Within the world of professional surfing, there tend to be widely varying tastes and preferences concerning each surfer’s favorite spot in the world to catch great waves. With that being said however, there is also a common understanding that in many ways the Hawaiian Islands represent a kind of birthplace or homeland for surfing. After all, it is quite likely that the ancient Hawaiians actually developed the sport or activity of surfing many years ago, and in this capacity it is clear that the roots of surfing are very strong in Hawaii. It is with that heritage and history in mind that the 2016 Maui Women’s Pro took place in Honolua Bay, Maui, Hawaii, and this competition really was the kind of classic Hawaiian surfing contest that really brings the sport back to its roots. The weather for this competition has been fair to good, but definitely not excellent by any means as there has been a lot of overcast type conditions that have settled over the area.
Given that this event has run from November 23rd through December 4th, 2016, it is not a huge surprise that some sketchy winter weather has been blowing through the islands region. To give people an idea of just how interesting the Hawaiian weather patters have been as we move into the winter season, in early December Mauna Loa Observatory on the big island is set to receive an incredible two feet of snow! While this development might be great for any islanders who are itching to take their ski or snowboarding gear up into the mountains of the big island, it was not as exciting for the professional women’s surfers engaging in the prestigious Maui Women’s Pro at Honolua Bay.
For the most part, the overcast did not put too significant a damper on the proceedings of the overall event, and as the waves were breaking nice and deep in the pocket, the complaints were definitely at a relative minimum from the competitors and their respective teams. The Maui Women’s Pro drew in professional female surfers from all over the world, and the competitive field in this event was definitely a stacked lineup in terms of the raw talent present. This competition actually turned out to have an especially exciting finish, as everyone believed that Hawaiian surfer Carissa Moore was likely to win after her amazing 9.0 Wave 1 scoring in the finals. It was a major surprise when she had an upset on her Wave 2 score, only managing to bring in a 4.33 point value which allowed her to lose first place to Australian Tyler Wright. In order to provide critical information about the entirety of this event, the contest results and multiple round rankings will now be discussed and analyzed here.
The quarterfinals of the 2016 Maui Women’s Pro was where things really started to heat up between the competitors, with Heat 1 of the quarterfinals beginning with a matchup between T. Wright and T. Weston-Webb. This was probably the most exciting and fun to watch heat of the entire quarterfinals, and coincidentally it was the heat that saw the highest average wave score of all at 6.66 points overall. What really made Heat 1, Quarterfinals such an exciting heat to watch was the performance that was executed by surfer T. Wright, whose fantastic set earned her the second highest overall score in the quarterfinals behind only C. Moore who finished out with a 17.74 point scoring. T. Wright ended up with a 16.76 point scoring value, with her heat competitor T. Weston-Webb performing decently with a 9.87 point score.
Heading into the second heat of the quarterfinals, we saw a match up between the two professional female surfers K. Andrew and C. Ho. Judging by the scoring totals corresponding to each of these Heat 2, Quarterfinals surfers, it can definitely be concluded that this was a evenly matched pairing in terms of ability. K. Andrew managed to win out in the second heat, coming in with a scoring total of 13.33 points overall. A couple points behind her was competitor C. Ho, who at the conclusion of Heat 2, Quarterfinals came in with a scoring total of 11.23 points. With roughly a two point margin between them, this was certainly a fairly close heat overall. The average wave score in Heat 2, Quarterfinals ended up at 6.14 points overall, which was surprisingly the third highest average in the quarterfinals.
With regard to the third heat of the quarterfinals, this was another one of the heats that saw an effective and closely matched pairing of women’s pro surfers. Winning the number one slot in Heat 3, Quarterfinals was C. Conlogue who finished out her heat with an overall scoring total of 13.67 points. A solid scoring total, no doubt, but her heat competitor B. Buitendag was right on her tail coming in with a scoring of 12.40 points. A margin of just over one point between them demonstrates to us that Heat 3, Quarterfinals was yet another heat that saw a very close contest between competitors. C. Conlogue seemed especially comfortable out in the breaks at Honolua, and her set timing was just as good if not better than it has been all season. The average wave scoring in Heat 3, Quarterfinals came out to be 6.52, the second highest average in this round.
Heat 4 of the quarterfinals turned out to have the lowest overall average wave score in the quarterfinals, but the ironic thing about it is that it was also the heat that saw the highest individual scoring total. The highest individual scoring total of the quarterfinals went to C. Moore, whose remarkable 17.74 point scoring was well deserved after an immaculate series of waves. C. Moore’s stellar first place heat performance turned out to be a stark contrast next to her competitor’s performance. M. Manuel was her competition in Heat 4, Quarterfinals, and unfortunately she did not exactly put up much of a fight against C. Moore given that her final scoring total ended up at 6.40 points overall. M. Manuel seemed visibly disappointed and upset about such a low scoring total, and that is quite understandable given that anyone would be irritated to score so poorly after coming that far in the competition. With an average wave scoring of 6.04 points in Heat 4, Quarterfinals, the fourth heat was certainly an interesting point in the progression of the 2016 Maui Women’s Pro at Honolua Bay.
Unlike some of the heats in the quarterfinals where the match ups where very close in terms of ability and skill level, the heats in the semifinals of the 2016 Maui Women’s Pro were not nearly as close in terms of competitor scoring. Starting out with Heat 1, Semifinals, we saw a match up between Australian female surfing legend Tyler Wright and another Australian pro, Keely Andrew. At the conclusion of the Wave 1 scoring for the first semifinals heat, the competition between T. Wright and K. Andrew appeared to be quite close indeed. This was because T. Wright had a Wave 1 scoring of 6.67, with K. Andrew’s Wave 1 scoring following closely behind at 6.27 points in total. However, at the conclusion of Wave 2 scoring for their heat, it became clear that there was to be a large scoring disparity between the two competitors.
In fact, T. Wright’s excellent Wave 2 scoring of 8.00 points was simply too much for K. Andrew to overcome given that she came in with only a 5.50 point Wave 2 scoring from the judges. In this way, T. Wright was able to focus and thrive under the pressure of the moment and execute on her Wave 2 performance, and K. Andrew more or less struggled on her Wave 2 attempt and was not able to pull off the win. K. Andrew appeared as though the pressure of the moment was affecting her timing and wave selection instincts, and she was a bit shaky on her launch and drop in. On the other hand, T. Wright was able to hone in and focus on the moment, and her sense of timing remained intact. Additionally, T. Wright exhibited simply expert cutbacks and snaps during her wave runs in Honolua Bay, and in this way it is easy to understand how she was able to take first in Heat 1, Quarterfinals.
Moving into Heat 2, Semifinals, we saw a matchup that was positioned with Carissa Moore going head to head against American surfer Courtney Conlogue. While C. Moore was able to keep her surfing at a high level through the semifinals, it turned out that C. Conlogue had a significant struggle to perform at all in the semis. This might seem like a very serious claim to make to some people, but when one reviews C. Conlogue’s individual wave scorings in Heat 2, Semifinals it becomes obvious that she simply was unable to surf well at all. Conlogue’s Wave 1 scoring total came in at only 0.50 points, with a bail accounting for her notably low scoring level on her first wave of the semifinals.
Conlogue’s Wave 2 scoring was redemptive to some extent, but not nearly enough given that she finished out with her Wave 2 score at 5.90 points in total. Her heat competitor C. Moore, however, had a decent Wave 1 scoring and an excellent Wave 2 scoring. Her first wave came in at a 5.83 point rating from the judges, which already had her in a position to dominate C. Conlogue through the semifinals. Rather than lay back and surf conservatively in her Wave 2 performance, C. Moore hit the accelerator and came in with a whopping 8.17 point scoring for an overall total of 14.00 points. Conlogue ended up finishing out the semifinals with a comprehensive scoring total of 6.40 points, and therefore lost to C. Moore by a vast margin of over seven whole points.
The final round of the 2016 Maui Women’s Pro was no doubt one of the most exciting competition conclusions in recent memory, definitely one of the best of the season this year. The finals saw a showdown between Australian female pro surfer Tyler Wright, and Hawaiian pro Carissa Moore. What was especially interesting about the finals was that there was a major sea change, so to speak, between the competitors from the first wave scoring to the second. This is to say that even though Carissa Moore rather dominated the first wave segment coming in with one of the only standing 9.00 and above scorings of the entire competition, the contest win still managed to elude her by the end of the finals.
For Tyler Wright’s first wave score, she was definitely outperformed but still put up an okay scoring value of 6.83 points in total. Once we turn our attention to the scoring values for Wave 2, everything changes in terms of the competition outcome. Tyler Wright managed to improve significantly over her Wave 1 scoring, bringing in a 7.83 point score on her Wave 2 performance. Conversely, Carissa Moore sort of choked on her Wave 2 performance as she was only able to bring in a 4.33 point score, for a 13.33 point final round total compared to Tyler Wright’s winning 14.66 point final round total. This was certainly an especially entertaining competition at the 2016 Maui Women’s Pro at Honolua Bay, and the final round battle between Tyler Wright and Carissa Moore was the perfect conclusion to the contest.