On a beautiful Thursday of sunshine and good 3-5 foot waves, the Billabong Pro Ladies battled it out to whittle them down to the final four. The winner will bag the title of the 12th stop of the Women’s WQS Tour on Saturday in Florianopolis, Brazil.
Tita Tavares won the first semifinal of the day, defeating fellow Brazilian Krisna de Souza by 13.25 to 7.00 points. "I've never surfed here before and the waves are difficult but great, I’m surfing well and my boards are really good too. Now I have to focus in my semifinal and look for another victory," promised Tita.
Her contender in the next round is Jacqueline Silva, who won her heat against young Brazilian surfer Bruna Schmitz. "It was a good heat against Bruna, and this time I surfed better," said Silva. "Now we have a day off so I will train even more to try and secure a good result here because I'm competing at home so a lot of people are supporting me. The waves are getting better and I believe that we will have good waves on Saturday to close the event in great conditions, hopefully with me in first place!"
Despite Diana Cristina's best attempts to overcome Paige Hareb, the New Zealander won with a wide advantage of 12.30 x 5.05 points. "I'm happy. It was a beautiful day today and the waves improved and I knew it would be difficult to compete against Diana, because she surfs very well," said Hareb. "I know her and I know that she already won here on this beach, so I only stayed calm when the heat ended. But I still have to pass another heat to increase my points in the ranking, because I can only boost my score here if I reach the final."
By making it into the semifinals here, Silvana Lima has already secured the title of South American Champion, even before the final stop of the Women's 2008 ASP South America Surf Series in Rio de Janeiro next week. "The South American title is important and nice to win, so I am very happy. It is like a prize for being the best surfer in the three stops of Billabong events in Brazil, so I’m representing very well," said Silvana.
The first heat of the semis will be a battle of the Brazilian surfers between Jacqueline Silva and Tita Tavares, with New Zealander Paige Hareb tackling local ripper Silvana Lima in the second heat. Stay tuned...
BILLABONG LADIES PRO SEMIFINALS Heat 1: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) x Tita Tavares (BRA) Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) x Paige Hareb (NZL)
QUARTERFINALS Heat 1: Tita Tavares (BRA) 13.25 x 7.00 Krisna de Souza (BRA) Heat 2: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 11.50 x 9.40 Bruna Schmitz (BRA) Heat 3: Paige Hareb (NZL) 12.30 x 5.05 Diana Cristina (BRA) Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.90 x 8.50 Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)