After flying 8,000 miles to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Alessa Quizon wasn't even sure if she had the wildcard slot in the Billabong Pro. Four days later, the standout Hawaiian junior had taken down Steph Gilmore, Lakey Peterson, and Courtney Conlogue en route to the semi finals.
"I was just so nervous and I had to make it count," Quizon said after her quarterfinal match-up with Conlogue. "I just saw this wave coming in and I was just going to go right; I'm stronger on my backhand. I was just so caught up in the moment and wanted to make the best out of it."
Coco Ho decisively sent a frustrated Gilmore packing after the second quarterfinal, which loosened the four-time world champion's grip on the top seed -- though exactly how much remains to be seen. Gilmore now has 38,400 points for the season, and if Sally Fitzgibbons wins on Sunday, she'll have 36,900.
The unfortunate Huntington Hop was a key maneuver throughout Saturday's competition at Barra da Tijuca. After a lay day on Friday, the weather and time-pressed ladies had little choice but to scratch for 1- to 2-foot waves on the third active day of competition. Surfing creatively, the women made miniscule sets surprisingly contestable, and there were a few high-ish scoring heats in the middle of the day: the second and third heats of round three saw winners Ho and Fitzgibbons bring in 15.40 and 16.00 totals, respectively.
Once again, the fifth heat of the day brought on a mega lull, which cramped the dash to tick off rounds. As Quizon and Peterson went an agonizing 15 minutes without a single ride, Contest Director Luke Egan decided to put the event on an hour-long hold to reassess. An hour later, the verdict was that these waves were their best bet. Powering though commenced.
"It takes nearly three days to run their event [and the waiting period is only five days]," Egan said of the women after the break. "It's very difficult when you come across conditions like these to give them what they deserve. Unfortunately, the waves aren't going to get much better tomorrow either, so the girls have to really tuck into these little waves and have a go, because this is about it."
As Steph Gilmore pointed out, the conditions in France and HB could be "exactly like this." So, it's good practice.
Next call is Sunday at 10 a.m. for the semifinals.
BILLABONG RIO PRO WOMEN'S QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 12.77 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.50
QF 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.93 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 7.23
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.50 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 9.17
QF 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 8.43 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 8.33
BILLABONG RIO PRO WOMEN'S ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 12.56 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.87
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.26 def. Tyler Wright (AUS)11.44
Heat 3: Pauline Ado (FRA) 12.10, def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 10.33
Heat 4: Laura Enever (AUS) 13.10 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 9.60
BILLABONG RIO PRO WOMEN'S ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA)11.87, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 11.66, Tyler Wright (AUS) 7.96
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 15.40, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.07, Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.30
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.00, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.16, Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.50
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.83, Laura Enever (AUS) 11.67, Pauline Ado (FRA) 10.20