A series of stylish cutbacks, floaters, and tail slides landed France's Lee-Ann Curren a heat win over current world number one Carissa Moore of Hawaii during the first round of the 2011 Roxy Pro Biarritz. After Monday's lay day, round one launched this morning in marginal two-to-three foot waves on La Côte des Basques. Biarritz is the sixth of seven stops on the ASP Women's World Tour and all eyes are on Moore, who has a chance to clinch the world title here.
Heat one saw USA's Courtney Conlogue garner a couple of good backside rides to beat out Australians Tyler Wright and Rebecca Woods.
Local girl Pauline Ado came out swinging and dominated the beginning of heat two with an early 7.50. Tension surged as Hawaii's Alana Blanchard and Brazil's Silvana Lima energetically fought back.
"You've got the local crowd behind you, but being familiar with the wave is [also] so important," Rosy Hodge said of home court advantage as Pauline kept punching to maintain her lead. With three minutes remaining, compact powerhouse Lima swooped in with a 5.65 and took the first place slot from Pauline -- the margin was a mere 0.15. In a post-heat interview, Silvana said she thrives on close competition and last-minute excitement. She also described the conditions as "so bumpy."
Curren, who grew up surfing these beaches with her father, three-time world champion Tom Curren, kicked off Heat 3 with a stylish top turn for a 3.50. Opponent Carissa Moore looked truly calm as she picked up good speed and pulled a little 360 to earn an easy 4.50 on her opening wave. Moore continued through the heat with her signature smooth rides and strong cutbacks, but Curren matched her at every turn and seemed to choose the best waves -- likely aided by her familiarity with the break. Unfortunately for Melanie Bartels, heat three was more of a one-on-one battle between the title frontrunner and another hard-charging local. Ultimately, Curren beat out Moore by 0.80.
"It's a really hard heat," Curren said. "They're two of my favorite surfers. I was just stoked to be in the heat with them because it's a good challenge." She said she feels comfortable at La Côte des Basques because she's been surfing there since she was a kid, and she doesn't feel too much pressure as a wildcard. "Usually, I surf better as a wildcard," she laughed. "I really learned how to surf here. For me, it's not like a [world tour event]; it's like a little contest -- but against the best girls in the world. I just want to have fun at this event. There's so much cool stuff going on."
The all-Aussie heat was off to a hot start as Laura Enever snagged one of the day's best waves and milked it for four or five clean turns. However, a few minutes later, Enever and her fellow competitors, current world number two Sally Fitzgibbons and Felicity Palmateer, returned to the beach. ASP Head Judge Dave Shipley had said earlier, "We are looking at wrapping those six heats during the incoming tide," but after a late start, the tide killed the already questionable (if contestable) conditions. Only three and a half heats were completed on Tuesday. The forecast for the rest of the week looks more promising, as tomorrow is expected to bring 4 to 6-foot waves and another swell is on the way for this weekend. Follow the Roxy Pro at here.
2011 Roxy Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.90, Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.95, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 8.15
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.15, Pauline Ado (FRA) 12.00, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 9.35
Heat 3: Lee-Ann Curren (FRA) 8.75, Carissa Moore (HAW) 7.95, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 1.75
Remaining 2011 Roxy Pro Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS), Felicity Palmateer (AUS)
Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)