Event No. 7 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach proved the most decisive event of year, seeing shock eliminations on the final day before Gilmore soared to victory to claim the 2008 ASP Women's World Title.
"I had no idea this was going to happen today when I woke up this morning," Gilmore said. "Sofia (Mulanovich) went down and then Layne (Beachley) went down and I found myself in the Final with a chance to clinch it. It feels unbelievable."
Lima, one of the form surfers on the final day, led from the outset in the 35-minute Final, posting two solid scores early on to net a 14.16 out of a possible 20. While waves were scarce during the Final, Gilmore found a walling righthander in the dying moments and tore it to pieces to attain an 8.50 out of a possible 10 and walk away with the victory and the 2008 ASP Women's World Title.
"I knew I had to win the Final to claim the title here at Sunset and when Silvana (Lima) got off to such a solid start, I thought I would have to get a result in Maui," Gilmore said. "I had a pretty solid score, but still needed a 6-something and there weren't many waves at all. Then I saw this little lump out the back and I knew it would be good when I was stroking into it. Turned out to be the best wave of the heat and put me over the top."
Gilmore's clinching of her second consecutive ASP Women's World Title makes it two-for-two for the young Australian, who has claimed the prestigious accolade in both years as a member of the ASP Women's World Tour.
"The second one definitely feels better than the first one," Gilmore said. "I'm going to savor this one for a while and then readjust my goals for next year. There should be big celebrations on for tonight."
Today's runner-up finish marks the third in a row for Lima, and the frustration of the elusive maiden Dream Tour victory was palpable as the Brazilian exited the water.
"This is my third second-place finish in a row and I don't know why I cannot win," Lima said. "I don't know what else I have to do. I feel like I am surfing well, but I just cannot win. Still, a second place is a good result for me and I am happy with my surfing. I am looking forward to Maui."
Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22, 4th place finisher at the Roxy Pro, caused the biggest upsets of the day, eliminating defending Roxy Pro champion and current No. 2 on the ASP Women's World Tour Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, in the Quarterfinals before ousting former seven-time ASP Women's World Champion and then No. 3 on the ASP Women's World Tour Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, in the Semifinals, setting Gilmore up to claim the 2008 ASP Women's World Title.
"I don't know what it is for me today," Atherton said. "I had Sof (Mulanovich) this morning in the Quarters and Layne (Beachley) in the Semis and it's hard to surf against them when they're surfing so well and going for world titles. I honestly don't know what it is for me today. I think I'm just a lot more relaxed that it's the end of the year "
Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 22, scored her season best finish with a 3rd place today, pushing the goofy-footer into 7th on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour ratings heading into the season-ender in Maui where she finished runner-up last year.
"I finished 4th out here at Sunset last year so I'm stoked to finish 3rd this year and hopefully I can keep improving next year," Miley-Dyer said. "I was in the water with Steph (Gilmore) last year when she won the ASP Women's World Title so to be in the water again feels really special. As for me, this year started off slow with an injury and a couple of average results, but I'm happy with my finish here and am looking forward to a strong showing in Maui."
Highlights from the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach will be webcast available via www.triplecrownofsurfing.com and www.aspworldtour.com
The next and final stop on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour will be the Billabong Pro Maui at Honolua Bay from December 8 – 20, 2008.
The Billabong Pro Maui at Honolua Bay will not only prove paramount to the requalification race for the 2009 ASP Women's World Tour, but will also culminate the Vans Triple Crown (an ASP Specialty Series), crowning a champion at the famous pointbreak.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
ROXY PRO SUNSET FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.83
2 – Silvana Lima (PER) 14.16
3 – Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 9.00
4 – Nicola Atherton (AUS) 6.46