HONOLUA BAY, Maui/Hawaii (Tuesday, December 8, 2009) – The final stop on the 2009 ASP Women's World Tour, the Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines, saw freshly-crowned three-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, and current ASP Women's World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, lead the charge through a marathon day in pumping eight foot (2.5 metre) surf at Honolua Bay today while dropping the event's highest scores.
The Billabong Pro Maui is a critical event for several of the world's finest female surfers' campaigns towards requalification for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour and also marks the final stop of the prestigious Vans Triple Crown. Today's thumping surf at Honolua Bay provided an excellent stage for the girls of the ASP Women's World Tour to showcase their talents while striving to end their year on a good note.
Gilmore, who clinched her third consecutive ASP Women's World Title at Sunset Beach, absolutely dominated her Round 3 heat over event wildcard Alessa Quizon (HAW), 15, crushing the day's highest heat total of a near-perfect 18.80 out of 20 by capitalizing on the firing barrels at Honolua Bay.
"I'm not even here to do turns," Gilmore said. "I'm probably on a way bigger board than all of the other girls, but it's a place where you can take a really nice drop and get all stylish and try and pull into the tube. I'm just looking forward to the next round, I'm so excited."
Gilmore, who has a perfect two-for-two record at the Billabong Pro Maui, is out to keep her flawless event record alive at the famed pointbreak and is hoping to take out her third consecutive Billabong Pro Maui win to cap off her impressive year while enjoying the pumping surf on offer this year.
"Three seems to be a pretty lucky number for me right about now," Gilmore said. "I don't know, I'm just so happy to be here in the most amazing waves we've had all year and the girls were charging. I just want to get barreled."
With Vans Triple Crown forerunner Alana Blanchard (HAW), 18, falling in Round 3 of today's competition, Gilmore is also hungry to claim a repeat Vans Triple Crown victory for 2009.
"We want action and drama for the Triple Crown and it's going to be really great to see how it unfolds," Gilmore said. "All of the heats are going to be full of action and there has been $25,000 put up by Vans for the winner and it's going to be an exciting finish to the whole Hawaiian leg."
Lima clinched the day's only perfect 10-point ride when she drove through a freight training barrel. The Brazilian talent has had a stellar year on the ASP Women's World Tour, clinching two event victories and was nearly lost for words due to today's conditions.
"I feel great," Lima said. "I loved that wave and I was sitting by myself thinking 'Thank you God' when that wave came in. I pulled into the barrel and I couldn't believe I was coming out."
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, current ASP Women's World No. 5, is fresh off of her first career final at Sunset Beach and dominated the Honolua Bay lineup to claim two heat victories while advancing through to the Quarterfinals with lengthy barrel rides and aggressive forehand carves.
"The waves were amazing in my Round 3 heat," Fitzgibbons said. "It was better than earlier and cleaner and hitting the reef better. I saw a fair few barrels going unridden and I figured I'd better pull in. I went out and managed to get one of those inside ones and managed to get one of the best barrels of my life. I was pretty happy to have it here in the contest."
Fitzgibbons, who is currently competing in her rookie year on the ASP Women's World Tour, is thrilled to wrap up her first year amongst the world's finest female surfers in flawless Honolua Bay conditions.
"It's a pretty amazing day," Fitzgibbons said. "We've woken up and it's the best Honolua I've seen. I'm pretty amazed to have conditions like this for my first event at Honolua on the ASP Women's World Tour. It's pumping and I think a lot of the girls are excited and I'm happy to have a few good heats."
Melanie Bartels (HAW), 27, who was the runner-up to Gilmore in last year's Billabong Pro Maui, was relegated to Round 1 after a tough first heat, but crushed an amazing 17.50 out of 20 heat total in Round 2 before ousting Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 22, in Round 3 to earn a Quarterfinals berth.
"I just wanted to go out there and get shacked," Bartels said. "I'm so stoked that Billabong puts this contest on and we get to surf Honolua Bay with only a few girls out. It's amazing and a dream come true. I've been watching this wave since I was little and I'm just stoked to be out there and surf and get barreled."
The final heat of the day was compromised when a non competitor interfered with Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 23, in the dying minutes of her Round 3 heat against Sofia Mulanovich(PER),26.
"Water security lost control of the lineup and were unable to protect the contest zone from the 30 surfers who were intruding on the contest area,” Richie Porta, Billabong Pro Maui Head Judge, said. "Both surfers were interfered with by non competitors, hindering their chances on capitalizing on potentially heat changing waves."
The matchup between Mulanovich and Miley-Dyer will be fully restarted with the heat's original 30-minute time and will begin prior to Billabong Pro Maui Quarterfinals competition.
Bruna Schmitz (BRA), 19, and Nikita Robb, 20, have also solidified their spot on next year's ASP Women's World Tour due to the double qualification of Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, and Paige Hareb (NZL), 19, who posted standout performances among the Top 17 and the ASP WQS.
Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines will finish today, wrapping up the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour as well as the 2009 Women’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Tune in live at triplecrownofsurfing.combillabongpro.com.
For additional ASP information log on to aspworldtour.com or aspnorthamerica.org.
Billabong Pro Maui pres. By Hawaiian Airlines Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.50, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 8.90, Paige Hareb (NZL) 7.17
Heat 2: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 12.67, Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.33, Coco Ho (HAW) 10.53
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.00, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 7.07, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 6.93
Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.33, Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.60, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 5.77
Heat 5: Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 12.84, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 9.37, Megan Abubo (HAW) 8.00
Heat 6: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 13.50, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 8.60, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 8.50
Billabong Pro Maui pres. By Hawaiian Airlines Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.50, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.37, Megan Abubo (HAW) 11.17
Heat 2: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 17.54, Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.83, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 1.97
Billabong Pro Maui pres. By Hawaiian Airlines Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 13.94 def. Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 13.16
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.40 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 10.26
Heat 3: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 9.50 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 6.33
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.80 def. Alessa Quizon (HAW) 13.50
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.33 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.50
Heat 6: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 12.43 def. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 9.10
Heat 7: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 14.00 def. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 9.90
Billabong Pro Maui pres. By Hawaiian Airlines Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (HAW)
QF 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
QF 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Melanie Bartels (HAW)
QF 4: Rebecca Woods (AUS) vs.TBD