot in the comp after an injury forced rookie Justine Dupont to withdraw. Her all-around stellar surfing sustained her lead and propelled her into the third round, eliminating Ho in the process.
"The waves looked so fun," she said, "I've surfed at Snapper quite a bit and I was really excited to surf it with only one other person out." Going into round three, she said her strategy will be all about wave selection.
Conlogue went blow for blow with fellow American Sage Erickson in heat five. Her opening wave was a high six-pointer and Erickson replied with a 5.93. Erickson startled her opponent with a 7.50 late in the heat, but Conlogue secured her win with a super long, stylish ride just at the close.
"Having Sage in any heat is a lot of fun," Conlogue said. "She and I have been surfing against each other since the NSSA days, and she and I definitely were on our game, trying to kick each other's butts. In the end, she got that 7.5 and I'm like, 'Uh oh.' I saw that wave and I knew I had to take it or else she'd get the score. She had a great heat and did a great job as well."
Unfortunately for the sixth and final heat of the day, the waves decided to take a short break. Paige Hareb will join fellow Kiwi Mason in the third round after defeating Australian Rebecca Woods.
The swell is expected to hang around through midweek and we're sure to see heaps more progressive surfing from the ladies.
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 2 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Laura Enever (AUS) 13.37 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.20
HEAT 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.33 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.37
HEAT 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) 17.56 def. Philippa Anderson (AUS) 11.50
HEAT 4: Sarah Mason (NZL) 13.10 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 11.20
HEAT 5: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.60 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 13.43
HEAT 6: Paige Hareb (NZL) 12.34 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 8.10
UPCOMING ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Sarah Mason (NZL)
HEAT 2: Carissa Moore (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL)
HEAT 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW)
HEAT 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Lakey Peterson (USA)