SNAPPER ROCKS - tephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion, has won the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile, defeating Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26, in the Final to claim the inaugural event on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour.
Gilmore wasted no time in the Final, securing the day’s high single-wave score of a 9.57 out of a possible 10 on her opening wave for a fluid series of fin releases and power carves.
“It was a really little wave,” Gilmore said. “I had a few flashbacks from 2005 where I was trying to pick off the little ones that were going to grow down the line. Today it just so happened I picked a good one. It is important to get a good start and get a lead early in the heat.”
Gilmore’s victory today at Snapper Rocks marks her fourth consecutive win on the ASP Women’s World Tour, having claimed the last three events of the 2008 season, and puts her well on the path to a third consecutive ASP Women’s World Title.
“It’s a new start for me,” Gilmore said. “To win on your home turf, in front of all these people, it’s unbelievable.”
The phenomenal natural-footer has been a perennial event favorite at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast since claiming the title as a 17-year-old wildcard in 2005. Despite her extensive local knowledge, Gilmore had failed to secure a solid result at home since beginning her ASP Dream Tour campaign until today.
“This win is definitely more satisfying,” Gilmore said. “In 2005, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe I achieved it, but this time around it’s pleasing to know that I’ve come off a season as world champ, and I’ve done some training, so to come back out here today and win makes you feel really good.”
Bartels struggled to secure a scoring wave in the first half of the Final, only able to a post 7.50 out of a possible 10 with under five minutes to go.
"I am ecstatic right now,” Bartels said. “Surfing against Steph (Gilmore) in a heat is always a challenge for me. I know how good she is. I knew I needed to put up big scores, but no waves came through. She surfed unreal and I am just glad that I got to surf Snapper with one other person out."
Despite the disappointing showing in Final, Bartels’ runner-up finish sees the Hawaiian rocket up the ratings from ASP World No. 7 to No. 2 heading into the rest of the season.
"To get a good result at the beginning of the year gives momentum to go into the next event and feel a little bit more confident and relaxed,” Bartels said. “I’ll just work on my surfing and see what mistakes I have done in this contest and just hope for the better in the next and try not to make the same mistakes."
Coco Ho (HAW), 17, 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour rookie, put on an inspiring performance in the Semifinals, falling just short to eventual runner-up Bartels to finish equal 3rd.
"It feels good,” Ho said. “I’m really happy for Melanie as well. She was surfing so well out there and got the better of every exchange. With ten minutes remaining, I was just like, ’I am out at Snapper with just Mel (Bartels),’ and I am just going to focus on getting as many waves as I can and just push every turn."
Paige Hareb (NZL), 18, fellow 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie, had an impressive run at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, before falling to eventual winner Gilmore in Semifinal 1.
“Steph (Gilmore) is the local favorite and world champ,” Hareb said. “She has everything going for her at the moment. It would have been good to meet her in the Final, but I’m still happy with making it to the Semifinals.”
Requiring only an average score to take the lead in her Semifinal heat, Hareb grabbed a roping righthander with the clock ticking and belted a first turn before getting caught up in her second maneuver.
“I’m a little bit disappointed about the last wave which I came off,” Hareb said. “I knew I could have won the heat with that wave."
Hareb finished equal 3rd at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and now sits No. 3 on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour ratings.
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.07
2 – Melanie Bartels (HAW) 12.50
The next stop on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour is the Rip Curl Women’s Pro presented by Ford New Fiesta at Bells Beach from April 8 – 13, 2009.