Coco Ho earned a huge QS victory at the Paul Mitchell Supergirl Pro QS6000 on Sunday, putting an end to a competitive slump she's been suffering through so far this year. Ho powered through four heats in the final day of competition, capping the long day with a victory in the Final over fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel.
Ho earned her third iconic pink cape in the process. Her first two came as a Junior. She was in rhythm all day in the less consistent, two-to-four foot conditions, taking full advantage of the gems coming through.
With the 6,000 points from the win, Ho jumps from No. 21 to No. 6 on the QS rankings. The jump puts her above the cutoff for Championship Tour requalification after a tough year.
"This event is so unique in that we get to walk away with a cape but it was so much more to me than that this year," Ho said. "I've had the worst competitive year and needed this result -- all I can think about is points. It's definitely going to take consistency throughout the second half of the season and I've just had to wash away these first six months and this just feels so amazing."
Ho posted two of the top scores on the final day of competition, earning a 9.00 (out of a possible 10) in the Final to match the highest single-wave score of this year's event. The Oahu native topped her friend Carissa Moore with an equally impressive 8.50 in the Semifinals, and Nikki Van Dijk in the Quarterfinals.
"I've basically changed everything from my training to my boards, just mentally start over and I'm so happy there's still enough events in the year -- I'm climbing," Ho added. "Malia and I are always traveling together and on the opposite side of the draw so we're always saying ‘let's do this,' and now it's finally happened. She's the sweetest soul and always by my side when I need it most. I wouldn't have even cared who won, it was such a great feeling to surf with her."
Earning runner-up, Manuel did not go down without a fight -- posting a 7.10 and 6.17. By making it in to the Final, Manuel now sits at the No. 1 position on the Women's QS rankings. She showcased her powerful surfing and smooth style, which saw her through each round, topping Australians Macy Callaghan in the Quarterfinals and Laura Enever in the Semis.
"I really like being a bridesmaid," Manuel said laughing. "It's the third time or so that I've gotten second but it's such a good feeling. There's a lot of pressure going into QS events as a CT surfer so it's great to make the Final and get into rhythm for the US Open -- especially being by the pier and the whole atmosphere."
"This result relieves so much pressure from the CT knowing that I'm in a good spot to requalify and I can just focus on my surfing for the second half of the year," Manuel added. "It's as similar a feeling to being in the top three of the CT and I want to make more Quarters and Semis on that level -- hopefully even get a win after being since my rookie season that I've won one."
Manuel and Ho were joined alongside a loaded Semifinals draw featuring all CT competitors as Australian Laura Enever and Moore all had a shot at being draped with the sought-after Supergirl cape.
In a tight Semifinal battle with Manuel, Enever was in need of a 7.09 and earned a 6.50 on her last scoring wave with just minutes remaining. Bettering her Round Six result from last year with a win over two-time event champion Sage Erickson in the Quarterfinals, the Australian gained plenty of momentum throughout this event and will take that in to Huntington Beach next week.
"I've never made it past Round Six in this event, which was my best result last year, so it's great to make a few more heats here," Enever said. "I'm No. 10 on the CT which is right on the edge and now I've got another third-place result so it feels good to back it up on the QS. Got a couple of results now so hopefully that will help secure a spot toward requalifying."
"With Oceanside being so similar to Huntington I just took every heat like it was a world tour heat and preparing for that. I wanted to find the strategies I needed to get ready and with it being such a tricky wave I was excited to get a couple of good heats under my belt."
After a brilliant performance yesterday and through the first two heats of finals day, Moore fell to good friend and fellow Hawaiian, Ho. Taking down Holly Wawn in Round Seven, and up-and-coming phenom Caroline Marks in the Quarters, the 3-time WSL Champion looked in good form once again as she posted one of the day's highest single-wave scores of 8.50. But, the changing conditions created a lot of texture on the water for competitors and Moore was on the wrong side of the wave's fortune.
"It felt good to get a good surf on and not feel any pressure and with the tide coming down it was tricky to find right ones," Moore said. "It was very similar to Huntington so I'm excited to get a good practice in here. I'm feeling really confident and hopefully it'll be a good week up there. Seeing all these young girls out here and smiling, it's why we do what we do and it's so encouraging for us."