Stephanie Gilmore wasn't supposed to win a fourth World Title in a row. In the year when the messiah of women's surfing (Carissa Moore) finally made her way onto the ASP Women's World Tour, it should have marked an end of Steph's supremacy. But today in Puerto Rico, Gilmore wrapped up her fourth World Title in as many attempts after beating Melanie Bartels in the quarterfinals.
Four-for-four. Perfect since stepping onto tour. No one else has done that. Not even Kelly—Derek Ho made sure of that in 1993. It makes sense that this year Steph took four events to settle the title before even heading to Hawaii, the first time she's ever held that cup anywhere other than the North Shore.
For that reason alone this year could easily be seen as Steph's most dominant year out of the four: last year she only had two wins; 2008 she had five, including the last three; and 2007 she had four. Her results this year look like this: 1st, 1st, 9th, 1st, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. The 9th being the only event in which she wasn't in the semis or the final—semis or better is how World Titles are won.
But she wasn't satisfied with just the fourth World Title today. Following the quarters Steph ripped Chelsea Hedges in the semis and defeated aforementioned Carissa in the final, dropping a 9.8 for the nail in the coffin. "I actually dreamed this one up last night," Steph said. "Maybe I'm still dreaming. It's been a monumental day for me. I mean, the best mindset to have in your heats is to be relaxed and calm, and after winning the title in the Quarters, I just felt really calm. So it worked out well and I think I actually surfed better after it was done and dusted."
After being carried from the water at Middles for the second time today, Steph now has a total of sixteen ASP World Tour victories. As previously mentioned, Steph wasn't supposed to win this fourth World Title in a row. This was supposed the dawning of Carissa Moore changing women's surfing after years of being touted as the woman who would save women's surfing. Steph was supposed to hand things over and let Carissa do the rest. And that's not to say Carissa didn't change the game this year, because she did, along with the other youngsters like Coco and Sally and more. Carissa is sitting at third currently—Sally's in second, so it'll be a battle for them to see who can finish runner-up in Hawaii.
Everyone says Steph is being chased by kids but at just 22-years old, Steph is a kid too! 22 and four-for-four. It's obvious that this group of girls, 22-and-under, are going to be battling for whom the most dominant one is for years to come. "This title means a lot to me," Steph said. "The girls on tour this year have been the best they've ever been and I've been pushed in every one of my heats. The younger girls especially have a whole new approach and they're gaining confidence in every surf. The future for the sport is going to be excited and I can't wait for it. But for now, I'm going to celebrate my win."
For now though, the most dominant woman in women's surfing is named Stephanie Gilmore. And none of the youngsters on tour now will ever be able to do what Steph has done thus far on tour.—Ryan Brower
Head to the next page for the official ASP Press Release.
SOMEWHERE, Porta Del Sol/Puerto Rico (Monday, November 1, 2010) – Newly-minted four-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, has taken out her 16th elite tour event today, defeating rookie sensation Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, in two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves in Porta Del Sol to claim the Rip Curl Women's Search Pro Puerto Rico.
Event No. 7 of 8 on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour, the Rip Curl Women's Pro Search Puerto Rico saw the historic clinching of Gilmore's fourth, consecutive ASP Women's World Title following her Quarterfinal victory earlier today, and the win over the young rookie to take out the event served as icing on the cake.
"I actually dreamed this one up last night," Gilmore said. "Maybe I'm still dreaming. It's been a monumental day for me. I mean, the best mindset to have in your heats is to be relaxed and calm, and after winning the title in the Quarters, I just felt really calm. So it worked out well and I think I actually surfed better after it was done and dusted."
In challenging afternoon conditions, it was Gilmore who drew blood early on, locking in a near-perfect 9.80 out of a perfect 10 for a searing forehand assault on a rare clean righthander.
"I was just really fortunate that that wave cleaned up for me to do some damage on," Gilmore said. "Even afterwards, I just couldn't find a solid backup. Carissa (Moore) has been ripping all event long and she's so dangerous. I was honored to be in the Final with her and to win it, just makes everything that much bigger."
With her Runner-Up finish, Moore moves from 5th to 3rd on the 2010 ASP Women's World Title Race, recording one of the most impressive rookie seasons in ASP history.
"Of course I wanted to win but to be in the Final with Steph (Gilmore) after she just accomplished what she did was really special," Moore said. "I'm really thankful to be here in Puerto Rico – it's beautiful and warm and really reminds me of home. I'm looking forward to heading back to Oahu to finish the season out.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 19, was one of the form surfers of the event, consistently notching the high single-wave and heat totals each round with unmatched power and ferocity. However, the young Australian was unable to halt a late charge from a rampaging Moore in their Semifinal bout.
"It's disappointing to lose when you have a strong lead early on," Fitzgibbons said. "That's the way it goes sometimes. It's been a strong event for me, but I'm still looking for that first win. That's my goal for the next event in Hawaii and I want to finish strong to set me up well for a big year next season."
Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 27, posted a solid Quarterfinal win over rookie Lee Ann Curren (FRA), 21, but was unable to stop eventual winner Gilmore in their Semifinal clash.
The next and final stop on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour will be the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach from November 24 through December 6, 2010.
While the women's event has come to a close, the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico featuring the world's best surfers will look to recommence with Round 3 in the coming days.
Surfline, official forecaster for the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico, are calling for the NW/NNW becoming N swell to mix in with the lingering trade swell into tomorrow. Smaller, short period trade windswell is expected for Wednesday.
Highlights from the Rip Curl Women's Pro Search Puerto Rico will be available via live.ripcurl.com.
The Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico will be televised LIVE in Australia on FUEL TV. For more information, check out foxsports.com.au/fueltv.
For more information, log onto aspworldtour.com.
RIP CURL WOMEN'S PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.80
2 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.10
RIP CURL WOMEN'S PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1:Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.93 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.54
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.60 def. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 12.50
RIP CURL WOMEN'S PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1:Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 9.53 def. Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 6.87
QF 2:Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.87 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 13.77
QF 3:Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.90 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 11.66
QF 4:Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.33 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.67
CURRENT ASP WOMEN'S WORLD TITLE RACE TOP 5 (After Puerto Rico):
1.Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 6528 pts
2.Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 4980 pts
3.Carissa Moore (HAW) 4644 pts
4.Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 4344 pts
5.Silvana Lima (BRA) 4164 pts
RIP CURL PRO SEARCH PUERTO RICO ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1:Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (USA)
Heat 2:C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 3:Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 4:Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 5:Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 6:Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Dylan Graves (PRI)
Heat 7:Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 8:Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 9:Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 10:Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Dan Ross (AUS)
Heat 11:Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 12:Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, has claimed her fourth, consecutive ASP Women's World Title, making history at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Search Puerto Rico.
With her Quarterfinal win over Melanie Bartels (HAW), 28, Gilmore amassed enough points to knock sole remaining contender, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 19, out of the running for the 2010 ASP Women's World Title Race.
"I'm really at a loss for words right now," Gilmore said. "Mel (Bartels) is one of the most dangerous surfers in the world and has had my number on several occasions. Even on that last wave there, I was certain she'd got the score. I was blown away when they called it out and I'm rapt right now."
The historic occasion marks the first time an athlete has achieved a perfect record in the professional surfing world, with Gilmore claiming the coveted crown in her rookie season and every year since.
"I guess I haven't really been thinking about that," Gilmore said. "But to hold a record that Layne (Beachley) or even Kelly (Slater) never got is pretty special. I never thought I would even win two, consecutive titles so to win four is a massive achievement for me."
In one of her strongest performances to date, Gilmore's comprehensive and unabated assault on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour marks the first time the prodigious natural-footer has clinched the crown before Hawaii.
2010 ASP Women's World Tour Results:
Roxy Pro Gold Coast:WIN
Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach:WIN
TSB Bank Women's Surf Festival New Zealand:Equal 9th
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic:WIN
Movistar Peru Classic:Equal 3rd
Rip Curl Women's Pro Portugal:Runner-Up
Rip Curl Women's Pro Search Puerto Rico:TBD
GidgetPro Sunset Beach:TBD
Today's ASP Women's World Title clinching is the latest in a long list of achievements for the young Australian, which include: ASP Women's World Tour Rookie of the Year (2007), two-time Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Titles, 15 ASP Women's World Tour event victories and four, consecutive ASP Women's World Titles.
"This Title means a lot to me," Gilmore said. "The girls on tour this year have been the best they've ever been and I've been pushed in every one of my heats. The younger girls especially have a whole new approach and they're gaining in confidence in every surf. The future for the sport is going to be excited and I can't wait for it. But for now, I'm going to celebrate my win. Thanks to everyone for all the support."