New continent, same grind for Ricardo Christie and Paige Hareb as our #KiwiWSL surfers again as they couldn't crack uncharted territory at the Oi Rio Pro in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. Christie worked his way into the Round of 32, while Hareb made it to the equivalent stage on the women's side in the Round of 16 and this is where the kiwis have consistently got to in 2019, without being able to hit the nek level.
Christie came 2nd in his Seeding Round heat, surfing six waves for a score of 9 (4 + 5) which him saw him go straight through to the Round of 32 where he met Japan's Kanoa Igarashi yet again. Igarashi put up a scre of 13.67 (7.17 + 6.50) and Christie was unable to match Igarashi's score with a total of 10.37 (5.17 + 5.20). This saw Christie eliminated in the 17th bracket; right where Christie has finished in all five events so far.
Only one surfer in the men's competition has finished 17th in all five events and that's Christie. This obviously isn't ideal as we'd love for Christie to breakthrough the little ceiling he's built, yet this is also kinda solid given that Christie has surfed in every event and is gaining valuable experience at this level while never sliding worse than 17th. If Christie had been eliminated in the Seeding Round, then he would have results in the 33rd range and so Christie is doing nicely to always get past the Seeding Round while still sussing the tour out.
Coming 2nd in her Seeding Round via a score of 8.87 (3.37 + 5.50), Hareb then met Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) in the Round of 16 where Hareb couldn't quite match the quality of semi-finalist Gilmore. Gilmore surfed eight waves and only got decent scores from her last three waves for a total score of 9.50 (5.27 + 4.23), while Hareb surfed four waves for a score of 5.67 (3.60 + 2.07).
After failing to pass the Seeding Round in her first two events, Hareb has now made it to the Round of 16 in her last three events. This makes for a very similar yarn to Christie's as Hareb has been consistently solid while unable to sneak into the quarterfinal stage and her string of finishes in the 9th bracket sets her up for an enticing second half of the tour.
Hareb sits in 16th overall, with the 2020 qualification mark set at 10th. Christie is 28th and the men's qualification line is at 21, meaning that neither kiwi surfer is too far away from sealing automatic qualification for next year. They will definitely need some better results if they want to reach that qualification mark and after racking up the WSL experience tokens, both Christie and Hareb have laid down solid foundations from which they can flourish in the next five tournaments.
Next up is the Corona Open J-Bay in South Africa, starting July 9th.
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Peace and love 27.