Hawaiian Super Surfer, Melanie Bartels (Oahu, Haw), took her surfing to new levels dominating her every heat until finally squaring up against surfing rival, Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, NSW, Aus) in the final of the Roxy Pro at Phillip Island.
Summerland’s Beach, home of the world-famous Penguin Parade, provided the perfect venue to finalize the six remaining divisions of the Roxy Women’s Surf Festival. With winter-like conditions and gusty westerly winds, the protected point-break provided perfect three to four foot waves most of the week.
Bartels’ raw talent has never been doubted, as she strategically took down the CTer’s one by one. The Hawaiian’s turn of form includes wins in her home waters last December winning the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach and now her excellent result at the Roxy Surf Festival. Bartels is off to a great start. Former world no.2 Serena Brooke (Coolangatta, Qld, AUS) fell victim to Bartels in semi number two finishing with a heat total of 8.57 to the Hawaiian’s 11.97.
But in the final, it was Stephanie Gilmore that took an early lead leaving Bartels requiring an impossible 18.18 on the final siren.Eighteen year-old Gilmore timed her tournament run to perfection, peaking on the final day, to be simply unbeatable. The super-stylish natural footer opened with an excellent 8.33 and then quickly backing it up with a near-perfect 9.17 in the right-handers.
“I’m just so stoked,” said a grinning Gilmore on returning to the beach. “It’s is such a great start to my year, I’ve managed to keep my Roxy ’QS title, get Mel back for her win over me at Sunset Beach last year and it’s my birthday tomorrow. I couldn’t be happier. I guess I was a bit nervous earlier in the week but it all came together at the right time for me today.”
“I got smashed,” said Bartels. “The waves were good but I just couldn’t get it together against Steph. She is such a great competitor and any heat you have against her you know you have to be totally on your game. She is the surfer to beat. But this is a good start for me and a definite confidence booster for the start of the year. I am believing in myself and my surfing right now.”
Looks like Bartels vs. Gilmore is going to be a common theme this year!
Official results – 5 star Roxy Women’s Surf Festival, Phillip Island, Victoria, AUS:
Five-star Roxy World Qualifying Series
1st Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, NSW, AUS) 18.17pts (US,000>2000 WQS ratings pts)
2nd Melanie Bartels (Oahu, HI) 8.76pts (US,000>1720 WQS ratings pts)
= 3rd Melanie Redman-Carr (Dunsborough, WA, AUS) & Serena Brooke (Coolangatta, Qld, AUS) (US00>1460 WQS ratings pts