Standup World Tour Opens With Victory for Izzi Gomez at the 2016 Turtle Bay Pro
You know when you visit California (if you're not lucky enough to live there) and your brain becomes obsessed with visions of magical cheeseburgers from In n' Out before you ever even step off the plane? You head straight there upon landing order a double-double and almost instantly your tray full of goodness arrives. You lay eyes on that feast you came so far to enjoy, and it’s even better than you’d hoped. It's perfect. You are 100 percent satisfied and you can officially leave the Golden State a happy camper.
That must be something like the satisfaction felt by every female athlete on the 2016 Standup World Tour when they arrived at Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu’s fabled North Shore yesterday to immaculate overhead conditions for Day 1 of the Turtle Bay Pro, the opening event of the 2016 Standup World Tour. The ladies indulged as Turtle Bay served up picturesque Hawaiian visions for all three early rounds of Day 1 at the women's surf competition.
Surfers took full advantage of the superb surf with a dazzling display of progressive SUP surfing. Safe to say, if Turtle Bay was actually In n' Out, plenty of surfers opted for "Animal Style."
Shakira Westdorp dropped the single highest score of the day with power-packed backhand surfing, earning a 9.33 and advancing into the finals unscathed. Two-time teenage World Champ Izzi Gomez also surfed in form and avoided the repocharge rounds alongside former world champ Nicole Pacelli as well as the fearsome-surfing sweetheart Fiona Wylde, all of whom plowed straight through to the quarter finals.
Day 2 arrived at Turtle Bay this morning with smaller surf on the menu, but still plenty of beefy Turtle Bay burgers to host the slimming pack of elite SUP surfers. After four worthy contenders went down in Round 4, including veterans Sophia Bartlow and Iballa Moreno, the Quarter Finals found space for no strangers to the World Tour’s late-rounds. Heat 1 saw current world champ Izzi Gomez take out last year's Turtle Bay Pro victor, Caroline Angibaud, in a showcase of super-talented surfing. The next two heats played out in storybook form with Pacelli and Wylde dominating before a heated showdown between Mariko Strickland and Shakira Westdorp closed the Quarters with Westdorp continuing her winning streak into the Semis.
That winning streak was halted after a blow-for-blow heat between Westdorp and Wylde ended with judges awarding Wylde a 14.94 heat total to narrowly beat Westdorp’s 14.83. After an iconic face-off between current world champ Gomez and former world champ Pacelli, Gomez owned her crown, taking out Pacelli and moving on to meet Wylde in the prestigious Turtle Bay Final.
Undeniable similarities between the 2016 Turtle Bay finalists—both teenage champions, both American, both dominant SUP surfers and coincidentally (not that it matters), both blonde—made for a well-matched and passionate battle between Gomez and Wylde in the final round, adding fuel to the duo’s longstanding healthy rivalry. Gomez took command early on in world champion fashion with serious torque into her turns, especially impressive considering she only recently recovered from a broken foot. She took a considerable lead in the beginning and held it through the lull-laden 30-minute round. In the closing minutes, Wylde’s shot at salvation came in the final flurry of set waves. Wylde took the first for a long and well-ridden wave, but Gomez followed up with a noticeably riskier and more energetic approach. The heat was decided before the buzzer sounded with another deserved victory for the 16-year-old World Champion, Izzi Gomez .
An interview with SUWT founder Tristan Boxford on the future of the Standup World Tour and what’s in store for 2016.
Get stoked for the upcoming men’s season opener at Sunset Beach with a gallery and recap from last year’s Sunset Beach Pro.
More SUP competition.