‘Get Barreled Or Go Home’
The WSL judges make a loud and clear statement on Day 2 of the Women’s Pipe CT.
With 10 minutes left in her Round 3 match against Sally Fitzgibbons, Malia Manuel had the two best waves of the heat…she was in second place.
Malia’s first wave, a short Backdoor tube, was rewarded with the heat’s highest score — a 4.83. However, the two middle scores belonged to Sally Fitzgibbons — a 3.83 and 3.2 for two pocket rides on slightly larger lefts — putting her in the driver’s seat. Malia’s backup score was a well-surfed right, featuring two seamless frontside arcs. The judges gave it a 2.17.
Anywhere else in the world, Malia’s two waves would have earned the highest scores from the panel of five. But not today. Not at Pipeline.
But the judges aren’t stupid. They knew these scores were wrong. They were just using them to make a statement: Get barreled, or go home.
And it worked. The rest of the women picked up on the trend and navigated some fine tubes throughout the day.
Highlights include: Carissa’s 9.5, Johanne’s quarterfinal drop to guillotine, the WSL’s decision to call off Final’s day until the waves get bigger.
Lowlights: Carissa’s would-have-been-second 9.5, turns… not at Pipe plz unless it’s a cherry on top, a slow ocean.
Head below to see what else happened.
Despite the judges stiffing her for turns, Malia was able to regroup, reassess, and regain the lead over Australia’s ever-hopeful ally Fitz. Good thing, too — I had $30 on the local.
India Robinson sat on the beach for the entirety of her heat against Tyler Wright, tending to “pre-existing injuries”. I can empathize. My elbow always seems to flair up when they waves get over six-foot. Or is it my shoulder?
The next heat lacked nothing in the tenacity department. Moana Wong vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb was the best Round 3 heat both on paper, and nearly in practice. The two fiery goofs went wave-for-wave until the final minutes, when Moana bested Tati’s Backdoor blaster with a stand-tall Pipe cavern — not her best wave out there by any means, but enough to seal the deal against her arch nemesis.
Moana’s smile was contagious after the win, especially for your author, who put $55 on her to win the entire event…at +800. That’s a $440 payout if she wears the crown. Get in on the action here.
I thought Carissa vs. Bethany would be a good matchup. It was not. Carissa trounced the people’s champ, and it wasn’t even as close as the scorecard made it seem (14.67 to 2.23). Carissa would have had a second 9.5 if she’d just held her line on one, which would have been the best heat ever surfed by a woman at Pipeline. She’s still the easy favorite to win this event.
Michael Ciaramella signing off, Ethan Davis takes the reigns from here.
Johanne Defay vs Mol Picklum was the only heat from the Round of 16 where both surfers got double-digit heat totals (12.94 to 11.17, respectively). Johanne kicked off the heat swooping into a washy Backdoor cave with a stylish double arm drag, exiting just in time to miss the end section guillotine. The guillotine on her next notable wave, an even bigger Backdoor cavern featuring a critical under-the-lip drop did not miss (Flying Embers’ ‘Drop of the Day), chopping her in half on her way out the doggy door.
The heat looked sealed with six minutes to go, until a disoriented Johanne mistook a In-N-Out burger for a Backdoor nug, leaving Mol Picklum with an uncontested crack at a perfectly-baked chunk of Pacific. After a sharp bottom, Mol tucked into said six-foot chunk of Pacific, stood tall, and got blasted into a crumbly end section which she lip-tickled – 7.17, straight to first. With six waves apiece, Johanne waited until the final four minutes to line up her TKO, pulling into a dreamy double-overhead Backdoor cone, seasoned with two swoops and a closeout re-entry for a 6.27 to get the W.
In the final heat of the Round, Lakey Peterson found two Backdoor gems while Luana Silva bobbed around in the North Pacific Current. Lakey’s two waves, a 6 and 7.83 to Luana’s 0.43 and 1.77 left a hefty margin, seeing her on through to her quarterfinal fixture against an in-form Johanne Defay.
Malia Manuel vs Tyler Wright on paper looked like a prize-fight, in the end it was a slow, low-scoring affair. Malia’s 8.17 on Day 1 was one of the best surfed waves of the event, a performance she backed up in her Round of 16 win over Sal Fitz. Perhaps a little too hungry to get started, Malia took off on some pretty questionable waves, leaving Tyler uncontested on the wave of the heat, an almondy Backdoor canvas, which she finished off with a layback jam and a cutback. Her single wave score, a 5.17 was more than the sum of Malia’s top-two waves after five cracks. Tyler into the semi’s.
Carrying the bravado from a win against arch nemesis Tati in the preceding round, Moana bagged a pair of 5.67’s for two near-identical Pipe tubes that she threaded from boil to channel. Issy Nichols answered back with the best score of the heat for a longer, deeper Backdoor tube that got her a 7.67 but her backup was nowhere to be found.
Riss Moore vs Brisa Hennessy saw Carissa for the umpteenth time in her 13-year CT career play with her food. After threading a highline through a foamy end section for a 5.0, Riss tucked into a proper double-overhead groomed Backdoor tube with 6 minutes to go, finishing it off with layback hack on the end section right in front of prey, Brisa. An 8.33 to combo Brisa with the highest score of the Quarters.
In the final heat of the day Lakey P took on Johanne D. Plagued with a slow ocean Johanne 4.67 for some brief tunnel-vision looked like it would secure a move into the semi-finals. Not so, channeling her inner KS, Lakey stroked into a two-sectioned Backdoor drainer with less than 10 seconds on the clock. A emotional buzz beater that will see her match up against Riss Moore in the semi-finals.
Billabong Pro Pipeline Women’s Round of 16 Results:
HEAT 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.73 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 7.06
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 8.27 DEF. India Robinson (AUS)
HEAT 3: Moana Jones Wong (HAW) 10.77 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 9.44
HEAT 4: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 11.06 DEF. Bettylou Sakura Johnson (HAW) 7.03
HEAT 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.67 DEF. Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 2.23
HEAT 6: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 9.16 DEF. Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 5.03
HEAT 7: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.94 DEF. Molly Picklum (AUS) 11.17
HEAT 8: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.83 DEF. Luana Silva (HAW) 2.20
Billabong Pro Pipeline Women’s Quarterfinals Results:
HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 5.77 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 4.97
HEAT 2: Moana Jones Wong (HAW) 11.34 DEF. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 10.44
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.33 DEF. Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 4.37
HEAT 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.70 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 6.90
Billabong Pro Pipeline Women’s Semifinals Matchups:
HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Moana Jones Wong (HAW)
HEAT 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
Billabong Pro Pipeline Men’s Quarterfinals Matchups:
HEAT 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
HEAT 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Lucca Mesinas (PER)
HEAT 3: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
HEAT 4: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
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