Malia Manuel (HAW), 20, advanced to the Semifinals of the Swatch Girls Pro France today.
CAPBRETON, France (Saturday, August 24, 2013) – The Swatch Girls Pro France completed another intense day in Seignosse Le Penon, after being put on-hold all morning to wait for conditions to improve. A building, wind-blown 3-4Ft swell allowed competition to resume this afternoon and decide of the Semifinalists of both ASP 6-Star and Pro Junior events.
Malia Manuel (HAW) 20, current World No.12 and winner of the previous 6-Star event in California, defeated fellow Top 17 member Paige Hareb (NZL) in order to advance into the semis. The stylish Hawaiian found the best opportunities in a complicated lineup to express her flawless frontside surfing and impress both judges and the massive French crowds assembled by the water’s edge.
“It’s been a great year here in Hossegor, I love coming back and there are so many waves to surf,” Manuel stated. “Coming off a win at the Supergirl Pro I’m really excited about trying my boards, see how everything is going at this back half of the year. Those changing conditions are tough, you’re really competing against mother nature, especially this afternoon, just using your instincts and trying to ride the waves as long as you can. I’m just happy that everything’s going right and excited for the final day!”
Courtney Conlogue (USA) 20, Swatch ambassador and top scorer of the event so far, logically imposed her power and technique to win her Quarterfinal matchup against WCT rookie Bianca Buitendag (ZAF). Conlogue continued her dominating run and seems to adapt perfectly to whatever the ocean throws at her.
“It was pretty good, the swell is picking up, you can feel it,” Conlogue said. “I think tomorrow will be an active day so I’ll definitely rest up tonight. I don’t mind tough conditions, I’m up for the challenge and I think it’s fun and exciting. I do a lot of training when I’m at home and even on the road, and it definitely pays off. I still felt a little tired by the end there.”
In a titans clash, Conlogue will take on Malia Manuel when the event recommences tomorrow in the first Semifinal of the Swatch Girls Pro France. The match of flow vs power will bring killer entertainment for the public and promises red-hot action in the water.
“I don’t want to pressure myself to win the event but for sure I’d love to,” Conlogue commented. “Malia’s been on point and I’m really looking forward to having a heat against her tomorrow. I know it’ll be exciting and a lot of fun!”
Johanne Defay (FRA) 19, current leader of the European junior rankings, is the last competitor qualified in both the Pro Junior and 6-Star event. Defay eliminated fellow french compatriot Alizé Arnaud to advance into the semis of the main event. The Reunion Island surfer has stepped up her game in 2013 to surf every single final of the European events so far, which she’ll try to continue on the final day tomorrow.
“Conditions were very different between my heats in the Junior and 6-Star,” Defay admitted. “There was a lot of rip out there this afternoon and it’s a long paddle back out so I really focused on choosing the best options. Also, my coach has been telling me to slow down because I was chasing too many waves earlier.”
Keely Andrew (AUS) 18, will be the fourth surfer to do battle in the semis tomorrow. A discrete dark horse in this competition, Andrew has nonetheless made her way into the last four at the expense of WCT surfers Coco Ho and Silvana Lima amongst other top performers.
“I feel great, it’s such a relief because I know Alessa is such a strong competitor, I’m so happy to get through that one,” Andrew said. “My goal was to make the quarters so I’m pretty excited and feeling no pressure at all, surfing one heat at a time. Tomorrow should be interesting, I don’t know what to expect with the conditions so I guess I’ll just have to turn up and see what we get!”
Semifinalists of the Swatch Girls Pro France Junior were also decided today with Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) leading the charge as Bronte Macaulay (AUS) will try to stop Van Dijk’s march to victory. Johanne Defay (FRA) in the second semi will surf against another strong australian performer Georgia Fish (AUS).
The final day of the Swatch Girls Pro France will start with a 7am Call and complete the event in an expected bigger swell and lighter winds in the morning.
The SWATCH GIRLS PRO FRANCE and Pro Junior are made possible with the support of the following event partners: SWATCH, Landes Côte Sud, Conseil Général des Landes, Région Aquitaine, Unbottle Yourself, EQ, Honda, Makila Auto, MagicSeaWeed, Lamono, NRJ, Surf Session, Adrénaline – L’Équipe.fr, Beach Brother amongst others.