Can Anyone Stop Carissa? - Stab Mag
Carissa has not been surfing like her jersey will change color. Photo: Cait Miers/WSL

Can Anyone Stop Carissa?

Maybe, probably not. Highlights Day 3 at Margaret River.

Words by Tim Hawken

Local girl Bronte Macaulay shone. Steph looked almost too cruisy. But, it was Carissa Moore who once again proved what world champs are made of—power under fire.

Day Three of the Margaret River Pro looked like another planet after two enormous days of competition. The sun was out and swell down. Still, early indications looked like it would hold at the 4-5ft mark for the day. If it was Narrabeen, officials would have been tripping over themselves to get the action underway. As it was, the general feeling was ‘I guess we should’. The girls hit the water with the mens round of 16 planned for straight after.

The first matchup was a battle of the goofies. Caroline Marks kicked it off with a few quick scores to take the lead and put Bronte Macaulay into comboland, and then something amazing happened. Bronte started to out-Caroline, Caroline. The West Aussie took a solid set and unleashed some big backhand turns to drop the highest score of the heat. She then backed it up with another mid 7 leaving Caroline needing something special to finish. Caroline had a chance, but couldn’t get there. 

Local knowledge and/or confidence and/or proper good surfing. Bronte Macaulay. Photo: Cait Miers/WSL

In her post-heat interview, Bronte acknowledged that sometimes winning in surfing is all about confidence.

“It’s funny. You can’t be too humble in this sport. I look at someone like Tatiana and she’s so confident. I’m like, oh wow, I think I could take a page from her book because I’m quite self critical. I feel like if you’re Australian and you say something over-confident you get a bit of a beat down and get pretty roasted. I don’t know, you’ve got to stay true to yourself at the same time and back yourself, especially in those last few minutes of the heat.”

As an Aussie, I think maybe Bronte was talking herself up too much and should be brought down a peg or two. Jokes, obviously. Bronte for PM. Mikey and his mullet for vice.    

In the next heats, that confidence once again came into play again. Johanne Defay never missed a beat against Amuro Tsuzuki, who looked to be doubting herself, especially on the critical end section. Tati might have heard Bronte’s compliment and went out all-guns blazing for a convincing win against Sage Erickson. Tyler fought back in a nail-biter against Brisa to make the quarters, but it was a mid scoring affair that was totally overshadowed by the next match up. 

She’ll be right, this one. Macy Callaghan. Photo: Cait Miers/WSL

The Carissa Moore v Macy Callaghan heat was easily the showstopper of the day. Carissa started with an 8 and it looked like the champ would waltz through again. Macy was having none of it though. She absolutely thumped three turns on a left for an 8.67. Another well-surfed right under Carissa’s priority gave Macy a 7.5 and the lead for the briefest of moments. Behind her though, Carissa went into beast mode. Three power carves pushed the judges almost to the 9s. The wild thing is, she didn’t even look like she was pushing herself that hard. With more swell on the way, it’s hard to see anyone matching Carissa in Hawaiian-esque waves. It’s worth noting that Macy’s surfing would have won her any other heat on Day 3. It’s the second event in a row where she’s really impressed, only to have her dreams crushed by someone on a rampage. Coming back to that theme of confidence, if she can manage to continue her personal belief after taking bad beats like that, she’ll eventually become a champion in her own right. 

Speaking of champions, Steph Gilmore took a cruisy win over Nikki Van Dijk. The 7x World Title holder swooped through easy carves, found a cheeky barrel and kept ahead of her competitor every step of the way. Steph maybe even fell victim to Parko syndrome. At times she looked too relaxed to get excellent scores, but her board was still slicing and dicing. Around this time the energy in the ocean chilled out too, and the announcement was made that action would wrap up with the last heat of the round. 

Cheeky, Steph. Photo: Matt Dunbar/WSL

That heat was Sally Fitz vs Malia Manuel. It was a super close affair, with Sally taking a leaf out of Macy Callaghan’s books to draw up solid scores on the lefts. Malia stuck to the rights, surfing with power and grace to fight back. She got her two best scores in just the two last minutes, hustling to make her mark. I actually thought she’d gotten the scores she needed. But, she didn’t. Maybe it was my bias of having her in my Fantasy Surfer team, but I reckon Malia’s 7.1 was at least a point better than Sally’s 7 on the left. Watch the replays and put in your opinion. That manufactured controversy might keep us talking until competition resumes.

There’s a slight chance they’ll run again tomorrow. More than likely though, it looks like Sunday/Monday will be the finals days. Stay tuned for more.

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Women’s Round of 16 Results: 
HEAT 1: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 15.43 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 14.00
HEAT 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.83 DEF. Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) 5.87
HEAT 3: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 13.27 DEF. Sage Erickson (USA) 9.00
HEAT 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.83 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 11.13
HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.93 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 16.17
HEAT 6: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 12.83 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 12.63
HEAT 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.67 DEF. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.36
HEAT 8: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.33 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.57

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
HEAT 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)
HEAT 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro Men’s Round of 16 Matchups:
HEAT 1: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
HEAT 2: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
HEAT 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
HEAT 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)
HEAT 6: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 8: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

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