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Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

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Women Rule, Air Guys Drool On A Lovely Balinese Morning

The Airborne guys had a 6 am call today, something they were not particularly pleased with.

Wonder if it had something to do with them all going out last night.

In defense of the soar queens, “No airs before noon,” was Kerrzy’s claim before the start of the season, but with a tricky Keramas forecast, that ‘rule’ was nearly broken this morning. 

Instead, the commissioners decided to send out the women – a very wise decision, until the three final heats, which were zapped of their energy by quickly drying tide. Tough nuggets for Malia, Lakey, and Tati Dub-dub.

The first five heats though – pure gold. If you’re a fan of competitive surfing, these matches provided a surplus of entertainment despite the smaller conditions. Plus, size hardly matters when the waves run like a German assembly line (speedy, efficient, of the utmost quality).

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Carissa Moore faced the Kiwi gal in heat one, and the scores make it seem closer than it really was. Don’t get me wrong, Paige Hareb surfed exceptionally well given the conditions and her stance respective to the wave, but doing the same up-and-down move on every section of every ride becomes tiresome to the trained eye, while Carissa’s wing-spanning swoops never seem to lose their custard.

Despite a disappointing finish at Bells, Riss could right her ship with a win here. But first she’ll have to face the rookie.

Brisa Hennessey’s performance was one of the most impressive of the day. Nevermind her middling heat total – the Costa Rican rookie played a masterful game of chess against Tour vet Johanne Defay, getting the better of just about every exchange and never relinquishing prio.

In one particularly clever instance, with her competitor needing just a 5.17 to advance, Brisa let Johanne go on a steep insider before taking the bomb out the back. Johanne surfed her wave to its potential but left a question mark in the judges’ minds. The Costa Rican made no such mistake, blitzing the first section with a brutal hack-to-slide before dropping her wallet where the wave stood its steepest. Noticing Defay’s position on the paddle-out, Brisa banged the lip once more before kicking out to regain priority.

She got a 6, Johanne got a 5, and the heat never teetered from there.

Champion type shit.  

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Next up was World Number one and the youngest surfer on Tour, Caroline Marks, vs. the lowest ranked and oldest woman on Tour, Silvana Lima. Strider pegged this as the best matchup of the day on account of their similar statures but unique approaches.

The on-site commentary mustn't have been so even-keeled.

According to a source on the beach, Silvana Lima’s team complained that the commentary wasn’t giving her enough credit and were specifically pushing Caroline.

While I can’t confirm the validity of their claims, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that an announcer displayed favoritism at a surfing event. And while not illegal, this sort of thing could have a subconscious effect on the judges, which is probably why the Lima crew was so upset.

But it was all for naught. Silvana flattened the Floridian like a Mickey Mouse pancake, using a variety of open-shouldered turns to expose the one-dimensional nature of backside surfing, a la Carissa Moore vs. Paige Hareb in heat one.

Had Caroline caught better waves, this heat could have had a different ending, but as it stands the World Number one has fallen, and it’s quite possible she’ll lose that title following the conclusion of this event.

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Sally Fitz beat Coco Ho in a bit of a sleeper, followed by our current and 7x World Champion Steph Gilmore taking the sea.

As great as the rest of the gals on Tour may be, when Steph is on, there’s only one person in this world who can stop her, and that person is not Keely Andrew (despite Keely’s 2:1 career advantage over Steph).

On her second wave, Steph went straight for the lip. Rather than redirecting toward shore for a standard reo, Steph grabbed her rail and released the fins over the coping, leading to a controlled (and stylish) slide that made this viewer’s pupils spread. Without so much as a pump, Steph was straight into her next three turns, which she wrapped beautifully back to the pocket.

I can’t imagine anyone surfing that particular wave better, but the judges deemed it a high-seven. New scale considered, it still should have been excellent.

Steph’s next ride was equally masterful, with a sharp check followed by a supremely committed swoop in the pocket – the type Mick Fanning built his career around. Steph slipped in another half turn to “complete the ride” but the damage had already been done.

Keely had visibly shrunk and, like that, Steph was in the quarters.

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Malia Manuel became the first victim of the tide, as her heat fell on dead high. Catching just two waves in her 30-minute session, and one of them being cruelly underscored, the Hawaiian was no match for Conlogue’s aggressive wave-catching approach.

The tide dropped pecipitously, causing the waves to drop at a gravitational rate. Lakey Peterson couldn’t adapt to the steepening walls and spent most of her heat trying to de-bog her rails. Meanwhile, Tati Weston-Webb could hardly find her feet. Bronte McCaulay and Nikki Van Dijk won those heats respectively, and the quarters were decided.

Forecast looks promising for the weekend. Y'excite?

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Corona Bali Protected Women’s Round 3 (Round of 16) Results:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.56 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.57  
Heat 2: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 11.60 DEF. Johanne Defay (FRA) 10.40  
Heat 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.56 DEF. Caroline Marks (USA) 11.26  
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.03 DEF. Coco Ho (HAW) 9.77  
Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.34 DEF. Keely Andrew (AUS) 6.37  
Heat 6: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.40 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 7.83  
Heat 7: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 11.10 DEF. Lakey Peterson (USA) 6.17  
Heat 8: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.60 DEF. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 8.50

Corona Bali Protected Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)  
QF 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)  
QF 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
QF 4: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)

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