Stephanie Gilmore smoked the opposition at the first stop of the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, and will be looking to make it three wins in three years at the mythical Bells Beach break, kicking off in just over a week’s time. If you take a look at previous winners, it would seem history is on her side, with Pauline Menczer and Layne Beachley taking three wins apiece, and Lisa Anderson notching up four, to name a few.

But don’t take my word for it, check out the latest press release from the guys at the ASP.

BELLS BEACH, Australia (Tuesday, March 31, 2009) – The 2009 Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford New Fiesta will showcase the ASP Top 17 at Victoria’s historic Bells Beach from April 8 – 13, 2009.

Event No. 2 of 8 on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach could once again prove a pivotal point in the season, with reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and defending event winner Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, looking for her third consecutive win at the iconic break.

“The last two years, my result at Bells has proved to be a defining moment in the year," Gilmore said. “Because we head into a five-month break straight after Bells, it seems only right to hit the break with a win and an energized, confident mindset."

In addition to potentially being a vital result in the young natural-footer’s 2009 campaign, the prestige and history of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach offer competitors something extra special to strive for.

“It’s the longest running ASP event and it’s just such an authentic surf event in one of the most spectacular arenas in the history of surfing," Gilmore said. “When it’s on, it’s such a beautiful yet challenging wave. It always seems to have a nice, raw aura about it, which is absolutely magnified when competing in a heat."

Despite her impressive track record at Bells, Gilmore is wary of her competition and realizes a swath of the world’s best female surfers will stand in her way of another victory.

“Sofia (Mulanovich) always seems to do well here," Gilmore said. “Layne (Beachley) is coming out of retirement to join us at the Rip Curl Pro, so she’s definitely a threat too."

Gilmore will take on 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Bruna Schmitz (BRA), 18, and the Trials Winner in Round 1 of the Rip Curl Women’s Pro.

In addition to the young Gold Coaster, former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, will return to the singlet for the Rip Curl Women’s Pro and will be joined by the rest of the ASP Top 17.