"I Wouldn't Call It A Heat Win, I'd Call It A Heat Make" - Stab Mag

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Photo by Tony Heff/WSL

“I Wouldn’t Call It A Heat Win, I’d Call It A Heat Make”

The WSL runs a brief day of Sunset groveling to setup a hopefully firing Finals Day.

features // Feb 17, 2023
Words by Holden Trnka
Reading Time: 4 minutes

In our Sunset event preview we noted that, due to the laws of nature, surf contests will forever be subject to one rule.

“Sometimes maybe good, sometimes maybe shit.”

Today? The latter.

Ah well.

Clearly today was an aim to setup Finals Day, and not waste a day of good waves on early round heats.

With a pretty decent forecast ahead, seemed like the right call.


  • Stephanie Gilmore masterfully choreographs her heat in chest high rights, finds a 6 and a 7 on a day of 4’s
  • Molly Picklum continues her potent CT return run, leaves us thinking maybe the Mid-Year Cut was indeed a good policy.
  • Caity Simmers surfs 45-second Sunset wave, subsequent score sends Tatiana Weston-Webb packing
  • Caroline Marks stands with Nat Young as the final goofs in the draw.
Can you guess whether Gabriela Bryan won her heat? Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League

Come Ups

Peak performance: Stephanie Gilmore, Carissa Moore, Caroline Marks

Hit replay: Women’s R16 H3, H7

Monster maneuvers:

  • Steph’s beautifully surfed 11th and 13th waves


“I wouldn’t call it a heat win, I’d call it a heat make” – Caity Simmers

“You never know when there’s gonna be a hot-tub or a pool somewhere.” – also Caity

Yeah the Pickle. Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League

Though yesterday’s pulse dispelled any creeping thoughts of a renewed WSL curse, the energy couldn’t hold for today.

The lineup shifted up the beach to the less desirable — but still perfectly contestable — Sunset Point.

Judging by the 13 waves Steph caught in her heat, it was a guessing game as to which set waves would be surfable and which would be gutless lump.

Molly Picklum managed to continue her statement return run to the Championship Tour, leaving it to the last minute to sneak by Isabella Nichols. Molly recently mentioned that she was “glad she got knocked off tour.” Based on her newfound, very mature approach to this year’s heat, we’d agree that it may have been good for her growth as a professional surfer.

The fact that her, Bettylou Sakura Johnson, Joao Chianca, and Leo Fioravanti have all returned in succesful fashion to the CT, lends itself to the WSL’s argument that the Mid-Year Cut is actually a good thing.

Molly Picklum will win an event this year, mark my words. Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League

When it was instated, we stayed mostly neutral on the topic of the hotly debated MYC. Now, aside from us missing out on watching Joao at Teahupo’o, it seems like it hasn’t really been the worst thing. Pretty much every CT-deserving surfer that was cut last year, arrived back on tour this year.

If the MYC trims the dying leaves from the CT, allows the WSL to run quicker events in good waves, and helps them to be more profitable, all while still giving the deserving surfers an opportunity to arrive back on tour, then I can’t really argue with it.

Plus, you can’t deny that you’re looking forward to seeing the drama at Margies.

Maybe we just needed a period of adjustment. Maybe I’m just a WSL stan.

Really, I just want more lefts on tour.

Just because she lost early at Pipe, doesn’t mean she isn’t still World Champ. Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League

Anyway, Stephanie Gilmore continued to look as confident as she had on Day 1, with strategy clearly outlined as; “catch a shit ton of waves.” It worked, and after doubling Zoe McDougall’s wave count and then some, Steph managed two beautifully choreographed 7’s and the highest heat of the day.

It’s no secret that we love Caity Simmers, so we were glad to see her cruise past Tatiana Weston Webb. Her glass-chat was maybe more entertaining than her heat. In it, she laughed about the fact that she hasn’t gotten more than a 5 this event, and smirked playfully the entire time.

If you haven’t seen Toasted, it’s free to view here.

To end the day, Caroline Marks did good by the goofies, and skated past Bettylou in a very lully heat.

Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League

Gamble Ramble:

Mikey C’s confidence in Carissa is stronger than your high school relationship. Of late, it seems theres hardly a betonline.ag wager he’d shy away from.

It’s working though.

Will he top last event’s winnings on Final’s day? Possible but not probable.

$10 on Macy Callaghan at +275 (to win $28) LOST
$40 on Bettylou at -165 (to win $24) LOST
$20 on Tati WW at -135 (to win $15) LOST
$50 on Gabriela at +110 (to win $55) WON
$300 on Carissa at -250 (to win $120) WON

Day total: $105

Event total: $341

Event Winners Picks:

$20 on Griffin at +2000 (to win $400)
$10 on Joao at +3300 (to win $330)
$40 on Filipe at +2000 (to win $800)
$20 on Jordy at +2000 (to win $400) LOST
$30 on Ethan at +1000 (to win $300)
$20 on Bettylou at +1000 (to win $200) LOST
$20 on Molly at +1200 (to win $240)
$20 on Brisa at +2000 (to win $400)
$10 on Gabriela at +2000 (to win $200)

Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Women’s Round of 16 Results:
HEAT 1: Brisa Hennessy (CRC) 8.17 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 7.50
HEAT 2: Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.10 DEF. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 10.80
HEAT 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.17 DEF. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 9.67
HEAT 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 6.96 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 6.84
HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.33 DEF. Luana Silva (BRA) 7.63
HEAT 6: Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 9.53 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.30
HEAT 7: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 9.80 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 8.83
HEAT 8: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.00 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 7.96


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