At the mid-way point on the Women's Tour we look at who has world title form in the lead up to the OuterKnown Fiji Pro.
We are at stop five and the title race is getting heated on both sides of the WSL wave. The top three women are scarcely separated by a coat of wax. To top it off, the usual suspects have each taken out one of the first four events. As we head into the heaviest wave on the girl’s tour, Fiji, it’s time to separate the Women from the Girls; the problem is, so many members of this highly accomplished women’s league have a not so hidden talent. They f@#$in charge! Guess it’s a good problem to have.
The top three Vs the rest:
1. Tyler’s win in Rio couldn’t have come at a more crucial time for her title defence, her Australian leg has been hailed by many as an average start. Madness, maybe she didn’t win as many early events as last season, but she remained tight in all of the contests and surfing through every round of Rio she found her rhythm. While Fiji wasn’t her event last year (eliminated in round two by eventual Semi-Finalist Bethany Hamilton) she has proven she isn’t afraid of producing magic Cloudbreak moments.
1. Steph is plagued by inconsistency; however, she has managed to make it to stop five still clinging to that coveted Yellow. She has scraped through with some buzzer beaters, all the while showing moments of Gilmore glory. She looked shaky in size at Margies but as she said it was “weird” that is exactly what Margies is, a weird wave. Cloudbreak is far from weird. It is utter perfection. Steph’s surfing is transcendent, just watch the 'Tempest'. She can more than handle the throaty barrels of Fiji. The hardest thing for the women when it comes to Cloudbreak is that they rarely get the opportunity to surf it at its best. They usually run in the smaller, windy, onshore days. If Steph is going to take it out she needs those perfect throaty barrels, as seen in her 2014 runner up finish.
3. Sally, Sally, Sally. She has been so consistent this season and it looks like the title is well within her reach. Growing up with Aussie Pipe a stone’s throw away she has had plenty of backhand tube time over the years. Sally has won in Fiji twice before; she’s gutsy, bloody great in the tube and if the WSL do their usual trick and run the women in second rate surf, her reef-turn game is on point! If she can take out what could be called her pet event she will be the only chick with two wins under their belt; a very strong place to be heading into the back end of the year.
Here’s where it gets tricky, so many of the gals can wrangle this stop and shake up those top three. Take Courtney Conlogue, the powerhouse Californian who is hungry for the title. Her release of her ‘Eternity’ video series tells us she wants it – it’s almost like she is trying to manifest her world title by making a movie about her quest to win it. If Courtney can perform in Fiji she is still well in the race and can always ruffle the feathers of those top three Aussie queens.
Laura Enever may not have been a top five surfer throughout her career, but some would argue this is because she has been too busy off surfing big bad Tommy Carrolls or even bigger Jaws.
Tattiana Weston-Webb, she’s a goofy, she’s Hawaiian, she loves big barrels and Cloudbreak has the potential to be a defining moment in her career.
Finally, last year’s winner – the runner up in Brazil, Johanne Defay! The tour underdog! Johanne has had such a strong start to 2017 and it is refreshing to the eyes. This charger from Reunion Island has every chance to take the crown in Fiji and get on a roll.
Main Image: WSL/Poullenot