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Semifinals of the Women's Figueira Pro Surfing Championship


Figueira da Foz, Portugal - Currently rated #1 Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) today led the charge into the semifinals of the Figueira Pro. The World Championship Tournament (WCT) finally recommenced this afternoon with women's quarterfinals, after being on hold all day due to unfavorable conditions. No men's heats were surfed.

Cabedelo beach remained small at only 2ft (0.6m), though at least this morning's howling wind and rain was replaced with sunshine this afternoon. A strong beach crowd was on hand to watch the world's top rated women compete.

Redman-Carr, who secured the day's best single wave score of 9.25 right off the bat against 2001 World Qualifying Series (WQS) champion Jacqueline Silva (Brz), also amassed the highest overall total for 15.25-points. Silva fought back toward the end and was well within striking distance, but failed to lock in a needed 7.26 last wave.

"I just wanted to try and stop Jacqueline cause I know she's a little time bomb," said Redman-Carr. "She can get any kid of score she needs, usually. I just tried to play the tactics game and stop her catching waves, but she got a couple and blew them apart. I was worried the whole heat as she's my favorite surfer.

"The semifinals are sounding good, and a pleasant surprise," she added. "It felt amazing to get a 9.25 then, as I haven't scored well this entire contest."

WCT newcomer Samantha Cornish secured her best result to date by reaching the semifinals of the Figueira Pro over fellow Australian Neridah Falconer. The diminutive surfer chose to surf the peak directly in front of the judges and subsequently picked off the heat's best ride immediately for 7.75-points. Her opponent soon paddled over and closed the gap, but needing a 6.75 at the end, she only managed a 6.3 last wave. Cornish now will face Redman-Carr in the first semifinal.

"I'm really happy to reach the semifinals of a WCT," explained Cornish. "I'm going all out as I want to be in that final (laughs).

"It was a little frustrating today as the conditions weren't very good and we had to sit around for a number of hours with the contest on standby," she added. "Mentally it was quite draining since I was watching the conditions change all day. I was that anxious to get out there. Neridah got a couple of waves, but they weren't enough to get her through."

Former world #2 Megan Abubo (Haw) overcame a tough opponent in Maria 'Tita' Tavares (Brz). The Brazilian has appeared ominous all week in the small conditions, and began the match strongly, but the Hawaiian waited patiently and eventually posted an 8.0 and another 6.5 for a comfortable victory.

"I didn't even catch a wave for the first 15-minutes," said a relieved Abubo. "I knew surfing against 'Tita' out there, she's so fast on the really small ones, I needed to catch sets and that's what I did.

"I'm just happy to make a semi," she continued. "This is my best result of the year, so I'm pretty stoked right now, especially since the waves are small and definitely not my forte."

Reigning four-time world champ Layne Beachley will be Abubo's next challenge, since the 30-year-old was able to end the run of fellow Australian Chelsea Georgeson in their quarterfinal. Beachley, who's moved up into runner-up position on the current ratings, began with an 8.5 and then sealed the win with her final 6.25 ride.

"Chelsea's such a tough competitor," began Beachley. "Every time she stands up I think she's going to get a nine. I'm just glad the judges gave me a score they did at the start. That really set the pace for the rest of the heat and then I just tried to out experience her, holding priority as much as I could.

"I've been working on my small wave surfing and that's what it took to win a world title," she continued, on the conditions. "It's the hardest surf to compete in and the most challenging when there's no power. I had fun though, so bring it on."

A decision will be made at 7am (local time) tomorrow morning as to the day's schedule, though a change of venue to Figueira's main beach is likely due to continued small surf.

Official results of the Figueira Pro

Women's Quarterfinals
(1st advances; defeated finish =5th; receive US$3,000)
QF1: Samantha Cornish (Aus) 12.75 def. Neridah Falconer (Aus) 12.3
QF2: Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 15.25 def. Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 15.0
QF3: Layne Beachley (Aus) 14.75 def. Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 11.0
QF4: Megan Abubo (Haw) 14.5 def. Maria Tavares (Brz) 12.4

Upcoming semifinals
(1st advances; defeated finish =3rd; receive US$4,000)
SF1: Samantha Cornish (Aus) vs. Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus)
SF2: Layne Beachley (Aus) vs. Megan Abubo (Haw)

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