The Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro Women's QS6000 cape was donned by a new champion Sunday afternoon as Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) battled through victory-at-sea conditions to earn a win over fellow Championship Tour surfer Courtney Conlogue (USA). Weston-Webb is now the Qualification Series (QS) points leader. She joins an elite group of women, including Conlogue, who have won this event and did so keeping true to her game plan.
"I'm so stoked," Weston-Webb said. "It's such a prestigious event because there's so many great girls that have won here and I'm really happy to be a part of that tradition. My strategy was to take it one wave at a time and keep it slow instead of freaking out and rushing myself."
After an impressive Round of 16 win over Isabella Nichols (AUS), matching the contest's highest single wave score of 9.33, Weston-Webb then defeated another Aussie, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), in the Semifinals. Knowing what it took to earn the scores, the Hawaiian took full advantage in the Final and came out victorious.
"It was difficult to be in the right spot for the right wave throughout the event," Weston-Webb said. "I noticed the judges were scoring one really big turn on the outside and I tried to focus on doing one big maneuver in my heats. I'm really looking forward to the [Championship Tour event] Vans US Open of Surfing this week, after hearing there may be some more waves and keeping my fingers crossed I do well there."
Earning runner-up, Conlogue was in-form throughout the day and took everything Weston-Webb had to bring her down in the tight final. Earning the lead from her fellow CT surfer, Conlogue remained there for much of the heat but didn't hang on through the final horn. Still, she has her eyes set on the bigger prize next week.
"I was happy to be in the final and have the opportunity to win this," she said. "I'm always stoked to see Supergirl support women's surfing like they do and to use this event to prepare for the US Open. It was great to test conditions since they're so similar to Huntington and get some training in."
Currently ranked No. 2 on the CT, the Orange County native wasn't worried about a big finish at this contest in particular -- though her drive is something she cannot turn off.
"I'm excited to get a result heading into the US Open even though this one doesn't affect me being a QS event," Conlogue said. "I always want to win but it's not super-detrimental and I learn from my losses so it's been a great experience. To have one of my buddies -- Sage [Erickson] -- in the Semifinals was great."
Erickson (USA) fell just short of defending her title despite a valiant effort against Conlogue. Holding onto the highest heat total of the event with a 17.43, Erickson can walk away from this event with plenty of positives.
"Making it to the Semifinals is a great result in the larger picture of getting back on tour next year," she said. "I've had two Quarters and two Semifinals on the QS so far. I'm bummed at the moment. I wanted to be in that Final so bad, especially at this event since it's really like no other."
The Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro is Erickson's favorite event on the schedule and was excited for the waves on hand. The 24-year-old from Ventura, Calif., now has her eyes set on doing the same at the Vans US Open of Surfing.
"All around it's been an amazing event," Erickson said. "We've had waves which is great for Southern California that has the tendency to be inconsistent. It was a good warmup and Huntington is another big event with a huge crowd so it was great to get my feet in the water -- it'd be really great to a Semifinal result there."
Earning a respective third place as well, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) now sits in second on the QS rankings just 1,600 points behind Weston-Webb. The Australian had a tough heat against Weston-Webb as she was unable to get a rhythm going.
"It was really tricky and slow at the start of the heat," Van Dijk said. "I didn't really choose the right waves at the start and the whole heat went down pretty quickly. I got one score and I needed a 7 so I felt like if the wave came through I could've gotten the score.
Van Dijk was excited to make the effort she did here at the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro and will make the quick journey up Interstate 5 for her next endeavor at the US Open.
"I'm stoked with a Semifinal result," she said. "Getting ready for the Open which starts tomorrow so I'll head up tonight and get settled in. This contest was really fun and I'm looking forward to Huntington."
More about the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro is here. Watch the elite Top 17 women on the CT compete at the US Open LIVE daily here and on the WSL App daily from Tuesday, July 28 - Sunday, August 2 local time.