Smith Turns Year Around with Win at Hurley Pro Over Florence
Gilmore Claims Decisive Win over Fitzgibbons at Inaugural Swatch Women’s Pro
South Africa’s Jordy Smith has claimed a last-minute victory at the Hurley Pro at Trestles over Hawaii’s John John Florence to put a season of close calls behind him and move him up to No. 11 on the WCT rankings. Smith, 27, recently relocated to San Clemente and his local knowledge provided crucial wave selection in the final moments of the heat to steal the lead from Florence. The final scores were 16.50 (9.33 and 7.17) for Smith to Florence’s 15.87 (8.6 and 7.27). The Hurley Pro is Stop No. 8 of 11 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour, and the first Final of the year for both surfers.
The Swatch Women’s Pro Final was an all-Australian rematch of this year’s Fiji Women’s Pro, this time decisively clinched by five-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, 26. Gilmore notched the event’s only Perfect 10 and added a 9.50 to take the win over Sally Fitzgibbons. Final scores were 19.50 for Gilmore and 14.03 for Fitzgibbons (7.03 and 7.0). Second place for Fitzgibbons was sufficient to move the 23-year-old to the No. 1 spot on the rankings. Gilmore sits behind her in second place, and Carissa Moore (HAW), who was eliminated in Round 4, has dropped from first to third. The Swatch Women's Pro, the first ever women's WCT at Lower Trestles, was Stop No. 7 on this year’s Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour.
Smith’s brilliant form saw him eliminate Adrian Buchan (AUS) in the Semifinals and reigning three-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) in the Quarterfinals before battling Florence. Smith found the winning wave in the final minutes and the victory is his first WCT win of the season and the fourth of his career.
“I feel unbelievable," said Jordy Smith. “To be able to surf against the best surfer in the world at the moment is incredible. I started the heat really well but right toward to the end I started to think about everyone that’s been supporting me and it helped me nail that last wave. I knew I had to do something good. I’m over the moon, it’s a dream of mine to win Trestles, especially after moving here."
Image: ASP / Kirstin Scholtz
21-year-old Florence posted the highest two-wave heat total and single-wave score of the competition en-route to the Final. He now sits at No. 8 on the ASP WCT Rankings after defeating Adriano De Souza (BRA) in the Quarterfinals and 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) in the Semifinal, for the second time this event - Florence also topped Slater in Round 4.
“I was hoping that Jordy’s wave wasn’t going to be enough but he got it," said John John Florence. “It was really hard to surf out there and good job to Jordy, he’s been surfing good all week. I’m so bummed, I hate coming that close to winning, but it’s given me some confidence going in to the next event."
For the women, Gilmore was brilliant from the outset of the event. Surfing through three heats today, she eliminated Laura Enever (AUS) in the Quarterfinals and Coco Ho (HAW) in the Semifinals before facing Fitzgibbons.
“I had a feeling that Sally and I would meet in the Final and I just wanted to get her back from Fiji because I had a really bad performance there," said Stephanie Gilmore. “This win is a really definitive moment for me this year I think. This event is really special and to be able to compete here is fantastic, I can’t believe I won. The World Title race just got even harder and more exciting so I’m looking forward to Europe."
Fitzgibbons was blistering through the final day of the Swatch Women's Pro, disposing of Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) and Johanne Defay (FRA) successively on route to the Final.
“It was a successful event and I felt really strong," said Sally Fitzgibbons. “It’s just such a tough feeling to come in and not get the win. I was hearing those really high scores for Steph and I just wanted one of those for myself. I guess I just have to be happy with the way I progressed through the event and with second place. You always want to go one step further and I’ll be working hard to be in the Final at the next event."
In a shock upset, Adrian Buchan (AUS) eliminated ASP World No. 1 Gabriel Medina (BRA) in the Quarterfinals, opening the door for Slater to gain ground at No. 2 on the ASP WCT rankings; Joel Parkinson (AUS) to consolidate at 3rd; and Mick Fanning in 4th. Parkinson lost to Slater in the Quarterfinals.
Filipe Toledo (BRA) was awarded the Hurley Innovation Award for his huge backside air-rotation in his Round 2 heat against Adam Melling (AUS). Toledo finished in equal 13th place after being eliminated in Round 3 by fellow Brazilian Adriano De Souza. Lakey Peterson (USA) took the Swatch Innovation Award for her air reverse against Carissa Moore (HAW) in Round 4, and finished in equal 5th.
Hurley Pro at Trestles Final Results:
1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.50
2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.87
Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles Final Results:
1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 19.50
2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.03
Hurley Pro at Trestles Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.10 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.30
SF 2: John John Florence (HAW) 15.10 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 14.10
Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.84 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 13.03
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 17.04 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.66
Hurley Pro at Trestles Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.87 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.53
QF 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 17.43 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.77
QF 3: John John Florence (HAW) 17.37 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 9.26
QF 4: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.87 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.33
Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.17 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 12.23
QF 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 15.67 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.00
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.44 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.33
QF 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) 16.20 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.13