5 things we learned from the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro Day 2

Day 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro featured the ladies of the ASP World Tour. Photo by Corey Wilson/Surfing magazine

Day 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro featured the ladies of the ASP World Tour. Photo by Corey Wilson/Surfing magazine

Day 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro saw the women complete Rounds 2, 3, and 4. In an action-packed day featuring quality conditions, we look at five lessons we learned from the day's competition, which left just eight surfers remaining.

The ratings don't lie
Of the eight surfers left in the competition, it is only Laura Enever who is currently ranked outside the top eight of the ASP World Championship Tour rankings. That tells us that the ratings don't lie and that this year there will be no upset or surprise winner. All the big names are still in contention, and whoever wins this event will have to be considered one of the early favorites for the world title.

South Africa's Bianca Buitendag on Day 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro; photo courtesy ASP

South Africa's Bianca Buitendag on Day 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro; photo courtesy ASP

Bianca gets comfortable
2013 rookie of the year Bianca Buitendag has backed up her second place in the Roxy Pro Gold Coast with a series of dominant displays at Margaret River. Two wins with high heat scores of 14.4 and 17.50 means the current world No. 2 is the surfer to watch. "I'm relaxed; there's no stress or fear. I feel I deserve to be here," the South African said in a webcast interview. "I'm comfortable and just enjoying every second of it." She may be enjoying it, but her opponents certainly aren't.

Sally Fitzgibbons surfing her way into the quarterfinals of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro; photo by Corey Wilson/Surfing magazine

Sally Fitzgibbons surfing her way into the quarterfinals of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro; photo by Corey Wilson/Surfing magazine

Bridesmaid to bride
No surfer has come closer to a world title than Sally Fitzgibbons in recent years. She was a runner-up for three years in succession, from 2010 to 2012, and came in third last year. Her performance in Round 4, where she scored a heat total of 15.37, laid down a real marker for her opponents. Can the Australian former track star go all the way at Margaret River and finally reach her ultimate goal of being the ASP world champion in 2014?

Stephanie Gilmore makes her way to the water on Day 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. Photo by Corey Wilson/Surfing magazine

Stephanie Gilmore makes her way to the water on Day 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. Photo by Corey Wilson/Surfing magazine

Winning ugly
Five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore, winner of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, hasn't exactly been blowing down doors at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. In fact, she has just squeaked through her three heats, with her highest heat total being a meager 11.54. Yet Gilmore is still in the quarters and perhaps still the favorite. If winning ugly has got her this far, it's scary for her opponents to think what might happen when she inevitably turns on the gas.

2013 world champ Carissa Moore en route to a quarterfinal berth at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro; photo courtesy ASP

2013 world champ Carissa Moore en route to a quarterfinal berth at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro; photo courtesy ASP

Carissa Moore's no-strategy strategy
Defending event champion and 2013 ASP world-title holder Carissa Moore has been serenely progressing through her heats, to the point where she seems hardly even to be competing. "I just want to go out and have fun and not think about it too much," was her response when asked about her quarterfinal strategy. Yet with her dad, a full-time coach, her boyfriend, and local ripper Andrew Sheridan all in her brain trust, there's a lot more thinking going on then perhaps the Hawaiian lets on. She might be having fun, but her preparation in defending her title is second to none.

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