Stop 1 of 7 on the elite ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast is always one of the most exciting events on tour as the girls get the chance put their full bag of tricks on display at one of the world’s most high performance waves.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, the 4-times ASP Women’s World Champion came exploding out of the gates in her opening heat of 2012. The hometown favourite unleashed a barrage of powerful hacks that saw her earn a massive 9.00 (out of a possible 10).
“I feel strong and am so excited to be back feeling that strength and confidence again,” Gilmore said. “Every heat this morning has been really strong, really consistent and it’s been like anyone can win and that’s exciting to watch. Kelly (Slater) and Joel (Parkinson) were really complimentary of women’s surfing at the ASP Awards the other night and that means a lot to us because we’re working hard to be like those guys and we’re learning a lot from them.”
Carissa Moore (HAW), 19, reigning ASP Women’s World Champion, showed that a six month break from competition hasn’t slowed her down, posting a win in her opening heat of 2012. Moore survived a last-minute fightback from Rebecca Woods (AUS), 27, who finished the heat with a great wave, but came less than half a point away from the score required.
“There’s definitely a different sort of pressure you have to deal with coming in as World Champ and defending your title, as opposed to chasing a title for the first time,” Moore said. “It’s a new experience for me. Coming into the first event we’re all a little nervous because it’s been a while since we’ve been in a jersey, so it’s nice to work out the kinks and the nerves and I’m looking forward to the rest of the event.”
Tyler Wright (AUS), 17, put on a dominant performance in her opening heat at the Roxy Pro today, posting multiple scores in the excellent range to net the highest heat total of the day – 17.70 (out of a possible 20). Wright recovered from a big mistake at the start of the heat, taking off on a wave before the siren sounded, riding all the way to the inside on a wave that didn’t count.
“There were some good waves coming through,” Wright said. “But the rip is strong so I’m really tired, taking off on that wave before heat started probably added to that. It was a mistake, but when I heard the countdown I thought by the time I got to my feet the heat would have started. Oh well, it happens – it was a good wave so I’m glad I caught it. I noticed last year that Carissa (Moore) and Sally (Fitzgibbons) were consistent in every comp with their performance and wave selection and that’s what I’m going to try and do this year.”
Malia Manuel (HAW), 18, took top honours in her first heat as an elite ASP Women’s World Championship Tour competitor. Manuel scoured the Snapper lineup and picked off the biggest and best waves on offer and used her smooth, yet powerful Hawaiian style to beat her more experienced competitors Silvana Lima (BRA), 27, and Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
“When I got the heat draw emailed to me I found out I was in the first heat and I was pretty nervous,” Manuel said. “But as I paddled out the nerves melted away. It was a relief to go from surfing with 50 people out there, to just a couple. Snapper is a world class wave so even the junk ones are fun. I’m just happy to get the first heat on the first day out of the way.”
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21, fresh from a win at the ASP 6-Star Australian Open last week, kept the roll going at Snapper today. Fitzgibbons was in control of the heat from the first wave, opening up with a decent score and backed that up with a 7.97 (out of a possible 10), the highest single wave score of the heat.
“It’s crazy to have people walking around in ‘Go Sally!’ shirts,” Fitzgibbons said. “The support from fans and Roxy is what keeps me going out there, it means a lot. This is my fourth season on tour and as I was paddling out for my heat, instead of the jittery nerves I’ve had in the past few years, this time I was stoked to start the season and had a smile from ear to ear.”
Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 28, had a tight back and forth battle with Coco Ho (HAW), 20, in the last heat of the morning. Both picked off great waves and attacked the lip with some critical vertical snaps, but it was Mulanovich’s pair of scores in the 6-point-range that saw her win the heat.
“I love Australia, and this wave is really sun to surf so I’m stoked to be here,” Mulanovich said. “There’s a couple of fun ones out there, you have to take advantage of the nice sections when they come to you. I like being last heat of the say, all the girls have been ripping and I’ve seen some great heats and I’ve been able to learn from them.”
Event organisers will reconvene at 6:30am to access conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
Today’s highlights available via www.quiksilverlive.com/progoldcoast/2012
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.24, Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.73, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 8.10
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.70, Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.26, Pauline Ado (FRA) 7.33
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.73, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.33, Philippa Anderson (AUS) 11.33
HEAT 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.64, Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.10, Sarah Mason (NZL) 7.94
HEAT 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.33, Sage Erickson (USA) 13.70, Laura Enever (AUS) 6.40
HEAT 6: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.73, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.13, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 7.54