Conlogue and Peterson Shine at ASP Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro
The opening day of the ASP 6-Star Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro saw three rounds of competition completed with many stand-out performances highlighted by Californians Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Lakey Peterson (USA) in tough 2-3ft (1m) wind-swept peaks at the main event site of Praia do Guincho.
Running over three consecutive days the Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro is the fifth of seven events on the ASP Women’s Star Tour as well as stop nº 2 of 4 on the ASP Women’s European title race. Surfers competing at the Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro are out to capitalize on the valuable rankings points on offer in their bid to qualify for the elite ASP Women’s World Tour in 2012.
Early morning glassy conditions did not last long as strong thermal trade winds blew throughout the afternoon making wave ion a defining factor. Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana CA, USA) 18, read conditions perfectly choosing two long lefts with an aggressive combination of backhand gouges to accumulate the day’s highest two-wave combined total of 16.50 out of 20.
“I was trying to get the jitters out in that heat and get used to the conditions because it is really windy out there. I tried to stay active and keep busy. I was looking for any waves that doubled up or lined up off the inside sandbar with the tide being low. I stayed busy and watch for ones that had a little more lip and a lot cleaner face.”
Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara CA, USA) 16, stood out from the pack with a quality display in both her appearances racking up excellent scores and huge heat totals on both the left and right peaks. First up in Round Two Peterson let loose her forehand attack with powerful snaps in the critical sections to easily advance. Late this afternoon on the low tide it was time to unleash on the lefts to comfortably enter Round Four.
“I had a lot of fun and I think it is a matter of catching a lot of waves. In the summer time this is a lot like where I live with the strong wind. It is difficult for sure. I came down here a couple of days earlier and the waves are fun and the place is really beautiful so I am having fun. I liked the right and it suits my surfing and it has a wedge which is what I like in waves so I am excited to keep surfing it and see what happens.”
Cannelle Bulard (REU) 18, currently ranked nº25 on the ASP Women’s Star tour, quietly moved through her heats to kick start her Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro campaign with a solid start. After an average start to the early part of the season Bulard hit out crisp forehand snaps to build on her confidence leading into the remaining rounds.
“I am really happy because at the start of the year I haven’t done to well but today is a positive move forward on the rankings as well as for the European classification. I hope to continue like this tomorrow morning. The waves are tough but surfable. It is better here this year and I am enjoying Portugal.”
Dimity Stoyle (Sunshine Coast QLD, AUS) 19, relied on her positioning and solid start to build on her heat total to finish with a strong backhand wave to claim a 6.75 out of 10 and the heat victory. Fresh from a runner-up finish in the recent ASP Pro Junior in France, Stoyle is well established as a contender amongst the strong international field at the Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro.
“I am very happy to make it and the surf is a bit hard and I just made sure I got two good ones because I knew I had some really good girls in the heat. I wasn’t actually looking for any lefts but I think the position I was in at that moment it just popped up and I was in the perfect spot so I was so happy to get that one.”
Sophia Mulanovich (Lima, PER) 27, 2004 ASP Women’s World Champion, controlled her afternoon clash with her trademark backhand surfing to take an early lead and dominate the entire heat. Mulanovich took advantage of the improving conditions as the wind died off late in the evening.
“It was actually better out there this afternoon with some good lefts coming through. It was good fun. I like surfing on my backhand and the waves coincided for me so I am happy no matter what happens in the end tomorrow.”
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Upcoming Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro Round Four Matchups
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA), Sophia Mulanovich (PER), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 2: Cannelle Bulard (REU), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Dimity Stoyle (AUS)
Heat 3: Ornella Pellizzari (ARG), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 4: Sarah Baum (ZAF), Nage Melamed (HAW), Sarah Mason (NZL)