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Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: April 21, 9:36 AM ET
Upsets abound at Beachley Classic

By Casey Butler
ESPN Action Sports

Coco Ho
Coco Ho's luck changed, but her frontside surfing had something to do with it too.
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3

Courtney Conlogue conquered Carissa Moore, Rebecca Woods extinguished Lakey Peterson's hot streak, and Coco Ho's "luck" turned 'round on day two of the 2012 Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic in Sydney. The day's sparsely scattered high scores were a testament to the extremely challenging conditions surfers faced in the "sucky" overhead wedges pounding Dee Why Point on Friday morning, but they tackled it head-on, and eight, at least, prevailed.

Round three, heat three: Heat of the day. Ho, Peterson, and Moore all finished with 16-point totals. The trio traded rooster tails and reos for 30 solid minutes as the tide hit its peak (performance-wise). Peterson said she's best on beachies, but she was reading the mini mutant of a point break like it was Dr. Seuss and Moore marked a towering 9.15, but Ho was charging and topped her Nike teammates.

Courtney Conlogue
Courtney Conlogue defeated Carissa Moore to end the defending champ's run at the Beachley Pro.

"This heat, on paper, was by far, the best," Ho said. "I was really excited going into it. It was finally one of those heats where three of us could surf and there were good waves constantly. In the non-elimination round, I know everyone's going to go out there and try her best to blow up. Carissa started with a 9 and me and Lakey were just like, 'Come on, let's not give it to her!' So we both fought back pretty hard and she ended up in third."

Moore met her definitive demise at the hands of Tour sophomore Courtney Conlogue after a pretty lackluster fourth round. During the last heat of the day, Conlogue and Moore were neck and neck. Conlogue performed textbook-perfect cutties and electric snaps -- not to mention she was sticking absolutely everything with what appeared to be minimal effort. Moore threw huge, banking turns and chose interesting tracks, drawing beautiful lines across not-so-beautiful waves.

With five minutes remaining, the crowd on the beach collectively drew breath in surprise as Moore dropped into a wave in which Conlogue (who had priority) was clearly interested. No interference was called and priority went to Moore, who only needed a 6.81 to win the match-up. With a minute left, she posted a 5.25, which didn't improve her position, and with only seconds on the clock, Conlogue anxiously watched as Moore took off on another wave. To the Californian's relief, the defending champion caught a rail and went down. Conlogue won by a .05 margin.

"I'm going into tomorrow really fresh and I'll probably go to bed right now," Conlogue joked after her heat win, "I really gave out a lot of energy in that last heat because I figured, 'If I go down, at least I go down trying my hardest.' I ended up having some good waves and the conditions were so tricky today -- just so washy. To be in the right spot at the right time was really crucial. I'm really stoked to have gotten through that heat. [Carissa Moore] has had such a great year so far, so one ninth [place finish] could be her throwaway. A ninth is not something I need. I'm trying to re-qualify and if I have to take her out, I have to. It comes down to business, but she's such an amazing surfer and I love competing against her. It's a lot of fun."

Lakey Peterson has been the rookie to chase thus far this season and Bec Woods is in her eighth year on Tour. When the two faced off in the third heat of Round 4, the tide had bottomed out and the waves left a lot to be desired. The natural-footer opted to go backside and used her years on Peterson to gain her best result of the year.

"Steph [Gilmore] was struggling to get scores -- and she grew up on a right," Woods explained. "I was like, 'I'm just going to take a gamble and spend 15 minutes on that left and try and get a few.' And Lakey -- it was a little bit of my plan to draw her over to the left. And it worked. [It was a] game of chess. It's a shame for Lakey because she surfed so well in her previous rounds, but it's a contest. It was just strategy today -- and especially in these lower tide heats. I've been really up and down -- down -- on the Tour a lot," she laughed. "I'm happy just to make a few rounds, especially at this contest, because it's close to home."

Stephanie Gilmore
Steph Gilmore had to surf the extra round, but came through.

Gilmore bashed rookie Justine Dupont in their fourth round heat, but struggled like everyone else with the punishing conditions. "To be completely honest, the waves are pretty terrible out there," she said after her win. "There are waves, which is good, but there's so much water moving. Every wave you take off on, it's like a rushing river's going up the face and it's hard. But at the end of the day, I saw Sally and Carissa get some really high scores on the Point and I figured they were still out there. I didn't really get any, but I got enough. When they said five minutes left and I didn't have anything decent, I was a little bit worried, but … the last minute counts."

Malia Manuel, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Tyler Wright also posted admirable Round 3 finishes and bounced to the quarters.

Heading into the finals, the women's biggest prize ($30,000) is just a few heats from reach. Contest officials will meet at 7 a.m. on Saturday to assess conditions for the comp's continuation.

UPCOMING COMMONWEALTH BANK BEACHLEY CLASSIC QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
QF 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
QF 3: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
QF 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)

COMMONWEALTH BANK BEACHLEY CLASSIC ROUND 4 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Laura Enever (AUS) 11.25 def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 4.85
HEAT 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.50 def. Justine Dupont (FRA) 7.00
HEAT 3: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 8.00 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 6.55
HEAT 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.55 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.50

COMMONWEALTH BANK BEACHLEY CLASSIC ROUND 3 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.25, Laura Enever (AUS) 9.40, Justine Dupont (FRA) 8.25
HEAT 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.00, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.00, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 4.50
HEAT 3: Coco Ho (HAW) 16.75, Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.60, Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.25
HEAT 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.25, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.40, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.75

COMMONWEALTH BANK BEACHLEY CLASSIC ROUND 2 RESULTS:
HEAT 3: Laura Enever (AUS) 12.50 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.50
HEAT 4: Justine Dupont (FRA) 12.15 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.50
HEAT 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.75 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 6.75
HEAT 6: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 9.00 def. Sarah Mason (NZL) 7.80