…and takes ASP WCT lead
Lennox Head surfer Tyler Wright, 19, has defeated fellow Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons, 22, in a high-scoring final of 17.80 to 15.67 to win the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro in peaky two-to-three-foot waves, simultaneously taking the frontrunner position on the 2013 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT).
Wright dominated the Barra Da Tijuca lineup from start to finish, posting the high scores of each round with incredible, progressive combinations on the punchy righthanders. The Australian’s efforts against Fitzgibbons in the final were no different, as Wright unloaded committed forehand combinations and was rewarded a 9.33 and 8.50 to secure the win.
‘This feels pretty good,’ Wright said. ‘This whole event has been stepping stones for me. I started off a bit shaky and this is my first event where my family is not here with me. Brooke Farris was here looking after me; and thanks to everyone for all of their support. After I lost that Round 3 heat I just wanted to catch waves and I stayed busy from then on. It’s just the way it worked out. I just love catching waves. I just kept building and building and I wouldn’t want it any other way. This is just fantastic to come to Rio, I love it.’
Wright’s victory in Rio marks her second of the season following a win on the Gold Coast and the two victories, combined with two additional runner-up finishes, have launched Wright to the No 1 position over Carissa Moore (HAW), 20.
‘It’s awesome to move to the top of the rankings, but I’m honestly not thinking about the World Title,’ Wright said. ‘I’m just having fun surfing and enjoying each event and we’ll see what happens at the end of the year.’
Sally Fitzgibbons, defending event champion, put in an amazing effort in an attempt to retain the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro title, seamlessly linking fluid backhand combinations on the Barra Da Tijuca lefts en route to another final. Fitzgibbons ousted Oahu talent Carissa Moore in their semifinals bout, but was unable to put a stop to Wright’s momentum in the final to finish runner-up overall.
‘I’m happy to progress through to the final,’ said Fitzgibbons. ‘It’s always exciting to come in to a final against Tyler and I knew she’d be tough to beat out there. I love coming to Rio and I always get good results here. Unfortunately I fell at the last hurdle, but I’ll come back bigger and better next year.’
Fitzgibbons’s runner-up finish at the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro moves her to No 3 on the ASP Women’s WCT.
Carissa Moore, 2011 ASP Women’s World Champion, gave another strong performance this season at the Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro, finishing equal third overall. The Hawaiian champion was looking dangerous for yet another finals appearance this season after defeating Laura Enever (AUS), 21, in the quarterfinals, but fell to Fitzgibbons in their semifinal match-up.
‘It was a good heat with Sally, but there were just not that many waves,’ said Moore. ‘We paddled all over the beach and sometimes it turns in to strategy and paddle battling and unfortunately I was on the other end of it today. It’s alright though and I’ll take this on to the next event.’
Moore, who was leading the women’s ASP WCT rankings entering Brazil, has been relegated to the No 2 position following Wright’s victory, but is still well within contention of the 2013 ASP Women’s World Title.
‘I have never been thinking that I’m running away with the World Title at all,’ she said. ‘I’m just happy to be in the race. I know it’s going to be tough if I want to win the world title again and other girls want it just as badly.’
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO FINAL RESULTS: 1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.80?2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.67
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO SEMIFINAL RESULTS: SF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.90 def Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.97 SF 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.94 def Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.64
COLGATE PLAX GIRLS RIO PRO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS: QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.50 def Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.34 QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.10 def Laura Enever (AUS) 10.24 QF 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.83 def Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.74 QF 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.20 def Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.33
ASP WOMEN’S WCT TOP 5 (Following Colgate Plax Girls Rio Pro):?1. Tyler Wright (AUS) 40,000 points; 2. Carissa Moore (HAW) 38,200;?3. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 34,200;?4. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 32,100;?5. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 26,450