Bianca Buitendag, 18, from George in the Southern Cape, won the ASP 6-Star SATA Airlines Azores Pro on Saturday and has qualified for the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the pinnacle of women’s surfing competition.
Buitendag was on a rampage all-day, starting her Azorean campaign with an incredible 9.5 out of 10 in the very first heat of the event, and went on to defeat Pauline Ado (FRA), 21, in the final six rounds later.“It’s the most heats I’ve surfed in a day for sure, I think 6 since 7:30 this morning. My mom’s been feeding me all-day orange juice, chocolate everything she could find that helped! When I got into the final, I was just like ‘I didn’t surf five heats for nothing’, and I just wanted to do my best for 20 more minutes!”
Buitendag, who had already secured her spot on the prestigious ASP Women’s World Championship Tour for the 2013 season before the SATA Airlines Azores Pro, put an exclamation mark to an already near-perfect season. With two event wins here and in Peru, a third place and two fifth’s counting in her five-best results of 2012, Buitendag has shown consistency in the major events and will be a force to reckon with next year amongst the Top 17.
“I feel great!” Buitendag stated. “I started really badly in Australia this year, so when I went to Peru it was kind of no pressure and I got a win there. It was just way beyond my expectations and getting two wins in one year is just plain crazy, so I’m stoked!
“It’s such an honour to be seen as a Top 17 woman in the world, as I said I don’t know what to expect. I’ve watched a couple of CT events but I’ve never participated in one. I’m just going to learn from each event, and I’ll see what I can do, if I can create some upsets I’ll be happy. I’m looking forward to all events next year, I’d say maybe Snappers the most because I’ve watched it several years in a row and it’s definitely amazing.
“I have one more event to go next week, the World Juniors in Bali. All of my friends are going and it’s going to be a really good time with great waves, it should be amazing. ”
Ado placed runner-up to an unbeatable Buitendag today, and secured her requalification for the 2013 World Championship Tour in the process. The young French competitor from Anglet entered this event ranked 6th and was in the most critical position, needing to better a quarter-final result to improve her situation.
“I’m super tired and sore, I surfed six times today but at the same time so happy to requalify.” Ado commented. “I came in this contest number 6 and I knew I had to have a good result. I’ve been really nervous all week, so I’m really relieved and happy. Obviously I wish I had won, but Bianca surfed really good and I’m super stoked!”
Alana Blanchard (HAW) 22, placed third, defeated in the semi-finals by event runner-up Ado, but her result in the Azores sees her join the Top 6 of the World Rankings. The Hawaiian has already spent two full seasons on the elite tour. Philippa Anderson (AUS) 20, placed equal third, defeated by event winner Buitendag in their semi-final matchup, but claimed the highest result of her young career at Praia de Santa Barbara.
At the end of an exciting Women’s World Tour season, the final Top 6 qualifiers finally decided in Sao Miguel are:
1. Sage Erickson (USA) – 12720 points
2. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) – 12200
3. Pauline Ado (FRA) – 8880
4. Rebecca Woods (AUS) – 8840
5. Alana Blanchard (HAW) – 8760
6. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) – 8640