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Second WSL final for SA’s Buitendag in Fiji
- Updated: June 4, 2015
Bianca Buitendag has finished runner-up to Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons in the final of the Fiji Women’s Pro in solid 3-3.5 metre waves at Cloudbreak, Fiji.
Thursday saw Buitendag’s second consecutive final appearance of 2015, after her match-up with Courtney Conlogue (US) in Rio last month where she also finished second, and the third of her CT career. The 21-year-old from Victoria Bay earned 8,000 points and jumped up three places to sixth place on the Jeep Leaderboard.
‘It’s been an incredible day for women’s surfing and I’m very proud of Sally (Fitzgibbons),’ Buitendag said of her opponent who continued to compete despite suffering a perforated eardrum in Round 2. ‘She is a true warrior and deserves this win.
‘Of course, I’m a little disappointed to not come out on top, but it was a great event for the WS [World Surf League]. We had excellent waves and all the girls stepped up. It was impressive to see and another runner-up finish puts me in a great position for the back half of the year.’
Buitendag was in devastating form, posting three nine-point rides on her way to the final. The South African got the better of Malia Manuel (Hawaii) in Round 4 and Nikki Van Dijk (Australia) in the quarter-finals, where she began her heat by breaking her favourite board but quickly recovered, posting a 9.70 on her back-up equipment. An 8.33 left Van Dijk in a combination situation and saw the South African through to the semi-finals where she faced good friend Johanne Defay (France).
Defay has delivered incredible performances throughout the competition. However, it was the South African who dominated the heat with two consecutive nine-point rides for an 18.40 heat total. Despite posting an 8.70 and an 8.27 Defay wasn’t able to find the near-perfect score needed and takes home a third-place finish.