Competition continued Saturday at the 2015 Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro Women's Qualifying Series (QS) 6000, as the Oceanside Pier provided improved swell and conditions on the second day of competition. The Championship Tour (CT) women were able to put on a great show in front of a growing crowd, showing why they are wearing the Supergirl pink jerseys, with all but one of the CT women earned a first place result in their respective heats.
Laying down a contest-high 17.43 heat total, defending champion Sage Erickson (USA) came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. But it was her second heat of the day that proved she has the Supergirl spirit instilled in her.
"It was a rollercoaster heat," she said. "The waves were in transition from breaking outside and inside. I missed one of the major waves at the beginning of the heat and I was kicking myself for that. The last two minutes were kind of a blur -- this is my favorite event of the year and I knew I didn't want to give up that easy."
Moving out of Round 5, Erickson now has her eyes set on a finals day appearance with some steam behind her. One of the favorites here at Oceanside, she was still taking photographs on the shoreline even as the following heat came to a close.
"Momentum is huge in these contests," Erickson said. "Everyone is so good and having that advantage of feeling confident can go a long way so I'm stoked. It's so great to see all the girls that come down to support us and I think we try to do our best to be role models for them."
Yet, it was Silvana Lima (BRA) who topped the local favorite with some high-performance surfing at the start of the heat. The Brazilian veteran looked strong in both of her heats despite some increasingly challenging conditions.
"It was a slow heat with no waves for almost ten minutes," Lima said. "But I got two really good waves toward the start and after that there were nearly no waves. Everyone moved inside to try and catch some waves so I was happy for Sage when she made it."
Lima discussed her great state of mind coming into the event, and is looking ahead to finals day.
"Everything is going really well," she said. "I have Oi as a new sponsor so I'm really stoked and I feel like I'm at 100 percent. It's going to be a big day tomorrow, hopefully for waves as well, and I want to finish with a good result here."
Courtney Conlogue (USA) looked unstoppable winning both of her heats, posting a massive 9.30 on her opening wave. In fine form, the current World No. 2 is looking to challenge herself as the contest progresses.
"Earlier the conditions were good but we had more lulls between sets," Conlogue said. "When they came through there were really good scoring opportunities and I was stoked to get that first wave right off the bat. It helps build the confidence and to find my rhythm out there -- I'm putting more pressure on myself to see if I can claw out of situations and try different strategies."
The Huntington Beach native had a slower start to her Round 5 heat, but was able to find a pair of waves late in the heat and move her way from 3rd to 1st when the final horn sounded. Using this as warmup for the CT's Vans US Open of Surfing, Conlogue is testing equipment and it seems to be paying off.
"Conditions were really tricky in my last heat," she said. "I'm mostly just trying to get cob-webs off before the Open next week and stoked to be into the next round. It's the first time I'm riding the board I'm on and it's working really well for me."
In a last-minute thriller, the young Bajan Chelsea Tuach (BRB) took out the in-form CT alternate Keely Andrew (AUS), and looks to better her position in the Women's Qualification Series (QS). Andrew posted the contest's highest single-wave score with a 9.33 in her first heat, but was unable to top Tuach in Round 5.
"I was really nervous in my first heat," Tuach said. "I had a good start to the year but had a falling off in Mexico so I wanted to get a good result here. Having some really strong competitors in my heats made it difficult -- Silvana was crazy good out there and Keely is so strong. I have a great board under my feet and Jim Hogan in my corner so I'm loving it here."
Finals day for the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro begins with live coverage tomorrow at 8:15 a.m. PST. Watch LIVE here and on the WSL app to see who will sport the coveted pink cape when all is said and done.