ASP Champ Gilmore Dominates Day Of Upsets At Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers
Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford New Fiesta
Stop No. 2 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour
Stop No. 2 of 8 on the 2009 ASP Women's World Tour
Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia
April 7 – 18, 2009

ASP Champ Gilmore Dominates Day Of Upsets At Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

BELLS BEACH, Victoria (Saturday, April 11, 2009) – The Rip Curl Women's Pro presented by Ford New Fiesta recommenced today with competitors battling their way through to the Quarterfinals in two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Bells Beach.

The second stop on the 2009 ASP Women's World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach played host to a day of upsets with some sensational performances being logged by the world's best surfers.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women's World Champion and two-time defending Rip Curl Pro winner, continued to steamroll her campaign towards a third consecutive title today, racking up the highest heat total of the day  (a 17.83 out of a possible 20) to oust wildcard and trials winner Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), 14, in Round 3.

"I knew Nikki (Van Dijk) was going to be dangerous so I wasn't going to hold back," Gilmore said. "I've been in her position and I have also had a few wildcards being on the tour, so I kind of know what is going on in their heads and what to expect when competing against them. I just went out there and put in 120%."

Now into the Quarterfinals, the stunning natural-footer will tackle lethal rookie Paige Hareb (NZL), 18, when Rip Curl Pro competition recommences.

"It feels good to be in the Quarterfinals," Gilmore said. "To start the year off with a win on the Gold Coast and to now be here and back it up with a fifth already, it feels really good and hopefully it will just get even better."

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, 2009 ASP Women's World Tour rookie and winner of the 2008 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), ousted former seven-time ASP Women's World Champion and past three-time winner at Bells Beach, Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, from Rip Curl Women's Pro competition today.

"It was definitely a fun heat," Fitzgibbons said. "It was really good to be out there with one of my idols. I didn't have much time to think surfing against Layne (Beachley) as the heats had to be re-seeded before we started Round 3. It was a bit of a rush but I was taking it all in. It certainly is an amazing feeling to be down here at Bells.”

After placing the former champion in a combination situation with a strong heat total of a 16.50 out of a possible 20, Fitzgibbons is one of the favorite's heading into the Quarterfinals where she'll face ASP Dream Tour veteran Jacqueline Silva (BRA), 29, when competition resumes.

“It is definitely early days and I am stoked to be through to my first Quarterfinals," Fitzgibbons said. "It would be dream come true to ring the bell, but I am just taking it one heat at a time.”

Beachley was unable to find a rhythm in the challenging conditions this morning at Rincon, failing to attain a solid score until the final minutes when she secured a 6.33 out of a possible 10.

"She (Fitzgibbons) definitely got the better of me and the conditions and full credit to her," Beachley said. "Up until that last minute, I was pretty embarrassed with myself, so I was glad to get a good score at the end to redeem myself. It's really challenging out there today."

Upsets abounded throughout today's action as Melanie Bartels (AUS), 26, current ASP World No. 2, was ousted from Rip Curl Pro Bells competition in tricky conditions this morning during Round 2. Coco Ho (HAW), 17, equal 3rd place finisher at the opening event of the year, was another early casualty, falling to fellow rookie Paige Hareb (NZL), 18, in Round 3.

Swellnet, official forecasters for the Rip Curl Pro, are calling for conditions to drop slightly over the next couple of days so event organizers have called for a 7:30am call for a possible 8am start tomorrow.

Highlights from today's Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach pres. by Ford New Fiesta will be available via

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Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 15.66, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 12.50, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 11.70
Heat 2: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.00, Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.90, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 10.44

Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.50 def. Layne Beachley (AUS) 9.56
Heat 2: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 10.83 def. Amee Donohoe (AUS) 8.17
Heat 3: Paige Hareb (NZL) 14.17 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 9.83
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.83 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 7.60
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.53 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 14.17
Heat 6: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 15.00 def. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 13.84
Heat 7: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 11.16 def. Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 6.33
Heat 8: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.00 def. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 7.57

QF 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
QF 2: Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
QF 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
QF 4: Samantha Cornish (AUS) vs. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)


Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 2: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 3: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Dayyan Neve (AUS)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Adam Robertson (AUS)
Heat 10: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 14: Tim Reyes (USA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 15: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Dean Morrison (AUS)
Heat 16: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. David Weare (ZAF)