PHILLIP Island’s Nikki van Dijk has surfed her way into the top division of women’s surfing, the Women’s Championship Tour for next year, by cruising into the Quarter Finals at the season-ending event in Hawaii yesterday.
Going up against ninth ranked surfer Malia Manuel of Hawaii in the round of 16 of the lululemon Maui Pro, Nikki had to secure enough points to lift herself from a precarious 11th spot into the top 10 to be assured of an automatic start in the WCT next year – and she did it!
Surfing in clean, juicy, sometimes hollow overhead conditions at Honolua Bay, Maui, Nikki started with a nice warm-up wave, displaying some snappy turns through a second section.
She then jumped on the wave of the heat, gliding through a hollow section before launching herself off the top with a spectacular aerial manoeuvre to take the lead with a 7.0 point score.
Following up straight away with a good 6.0 scoring effort, on a nicely formed wave, she had the pressure right on the highly fancied local and ultimately came out on top with an overall score of 13 compared to Malia’s 10.46.
Nikki’s wave selection was the key, but she also surfed with strength and commitment to get the win.
The points collected there confirmed Nikki’s place in 10th, especially with contenders below and above her already eliminated.
But there was no time for Nikki to rest on her laurels, drawing the toughest opponent in the Quarter Finals, top seed Carissa Moore of Hawaii, favoured to win at home and carry off the 2019 crown.
The standings before the Quarter Finals yesterday were as follows:
1. Carissa Moore, Hawaii 58,600
2. Caroline Marks, United States 55,545
3. Lakey Peterson, United States 55,125
4. Sally Fitzgibbons, Australia 48,950
5. Stephanie Gilmore, Australia 44,555
6. Courtney Conlogue, United States 41,080
7. Tatiana Weston-Webb, Brazil 40,220
8. Johanne Defay, France 38,085
9. Malia Manuel, Hawaii 35,155
10. Nikki Van Dijk, Australia 28,625.