Nikki Van Dijk Crowned Champ In Portugal
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The last three events of the women's World Tour have been interesting. The waves haven't been particularly good and the top runners in this generation haven't been doing so well.
Yesterday in Portugal, Carissa Moore three times World Champ ('11, '13 & '15), made her first quarter-final of the year. She went on and made it into the final against Nikki Van Dijk where she looked to have her spark back. But it's probably all too late for a revival with just two events to go.
Tyler Wright and Stephanie Gilmore were knocked out in round two, albeit Tyler has damaged her Medial Cruciate Ligament, but after the Australian leg, Steph's momentum kinda came to a halt - until she got to the KS Wave Pool.
That pretty much left Sally Fitz and Courtney Conlogue to battle it out. It would be killing Courtney to see Sal's revival right now, paddling out in that yellow leader's jersey within arms length. But Sal's got some new arsenal, she's under the wings of World Champ and master coach Barton Lynch. Courtney slipped out in round four and Sal pushed forward.
Everyone was thinking, this is it, this is Sally's event. The quarterfinals were a bit of a disappointment. The wave had some shifty wall that kept bogging for Keely Andrew's rails, the announcers were calling it a board issue but it brought down Sal too. That was a slow heat but it got the Gerroa golden girl a ticket to the semifinals to which she was taken out by Nikki Van Dijk.
The finals came down to the underdog in Van Dijk and Carissa Moore. Nikki blitzed the event and was clearly the strongest surfer over the week. To make the win sweeter, it's her first CT win since jumping on tour in 2014. The final had good surfing in average waves, but pick for best and fastest moving heat of the event was between two Kauians, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Malia Manuel.
And after all that, Sally Fitz's result keeps her on top of the leaderboard with two events to go.
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