Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana CA, USA) 18, has won the ASP 6-Star Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro defeating fellow Californian Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara, USA) 16, in a closely contested final 14.00 to 9.73 in difficult wind affected 2ft peaks at the main event site of Praia do Guincho.
Strong cross-shore winds persisted during the final day of competition making for tricky conditions and forcing competitors to battle with the elements. Event officials decided to run through to the finals knowing that the swell forecast for tomorrow was not positive and decided to finish one day earlier.
The inform surfers of the event faced each other in the 30-minute final with early exchanges being taken out by Conlogue who established a narrow lead. The final 10 minutes proved crucial with several priority changes and either competitor in a position to take the win. With less than 5 minutes remaining Conlogue latched onto a peeling left with two critical backhand snaps to claim a 7.67 out of 10 and an unbeatable two-wave combined total.
“I feel pretty good now and it has been a crazy week and I’m stoked to be on the podium in this event. Every single heat I had to be on my toes because it was not an easy win. Now I am heading home to have some rest which I am looking forward to because it has been a long year so far.”
Conlogue, who solidifies her nº1 position on the ASP Women’s Star rankings, blitzed in her semi-final appearance searching out all possible scoring rides to eventually secure the highest single-wave score of the event, 8.77 out of 10 with her powerful backhand attack. Heading into the Final Conlogue held to her previous winning strategy used in the tricky conditions.
“When I was going in the final I had the same plan as in the semis because it worked so well and that was to keep busy and not get too picky with priority. Sometimes that will confuse you when the conditions are like this and you don’t go a lot of waves that you should have. So I tried to stay relax and have fun and it worked and I’ll be back next year.”
Peterson, with her runner-up placing in her maiden ASP Star event final was in shooting distance of taking the win as she searched for the right peaks as the tide dropped lower and conditions varied. Failing to narrow the gap over Conlogue despite continual attempts on the weaker rights.
“It got a lot worse and Courtney surfed great and I just didn’t get the waves but she deserved to win and I am stoked for her. This year I am trying to get experience and I haven’t gone to all the Star events because I am not trying to qualify. I am really stoked to make the final and they did a great job with the event.”
Peterson arrived in Europe looking to work on her surfing and gain experience in the major ASP 6-Star events back-to-back this month. The Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro has helped Peterson take a large step forward in progressing her competition surfing.
“Changing my game plan and I have been a lot more organised this whole event which has helped a lot,” explained Peterson on her campaign in Estoril. “Getting here early and watching the waves and seeing what they are scoring different waves. That was the whole purpose of coming here so I got a lot out of it.”
Sofia Mulanovich (Lima, PER) 28, former ASP Women’s World champion (2004) finished equal 3rd unable to topple Peterson who got off to a quick start placing all the pressure on the current ASP World ranked nº8 in the semis. Mulanovich searched in vain for the longer rights which failed to produce sections to lay down any serious turns.
“It was really hard out there and I got a couple of alright waves I guess but I was out of rhythm. I am still stoked to get a 3rd and stoked to be here. It would have been good to make it to the final but it is still good.”
Mulanovich had many words of praise for her opponent and sees the potential that Peterson has and the future she has to continue to make finals and eventually qualify for the elite ASP Women’s World Tour.
“She (Peterson) is an amazing surfer and I learn a lot from her. She does some sick grab-rail air-reverses which not many girls can do so I wish her all the luck for the final and she is a really nice girl too.”
Sarah Mason (Gisbourne, NZL) 16, finished equal 3rd, her best career result in an ASP Star event. Trailing eventual event winner Conlogue, during the entire heat Mason was unable to find any potential scoring waves to get into the race. Receiving 2080 ranking points Mason is now within contention to possibly qualify for next year’s elite ASP Women’s World Tour.
“I am really happy with a third spot and it is the best result I have had in a Star event so I am quite happy with the result. I needed to get on some waves but it was hard out there and I would have liked to have done a bit better. The conditions were really tricky so it was just a matter of who got the waves. I will definitely be doing more events towards the end of the year and I am looking forward to that.”
Cannelle Bulard (REU) obtained the best result of the European athletes finishing equal 5th and leaps into the lead on the ASP Europe Women’s European rankings taking over from close friend Justine Dupont (FRA) who finished equal 13th in the Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro.
Bulard came up against an inform Mulanovich in quarterfinal nº1 to narrowly lose in a low scoring clash. Trailing the former ASP Women’s World champion, Bulard fought back with a solid series of forehand snaps to place herself back in the race. Although never giving up Bulard was unable to bridge the narrow gap in the time remaining.
“This is my best result of the year and I am very happy. I didn’t catch any good waves but well done to Sophia and to be first on the European rankings is good. I hope it can continue. I haven’t got too much pressure on me at the moment and last year I came second so I hope that this year I can do the same or even one better.”
The Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro is the fifth of seven events on the ASP Women’s Star Tour as well as stop nº 2 of 4 on the ASP Women’s European title race. Surfers competing at the Estoril Surf & Music Billabong Girls Pro were out to capitalize on the valuable rankings points on offer in their bid to qualify for the elite ASP Women’s World Tour in 2012.