Highlights from NZ Surf Festival in Taranaki

Last weekend saw the TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival go down in Taranaki, with Courtney Conlogue defeating Coco Ho.

“I put in a lot of hard work between last year and this year and I’m stoked to have it paying off with a win,” Conlogue said. “I’ve felt like I’ve been surfing well all year and have been building momentum up until this point. Really happy about today.”

Conlogue’s win today bumps the young Californian from 5th to 3rd on the 2013 ASP Women’s WCT rankings, within striking distance of the world surfing crown throughout the back half of the season.

“We’re halfway through so there is still opportunity ahead,” Conlogue said. “Carissa (Moore) and Tyler (Wright) have had such strong starts to the season and didn’t have as strong performances here to it’s opened up the race a bit. I’m feeling confident in my surfing and I’m going to give it a good run in Brazil.”

Today’s Runner-Up finish marked a season best for Ho today, vaulting the young Hawaiian from 9th to 7th on the ASP Women’s WCT rankings.

“Bummed I couldn’t keep it going into the Final but Runner-Up is a great result for me and taking down some big names is a great confidence boost for me,” Ho said. “Best result in a long while and we’re heading into Brazil where I have done well in the past. I feel like I have been surfing well all year and it’s a relief to finally get a solid result. Boards are going really well and I’m looking forward to the next stop.”

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 22, continued her impressive 2013 run in Taranaki, posting big wins before going down to Ho in this morning’s Semifinals. The young Australian’s Equal 3rd today, however, was not enough to stave off a rankings charge from Conlogue and Fitzgibbons was bumped down to 4th on the ASP Women’s WCT Rankings.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, reigning five-time ASP World Champion, was another favorite who looked strong this morning, posting a strong 13.97 out of a possible 20 for a bevy for forehand and backhand maneuvers. The Australian’s performance was no match, however, for an in-form Conlogue who halted the champ’s run in the Semifinals.

“Fun little waves out at Fitzroy this morning and a shame I couldn’t get through,” Gilmore said. “Congrats to Courtney (Conlogue) though – she is surfing really well. Next stop for us is Brazil and the waves can be similar there and hopefully not too small this year. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us this week in New Zealand.”

The next stop on the 2013 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT) will be the Billabong Rio Pro from May 8 – 14, 2013.

Sally Fitzgibbons in the semis

1 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.00
2 – Coco Ho (HAW) 9.27

SF 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.47 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.97
SF 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 15.33 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.24

1. Carissa Moore (HAW) 31,700 pts
2. Tyler Wright (AUS) 30,000 pts
3. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 26,900 pts
4. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 26,200 pts
5. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 24,700 pts

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