Gilmore Returns to Form at Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic
Pictured: Hawaiian hotshot Carissa Moore (HAW), 17, winning her opening Round 1 heat at the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic at Curl Curl, Sydney today. The 17 year old Hawaiian is full of confidence having come off a major ASP victory in New Zealand last week and she easily won today, posting the highest combined two-wave heat tally of a 17.50 (out of a possible 20). Credit: (c) ASP / Robertson
CURL CURL, Sydney / Australia (Wednesday 21st April, 2010): Australian surfing queen Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, made a welcome return to form in Sydney today, powering through her opening round heat of event no.4 of the ASP Women's World Tour, the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic.
On a day of beautiful weather, offshore winds and clean 3ft (1-metre) beach break waves at the backup venue of Curl Curl, the reigning three-time ASP Women's World champion proved she has plenty of fight left in her bid for a fourth consecutive ASP world title.
Following a decision by contest organisers to run the Oakley Trials, which was won by local star Laura Enever (Aus), 18, from a field of up-and-coming young guns hand-picked by event director Layne Beachley, the ASP top 17 hit the water for Rounds 1 and 2 of competition.
Gilmore, who was ousted from the New Zealand stop of the women's ASP tour by 15-year-old Sarah Mason (AUS) in Round 3, ensured the wildcard winning streak was temporarily halted, posting a strong 14.16 combined total to defeat the day's wildcard winner Enever and ASP World Tour veteran Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 23, in their Round 1 heat.
"The opening round is generally a pretty relaxed round," said Gilmore. "Everyone was out there getting a few waves and shaking off the nerves. But the wildcards are always tough, especially someone like Laura (Enever). Jessi (Miley-Dyer) put in a good show as well."
Gilmore, who won the Beachley Classic as a wildcard in 2006 and then as a world tour rookie a year later, said she was happy to be back surfing on the northern beaches of Sydney.
"The bank's really fun out there," she said. Curl Curl has dished up the goods for us today. The water is warm, kind of bikini weather. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week in Sydney. Hopefully, there'll be some better waves."
Despite progressing behind Gilmore into Round 3 where they'll again faceoff, reigning ASP Women's World Junior champion Enever said she was happy to contest her maiden World Tour event.
"I'm so excited to get through," said Enever. "I've competed in the trials three-times, so it's third time lucky for me. I'm glad we had some fun waves. Winning at home is the best. It's the best place to win."
Hawaiian hotshot and world no.6 Carissa Moore's (Haw), 17, bid for back-to-back ASP Women's World Tour event victories remains on track after surging through her Round 1 heat against world no.3 Chelsea Hedges (Aus), 26, and world no.14 Amee Donohoe (Aus), 29.
The 2010 rookie, who won event no.3 of the ASP Women's World Tour in Taranaki, New Zealand last week, showed plenty of flair in the opening heat of the round, amassing a 17.50 two-wave combined total (out of a possible 20), which included an excellent 8.83 on her first ride and backed it up with a strong 8.67, to move through to Round 3 ahead of Hedges.
"It was a tough one coming up against Chelsea (Hedges) and Amee (Donohoe)," said Moore. "I was really excited. There were some nice ones coming in but it was a little nerve racking because I've drawn the first heat a few times this year. It's ok, it was fun."
In her first full year on the ASP 'Dream Tour', the 17-year old school girl, who is currently juggling her surfing with finishing her final year at high school, said she feels confident heading into the back half of the year after her latest win in New Zealand.
"I feel really good after my win in New Zealand," she said. "The whole experience was so awesome. I know each contest and individual heat is a clean slate so I'm going to take it as it happens and go from there."
Moore will now meet world no.9 Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, who progressed through sudden-death Round 2, in the next round.
Meanwhile, Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, defending Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic winner and current ASP Women's World No. 8, kick-started her Beachley title defence with an explosive performance, netting a 16.37 total (out of a possible 20) to dispatch of Lee-Ann Curren (FRA), 20, and Rebecca Woods (AUS).
The talented Brazilian said she enjoyed her return to Sydney.
"It was pretty fun out there," she said. There were some fun rights despite a bit of bump on the face. It was fun - I love it here."
In Round 3, Lima will take on world no.14 Amee Donohoe (AUS), who survived elimination in this afternoon's Round 2 heats.
World no.4 Melanie Bartels (HAW), 27, and world no.10 Paige Hareb (NZL), 19, locked in the day's top individual wave scores of a 9.33 (Bartels) and 9.00 (Hareb) to also progress comfortably through to Round 3.
World no.16 Nikita Robb (ZAF), 20, and world no.14 Bruna Schmitz (BRA), 20, were the day's only casualties, eliminated in sudden-death Round 2.
Contest organisers will reconvene at 7.00am tomorrow morning to make a call whether they'll push through to Round 3.
The Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic will run from April 21 through 26, 2010 and will be webcast LIVE via www.beachleyclassic.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.50, Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 12.44, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 8.93
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 16.37, Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 13.90, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.00
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.16, Laura Enever (Aus) 12.33, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 10.97
Heat 4: Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 15.06, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.97, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 7.34
Heat 5: Paige Hareb (NZL) 14.17, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.36, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 11.34
Heat 6: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 15.10, Coco Ho (HAW) 10.90, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 6.00
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.00, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 9.43, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 7.76
Heat 2: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 12.34, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 9.64, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 8.03
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Amee Donohoe (AUS)
Heat 2: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) vs. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (AUS) vs. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (AUS) vs. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 7: Melanie Bartels (HAW) vs. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)
Heat 8: Sally Ftizgibbons (HAW) vs. Lee Ann Curren (FRA)
>> SURF NEWS INDEX <<