Aussie Women Shine on Day 1 of MEO Pro Portugal Surfing Event

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Australia’s top female surfers excelled on day one of the MEO Pro Portugal Championship Tour (CT) surfing event at Supertubos in Peniche, which began on Thursday.

All seven have made it through to the round of 16, but it was rookie Molly Picklum from the New South Wales (NSW) Central Coast, and  CT veteran Sally Fitzgibbons from the NSW South Coast that really stood out in the shoulder to head-high conditions.

Both surfers scored around 15.50 in their heats, posting the highest scores of the day.

Picklum faced 2021 CT runner up Tatiana Weston-Webb of Brazil, as well as emerging star Hawaiian Gabriela Bryan in her heat, but took control early and never looked like giving up her lead.

Her highest single wave score was an 8.33 after she attacked the lip on the first turn and managed to whip the board straight back up into the lipline for a critical finish.

Fitzgibbons also had a tough heat, squaring off against in-form surfers Lakey Peterson of the U.S. and India Robinson of Australia.

Peterson looked dangerous, with consistent rail work and top to bottom surfing, but Fitzgibbons had the edge in speed and willingness to push her manoeuvres slightly harder, bumping her scores into the high 7 range compared to Peterson’s mid 6 scores.

Robinson and Bryan were forced to take the route of the elimination round, but both avoided an early exit, making it to the round of 16.

The other stand-out surfer of the day was five-time world champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii.

Moore, who did not reach the finals at Sunset Beach, scored 14 for her two best waves, defeating seven-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore of Australia and rookie Tia Blanco of the U.S.

After her heat, Moore told World Surf League (WSL) that the waves at Supertubos can be tricky, but there are definitely some gems out there to be had.

“I didn’t have such a great performance at Sunset, so it definitely feels good to like wash that off and have a clean slate,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
Italo Ferreira of Team Brazil surfs during the the mens semi-final on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tsurigasaki Surfing Beach in Ichinomiya, Chiba, Japan on July 27, 2021. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the men got through four heats of their opening round, with Italo Ferreira of Brazil dominating.

The 2019 world champ brought out his air game, which had not been an option in the first two events at Pipeline and Sunset.

Supertubos, on the other hand, presents some perfect ramps, and Ferreira capitalised on them, pulling off three front-side full rotations, while also throwing in a clean barrel ride and some superb carves to mix it up and clock a score of 16.17.

The one they call the GOAT, 11-time world champ Kelly Slater, will have to take the hard road to the round of 32the elimination roundafter coming third in his heat against Brazilian Samuel Pupo and Hawaiian Imaikalani deVault.

The next call for competition is Friday morning Portuguese time and Friday evening Australian time.

Steve Milne

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Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at steve.milne@epochtimes.com.au.



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