Gabriela Byan Victorious In Tahiti at Papara Pro Open
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Kauian Junior Now Dominating 2 Leaderboards
Gabriela Bryan of Hawaii has claimed her second major victory for the year after winning the Papara Pro Open Tahiti this week. The Kauaian pro junior surfer is fresh off her win at the Sunset Beach Pro Junior in January where she was charging solid winter swells. This result puts Gabriela at the top of both the Pro Junior and Women’s QS WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui regional rankings.
This week in neighbouring Tahiti, Gabriela and the women competing in the World Qualifying Series (WQS) 1000 event were treated to lush tropical conditions.
After a superb and seamless week of surfing including a ten-point-ride, 15-year-old Gabriela Bryan was built up some serious momentum. The Pro Junior event also held as part of the event saw Bryan take a second place.
The final heat was a close battle between two promising Kauai surfers Keala Tomoda-Bannert and Gabriela Bryan. Gabriela got the pick of the long, right-handed waves to impress the judges with her surfing maturity and wave selection. Meanwhile, Keala, who was competing in her first QS final, also demonstrated excellent wave choice and huge above the lip surfing to receive an 8.2 and 7.5, but it wasn’t quite enough to take the win over Gabriela.
“On Kauai, there’s so many gnarly waves that you just have to go out of your comfort zone and just give it your best, all while being safe,” said Gabriela. “It definitely helps (being from Kauai) because you always are going to have to push the limits.”
“It was my goal coming over here to win the QS, and of course the Pro Junior, but I’m so stoked to win my first ever QS and it was super cool to win it here in Tahiti,” said Gabriela after her win. “Keala and I have had a lot of heats together and we’re constantly back and forth. She’s a great friend and we surf all the time together, so it was really cool to surf a Final with her.”
Such a strong start to the year seems to have kicked Gabriela up a gear competitively. We’re sure you’ll be hearing more of her name over the next nine months.
“I had a list of goals this year and both of them just got ticked off,” Gabriela said. “One of my goals was to win a Pro Junior, one of them was to win a QS. I’ve just been working really hard so it’s cool to finally have all the hard work pay off.”
Women’s WQS1000 Final
1st – Gabriela Bryan, 17.33
2nd – Keala Tomoda-Bannert, 15.70
Pro Junior Final
1st – Leila Riccobuano, 13.85
2nd – Gabriela Bryan, 12.25
3rd – Luana Coelho-Silva, 12.25
4th – Keala Tomoda-Bannert, 8.10
Photos by World Surf League / Rolland