Pictured: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion, was in sensational form today, smashing her way into the Semifinals of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by LG.
The Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile recommenced this morning in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at nearby Duranbah Beach with athletes enduring three rounds of competition before deciding the Semifinalists by day’s end.
The opening event of the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour season, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast ran through Rounds 2 and 3 as well as the Quarterfinals today, with dramatic match-ups and barrier-breaking surfing entertaining the thousands on the beach and hundreds of thousands online.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion, was in sensational form today, besting replacement surfer Megan Abubo (HAW), 31, in Round 3 before ousting compatriot Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 25, in the Quarterfinals.
“It was a great heat with Chelsea (Hedges),” Gilmore said. “There was a lot of energy before we went down to the water and it just felt great. I love surfing with her, but it’s always hard. As I’ve said before, she’s probably the only girl I’ve ever competed against who can throw a 7 or 8 right back in your face at the start of a heat and it really fires me up. Of course, to come out on top is always a bonus.”
Gilmore, who has failed to secure a strong opening result in her two years on the ASP Women’s World Tour, is now into the Semifinals and looks to be the event favorite, securing the day’s high heat total of a 16.83 out of a possible 20 in her Round 3 heat.
“My last big result at home was when I was a wildcard at 17,” Gilmore said. “It’s always a treat to surf at home in front of your friends and family. Now that I’m through to the Semifinals, I’m feeling really good and hopefully, we’ll get to finish at Snapper Rocks.”
Gilmore will face 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Paige Hareb (NZL), 18, in Semifinal 1 when Roxy Pro Gold Coast competition recommences.
Hareb remains the sole goofy-footer in Roxy Pro competition, having bested veteran Amee Donohoe (AUS), 28, and fellow rookie Bruna Schmitz (BRA), 18, in Round 3 and he Quarterfinals respectively.
“My goal before coming into this was to make the Quarterfinals and I’m through to the Semis now so anything from here is a bonus,” Hareb said. “I’ve got my parents over here which helps me relax. I haven’t even surfed that much, just been cruising, it’s been good.”
Coco Ho (HAW), 17, fellow 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie and the youngest competitor in the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, caused the upset of the day this morning, eliminating current ASP World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, in Round 3.
“It was really exciting,” Ho said. “I had fun. Silvana scores 10’s so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the waves went my way. We can both get good scores, so it was just up to who got the better rides and towards the end of the heat, it went a bit quiet so I was lucky I got some early scores.”
Ho would go on to take down veteran Australian Rebecca Woods, 24, in the Quarterfinals to secure a Semifinals berth in her first ever event as a full—time ASP Women’s World Tour campaigner.
“I was really shaky about my first year knowing I was the lowest seed and knowing that I could eventually draw Steph [Gilmore] or Silvana [Lima],” Ho said. “It happened today and I came out on top. I couldn’t be happier with how I’ve gone so far.”
Ho will face fellow islander Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26, in Semifinal 2 when competition recommences.
The Semifinals at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast will be a truly international affair when competition resumes, with New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii all represented.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6am for a possible 7am start