Philippa Anderson roared into Surfest’s Doyle Partners Women’s Pro contention in style on Wednesday, blowing away her third-round competitors to clock up the highest single-wave score of the round as she barrelled through her opening heat.
The Merewether star won the early battle for some of the smaller waves her home shore was offering up, and ticked off an 8.9 score just 10 minutes into the 25-minute battle with Dominic Barona, and former tour duo Pauline Ado and Alessa Quizon.
Anderson, who has previously lifted the Surfest trophy in 2009, pulled off two turns on her forehand to claim the day-high score. She added a 5.83 backup with just a few minutes left on the clock, and retained her top spot in the round of 48 heat.
Her 14.73 total gave her a healthy lead over heat runner-up Ado (13.37), while Quizon and Barona were eliminated with 12.8 and 11.2 respectively.
While Anderson continues onwards at Merewether this week with a high-profile battle with Surfest top-seed Brisa Hennessy and Alyssa Lock, not every Novocastrian representative was so lucky in their Wednesday duels.
Baum—who had admitted she felt “pretty lucky” to edge her way through Tuesday’s battle over Emily Nishimoto and Charli Hurst after a late-heat collision—struggled to find her footing on the third day, and was eliminated.
The South African-born Newcastle star finished in third behind Keely Andrew (13.83) and Paige Hareb (13.03) after she could only manage an 11.3 in the rough surf. The goofy-footer started with a 7.5 early, but couldn’t add to her early lead.
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With Baum and other Hunter hopefuls like Elle Clayton-Brown already eliminated from the annual Merewether event, the hope of the region now once again falls to Anderson. The 28-year-old is drawing on her Wednesday win for confidence.
“I’m super happy to come in and know I can get high scores and it gives me confidence for the rest of the week. Last year I got knocked first heat so I’m stoked to get through that first one,” she told the Herald after her third-round victory.
Costa Rican star Hennessy and fellow Australian Lock awaited Anderson in the fourth round tomorrow. It is expected to be wet and rainy at Merewether again.