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Monday, February 27, 2012
Updated: March 4, 10:42 AM ET
Sweating it out

By Casey Butler
ESPN Action Sports

Laura Evener is proving a force to be reckoned with at the Roxy Gold Coast Pro.
Preview Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5

Laura Enever, Malia Manuel, and Steph Gilmore were on fire as the Roxy Pro Gold Coast continued on Monday with non-elimination round three. Spectators enjoyed/suffered through another muggy scorcher on the Goldy as the women vied for guaranteed quarterfinal slots -- only the four heat winners scored them. The rest of the women will continue on to round four on Tuesday. What could have been a cruisy round was rather frenetic, and the girls definitely made the most of the somewhat tricky 3- to 5-foot surf at Snapper.

Laura Enever led a blazing second heat with consistently massive drops, vertical hacks, and tail blows. World champ Carissa Moore struggled slightly at the start when the waves just weren't offering much of a canvas for the competitors to show off their talents. She moved into second with a 5.50 and Paige Hareb slid into the lead after a slew of mighty cutbacks on a long ride past Little Mali -- about 100 meters from the break at Snapper. Moore answered back with a couple of smart turns and a fins free snap, which earned her an 8.07 and the lead. Enever carved up an overhead set wave and picked up a 9.33 for the highest wave score of the day and the heat win.

"Paige got a 9.30 and then Carissa got an 8 and I was like, 'I have my work cut out!'" she said. "I kind of waited for a while -- it was really washy out there -- and then I saw the one and it worked out."

Rookie Malia Manuel edged out Sally Fitzgibbons and Courtney Conlogue.

Enever has a thing for taking down top seeds, but she said her goal at the moment is just to win her next heat. "If I can do that, who knows where I'll end up. I'm in a good place right now and I want to keep this rolling."

Hawaiian rookie Malia Manuel raced her way to a heat three win over world No. 2 (and Roxy fave) Sally Fitzgibbons. Fitzgibbons looked loose and capable, busting out her fins and a couple of big floaters. Meanwhile, California's Courtney Conlogue pulled a revo and tucked straight into several clean turns. With eight minutes remaining, Manuel shot spray all over the lineup and scored a 7.93. Sally Fitz and Conlogue made valiant efforts, but Manuel maintained her lead.

"It's lucky that we have this round as kind of a 'go-for-broke' round," Manuel said. "To get into the quarterfinals is unbelievable. These are awesome waves and I love Snapper. Even when it's junk, it's good!"

Tyler Wright was chasing underdog Sarah Mason early in the first heat, but took the lead with about five major, full-body snaps and a reverse to finish it off. Wright advanced to the quarters with a big heat total of 16.20.

In the fourth and final heat of the day, Sunday's standout Lakey Peterson found herself in a combo situation at the hands of former world champ Steph Gilmore and Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich. As the clock ran down, Gilmore's most pressing challenger (Mulanovich) was at least five points behind her and she decided to go for a no-grab air. She didn't complete it, but she was the first of the ladies to dabble above-the-lip in 2012. Gilmore took the heat with a 16.73.

Stephanie Gilmore took the air, but it was her blistering third round turns that saw her through.

"My board kind of got stuck to the wave," she said with a laugh. "I was relaxed because I had the scores that I needed and that's when you can go out there and start to play around and have fun. That section came at me and I was thinking I should do a floater and then at the last second, I was like, 'No, you should try something different.' And then it just kind of ... didn't happen. But I'll keep trying!"

HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 16.20, Sarah Mason (NZL) 12.80, Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.63
HEAT 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 16.83, Paige Hareb (NZL) 14.07, Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.57
HEAT 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.53, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 12.90, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.64 HEAT 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.73, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.27, Lakey Peterson (USA) 6.04