GUINCHO, Portugal (Friday, May 7, 2010) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Estoril Surf Billabong Girls 6-Star Women’s event ran through to the completion of round three with Tyler Wright (AUS) the standout surfer of a long day of competition as she advanced through all her heats to lay down the challenge to the top seeds in the $US35.000 event.
A strong cross-shore wind made conditions very tough throughout the day as the waves stayed in the 2-3ft (0.75m) range. Event officials took full advantage of the peaky lefthanders on offer during the higher tide and then ran an afternoon session for round three with the dropping tide at times causing a strong rip through the contest area.
Tyler Wright (AUS) from the very first heat of the day sent out a clear message that she is in form and going full on for this year's Estoril Surf Billabong Girls title. Destroying the lefts as they ran down the bank Wright on her backhand was unstoppable. Scoring a 9.5 (out of a possible 10) and a combined two wave heat total of 17.25 (out of a possible 20) the highest for the opening day.
"The conditions out there are really tough and the wind is onshore but there are a couple of waves coming through and fortunately I have been able to get two in nearly every heat so I'm happy with that."
"That was a good wave because it hit the bank real well and in the end it was a really good wave for me," commented Wright on her top scoring ride. "It's my first time here and it will be my second time in France next week so I am really excited for it."
An ever smiling Wright played down her performance today advancing in first place in a total of three heats and is not at all placing any added pressure onto herself by thinking too far ahead and is trying to stay relaxed as the year progresses.
"It has been good so far, I am having heaps of fun. I went over to Western Australia and did an ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) over there and cruising around with dad and Owen on a trip down the south coast of Australia so it's been pretty fun and just having a good time."
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) currently ranked nº2 on the ASP Women's World Tour had a slow start in her first appearance at the Estoril Surf Billabong Girls where she struggled to find the waves needed as well as falling on some of her early rides.
It was not until the second half of her 25-minute clash that Fitzgibbons started the ball rolling with a confidence boosting 7.5 (out of a possible 10) point ride. Once gaining momentum she then performed a series of backhand smashes to score an 8.5 and a combined heat total of 16 points.
"Tough heat for the first round," stated Fitzgibbons. "It's a little onshore but there are still some contestable waves but a slow start for me and just couldn't quite find the right ones and my back foot slipped off a couple of times so a few things to work on but I came home strong."
"It is kind of like a point break set up with only lefts and there was a bit of hassling, a bit of jostling to get in position," continued Fitzgibbons. "It wasn't too bad because in the end we separated a little and had our own heats which was good."
"I hadn't got a good ride only a couple of fives and so I just paddled down the beach a little and found a lucky one and got a 7.5 so that kind of kick started my heat and then I come home strongly."
With numerous victories here in Portugal including the Estoril Surf Billabong Girls Fitzgibbons wants to keep the ball rolling and hopes to make another good result this year.
"Definitely want to keep the record high here in Portugal. It is a good place for me competitively and I love coming here, the coastline and the cities so I would like to keep that record going and another final would be nice."
Pauline Ado (FRA) finished second behind Sarah Baum (ZAF) in a close low scoring encounter during one of the most difficult periods of the day with strong currents sweeping through the contest area as the tide lowered along with the ever prevailing strong winds at Guincho today. Ado held off a late charge by Justine Dupont (FRA) who could not manage the score she needed to advance eventually finishing third.
"The wind is really strong and onshore," claimed Ado. "So you can't really tell when you paddle for a wave if it is going to be good or not so it's frustrating because you keep trying to wait for the good waves and you never get it. Some girls did but in that heat I didn't."
"I came second in my heat with a very low total so I am not really proud of my heat but I guess the most important is to make it through so I hope I will do better in my next round. Last year I lost in the first round here so hopefully I can keep improving on that and we will see how it all goes tomorrow."
The Estoril Surf Billabong Girls is stop one of four in the European Women's Series which will eventually crown this year's European Women's Champion.
For all results, photos, press releases and daily highlights log on to aspeurope.com.
RESULTS ROUND OF 48 ESTORIL SURF BILLABONG GIRLS
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.15, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 11.50, Leila Hurst (HAW) 8.80, Wini Paul (NZL) 5.40
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.45, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 10.35, Cannelle Bulard (REU) 7.60, Suelen Naraisa (BRA) 4.50
Heat 3: Nicola Atherton (AUS) 10.65, Nage Melamed (HAW) 10.00, Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 5.15, Ana Sarmento (PRT) 3.50
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.00, Erica Hosseini (USA) 8.30, Sayuri Hashimoto (JPN) 8.00, Brittani Nicholl (AUS) 6.65
Heat 5: Joanne Defay (FRA) 9.90, Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 9.25, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 8.85, Claudia Goncalves (BRA) 5.35
Heat 6: Alana Blanchard (HAW) 13.00, Sage Erickson (USA) 7.00, Angela Keighran (AUS) 7.00, Garazi Sanchez (EUK) 2.10
Heat 7: Sarah Baum (ZAF) 9.65, Pauline Ado (FRA) 8.35, Justine Dupont (FRA) 7.35, Anne Cecile Le Tallec (FRA) 5.50
Heat 8: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 10.35, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.00, Francisca Santos (PRT) 5.65, Valeria Sole (PER) 3.75
Heat 9: Laurina McGrath (AUS) 14.50, Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.00, Alizee Arnaud (FRA) 10.75, Amandine Sanchez (FRA) 5.35
Heat 10: Laura Enever (AUS) 8.60, Ornella Pellizzari (ARG) 8.00, Jessica Santorik (NZL) 7.00, Joana Rocha (PRT) 3.90
Heat 11: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.75, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 8.80, Chantelle Rautenbach (ZAF) 7.55, Crystal Vail (AUS) 5.15
Heat 12: Anastasia Ashley (USA) 10.25, Tarryn Chudleigh (ZAF) 10.10, Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 10.05, Sarah Beardmore (GBR) 2.30
RESULTS ROUND OF 60 ESTORIL SURF BILLABONG GIRLS
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.75, Cannelle Bulard (REU) 11.60, Asako Mizuno (JPN) 3.80, Greta Dalle Luche (ITA) 2.90
Heat 2: Nage Melamed (HAW) 9.00, Brittani Nicholl (AUS) 7.15, Amy Nicholl (USA) 6.95, Estitxu Estremo (ESP) 3.30
Heat 3: Joanne Defay (FRA) 15.15, Garazi Sanchez (EUK) 6.75, Nicole Morgan (IRL) 6.05, Freya Prumm (AUS) 5.90
Heat 4: Sarah Baum (ZAF) 12.25, Valeria Sole (PER) 5.60, Joanne Dennison (GBR) 4.40, Easkey Britton (IRE) 2.85
Heat 5: Laurina McGrath (AUS) 8.25, Jessica Santorik (NZL) 7.15, Carina Da Silva Duarte (PRT) 5.90, Nao Omura (JPN) 5.00
Heat 6: Chantelle Rautenbach (ZAF) 9.50, Anastasia Ashley (USA) 6.20, Lore Eizaguirre (EUK) 5.25, Bo Stanley (USA) 0.00
RESULTS ROUND OF 72 ESTORIL SURF BILLABONG GIRLS
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.25, Estitxu Estremo (ESP) 5.00, Louisa Noble (GBR) 2.20
Heat 3: Freya Prumm (AUS) 10.75, Joanne Dennison (GBR) 3.65, Valentia Vitale (ITA) 2.90
Heat 5: Jessica Santorik (NZL) 11.50, Lore Eizaguirre (EUK) 4.40, Danielle Ohayon (BRA) 1.70