30 July 2012
South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag clinched the biggest victory of her professional surfing career on Sunday when she defeated Hawaii’s Alana Blanchard in the final of the ASP six-star rated Movistar Women’s Pro in Piura, Peru.
Competing in excellent one-metre waves at the left hand point break of Lobitos, Buitendag used her powerful forehand attack to post a heat total of 15.00 points (out of a possible 20), earning scores of 7.0 and 8.0 on her two best rides, to Blanchard’s 12.90 (7.9 and 5.0).
“I feel really emotional and very happy with my victory,” said Buitendag on the podium.
‘An incredible feeling’
“I never thought that I would make it past the quarter-finals, let alone past Sofia (Mulanovich) in the semi-finals. So to make it to the finals and win the contest is such an incredible feeling.
“Alana surfed really well, the waves were excellent throughout the whole week, and this is the most important moment for me in my early career.”
The victory moved Buitendag, the 2011 ASP World Junior Surfing champion, up to fifth place on the ASP World Star women’s rankings, which makes her the highest ranked surfer not on the 2012 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT).
“This was such a fun contest and I’m thankful for making it to the finals,” said Blanchard. “It’s a shame I never got a good second wave to back up my score, but Bianca was unstoppable throughout the entire event and she deserved the victory.”
Buitendag, who has based herself in France, where she has already won three consecutive ASP Women’s Pro Junior (under-20) events since matriculating last year, was dominant throughout the event in Peru.
She won her opening encounter and then placed second behind local heroine and 2004 ASP women’s world champion, Sofia Mulanovich to move into the round of 24, where she again won to reach the quarter-finals.
In the final day one-on-one heats, Buitendag defeated Port Elizabeth-born Australian Philippa Anderson before getting revenge over Mulanovich in their semi-final match-up.
Compatriot Sarah Baum, the only other South African in Peru, placed third to record her best result in an ASP six-star event.
She overcame ASP number eight ranked Paige Hareb of New Zealand and ASP number 10 Rebecca Woods twice on her way to the semis where she was narrowly beaten by Blanchard.
Baum up to number 12 in the ASP World Star women’s rankings with her third place finish.
With eight of women ahead of her in the rankings currently competing on the ASP Women’s WCT – five of whom will probably re-qualify – Baum is now firmly in contention for a spot on the 2013 ASP Women’s WCT, with five ASP Star Series events still to be run this year.
Bianca Buitendag (RSA) def Alan Blanchard (Haw) 15.00 to 12.90
Bianca Buitendag (RSA) def Sofia Mulanovich (Per) 16.25 to 15.50
Alana Blanchard (Haw) def. Sarah Baum (RSA) 13.95 to 11.40
ASP WOMEN’S STAR 2012 – TOP 10
- Courtney Conlogue (USA) 9 730 points
- Malia Manuel (Haw) 8 280
- Sally Fitzgibbons (Aus) 7 000
- Sage Erickson (USA) 6 750
- Bianca Buitendag (RSA) 6 663
- Rebecca Woods (Aus) 6 530
- Pauline Ado (Fra) 5 980
- Paige Hareb (NZ) 5 910
- Sofia Mulanovich (Per) 5 640
- Alana Blanchard (Haw) 5 400
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