Atherton Wins Billabong Girls Pro Itacare Wildcard
Young Ausie Nicola Atherton (21) has won the second edition of the Billabong Girls Pro Itacare. The conditions were good with waves reaching 3 foot at Praia da Tiririca, as Nicola started the final heat with a 9,25 in her first ride to beat Brazilian sensation Silvana Lima, who finished 2nd, Sofia Mulanovich came in 3rd and Amee Donohoe finished 4th.
It was Nicola’s first win in the WQS 2007 which got her back onto the list of top 6 surfers who will compete in next year’s WCT. She has also been invited to compete in the third event of the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour which starts on Monday.
Three Brazilians got to the final day of the contest, but only Silvana Lima advanced to the semi-final. Tais de Almeida and Krisna Souza couldn’t find good waves in their heats and finished the event in 13th and 9th respectively.
“It’s really hard to win a when the other surfer gets a 9,25 early in the heat. I gave my best, but conditions weren’t that good. I don’t know how she got that score, but she deserved it," said Silvana Lima, who is going to compete in the Billabong Girls Pro WCT. “I’m happy with this result, I feel more confident to do well at WCT event. I’m in 4th in the WCT ranking tied with 3 Ausies, a good result here would be really good", said Silvana.
The only heat Nicola Atherton finished in 1st place on Sunday was the final. In the quarter-final she advanced in 2nd in the heat won by Melanie Bartels (HAW), in the semi-final she beat Laurina McGrath by only 0,5 points to finish 2nd when Sofia Mulanovich came in 1st.
However in the final, she started off with great ride scoring 9,25 to take the lead. During the heat, Silvana Lima even surfed some good waves, but Nicola held on to win the event. Before the final heat of the Billabong Girls Pro Itacare Hawaiian Melanie Bartels won the Von Zipper Air Show and received $1,000.
“I had some good results last year, but winning an event like this is like a dream come true. I’m so happy and I’d like to thank Billabong for bringing this event to such a beautiful beach, it’s like a paradise. I hope Billabong keeps promoting this event here so that I can come back next year and hopefully get another good result. I’m really looking forward to the WCT event and let’s see what happens," said Nicola Atherton.
The Billabong Girls Pro Itacare winner, Nicola Atherton recovered her spot in the top 6 of the WQS ranking while American Julia Christian, who preferred not to compete in the first day due to the tough conditions at Tiririca Beach, lost her spot in the top 6. Brazilian Silvana Lima is also in the top 6 and Jacqueline Silva, who leads the ranking, will be the 2007 WQS winner unless either Melanie Redman-Carr or Stephanie Gilmore win the last WQS event in Hawaii.
The Billabong Girls Pro Itacare, third event of the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour 2007 and 12nd of the WQS are sponsored by Bahia’s State Government, GOL, Nixon, Von Zipper and Kustom. The event is co-sponsored by Star Point Surf Shops, Tropical Island, Aerosurf, Hot Water, Litoral 655, Surf Trip, Surf Adventure, Kyw, Itacare’s city government, ACERTI, CBS – Brazilin Confederation of Surfing, Bahia’s Surfing Federation, Itacare’s Association of Surfing, with both events being Licensed by the Association of Surfing Professionals – ASP South America.