ASP Top 17 Dominate Opening Day of ASP WQS 4-Star Billabong Girls Rio

Stephanie Gilmore dominating Day 1. Photo courtesy ASP.

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Monday, September 8, 2008) – After nine years, the best surfers in the world are back to compete in Rio de Janeiro state after moving out from Bahia to Barra da Tijuca. Event No. 4 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, the Billabong Girls Pro Rio, starts only on Wednesday, but several of the ASP Top 17, including reigning ASP Women's World Championeven Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 20, arrived before for the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star event, which began today.

The Australian champion won the first round in Rio de Janeiro, but fellow ASP Women's World Tour campaigner Silvana Lima (BRA), 23, had the best start. Lima took top honors with an 8.50 out of a possible 10 single-wave score to put into her 13.50 out of a possible 20 heat total in today's rain-swept, chilly three-to-four foot (1.5 metre) waves at Barra da Tjuca.

“The waves are not clean,” Lima said. “I got two good waves and scored 5.0 and 8.50 and I am stoked to do well at the beginning.”

Lima has rebounded since a slow early start to the season, and the young Brazilian has been on fire as of late.

“This is true,” Lima said. “I had a bad result in Australia so I decided to train to improve my physical and psychological performance and it worked out. After that, I could see good results again. I won the Billabong contest in Bahia, South Africa and I finished in a good position in the ASP Women's World Tour event in France, where I was at the Semifinal.”

Gilmore was the other standout today, winning easily her Round 2 heat against Valeria Sole (Peru) and Marina Werneck (Brazil).

“I am competing this ASP WQS to train to get use to the waves and be familiar with the conditions here to be more prepared for the ASP Women's World Tour," Gilmore said.

The young Australian is enjoying her first time in Rio de Janeiro.

“Itacaré is beautiful and fun, but it`s a small place,” Gilmore said. “Here the waves seem to be better and stronger, and the city is bigger bringing more attention for this comp. Rio is famous and I wanted to know, Silvana Lima lives here and has told me already how pretty it is.”

The ASP Women's World Champion is also looking forward to the battle to defend her title, especially after her victory two weeks ago in France, where she regained the No. 1 spot on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour ratings.

“Definitely this result in France gave me boost up,” Gilmore said. “We had 5 months break between Australian and now, so I got the opportunity to train hard, I am stocked to come back wining. But we still are in the middle of the season, Sophia ( Mulanovich) won once and I won twice, but I am confident to run for the title again.”

The ASP WQS 4-Star Billabong Girls Pro finishes tomorrow, the Quarterfinals will start at 9 a.m. at Barra da Tijuca.

Semifinal 1:
Silvana Lima (CE), Taís de Almeida (RJ), Krisna de Souza (RN), Valeria Sole (PERU)
Semifinal 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Melanie Redman (AUS), Juliana Quint (SC), Tita Tavares (CE)
Semifinal 3: Layne Beachley, Rebecca Woods, Samantha Cornish, Jessi Miley-Dyer (todas da AUS)
Semifinal 4: Nicola Atherton (AUS), Serena Brooke (AUS), Monik Santos (PE), Gabriela Teixeira (RJ)

Heat 1:
1-Silvana Lima, 2-Melanie Redman-Carr, 3-Diana Cristina (PB), 4-Andrea Lopes (RJ)
Heat 2: 1-Taís de Almeida, 2-Tita Tavares, 3-Natali Paola (SP), 4-Amee Donohoe (AUS)
Heat 3: 1-Juliana Quint, 2-Krisna de Souza, 3-Megan Abubo (HAV), 4-Jacqueline Silva (SC)
Heat 4: 1-Stephanie Gilmore, 2-Valeria Sole, 3-Marina Werneck (SC), w.o=Kyla Langen (EUA)
Heat 5: 1-Layne Beachley, 2-Gabriela Teixeira, 3-Suelen Naraisa (SP), w.o=Bruna Schmitz (PR)
Heat 6: 1-Rebecca Woods, 2-Monik Santos, 3-Nathalie Martins (PR), 4-Rosanne Hodge (AFR)
Heat 7: 1-Serena Brooke, 2-Samantha Cornish, 3-Claudia Gonçalves (SP), 4-Gabriela Leite (SC)
Heat 8: 1-Nicola Atherton, 2-Jessi Miley-Dyer, 3-Melanie Bartels (HAV), 4-Isabela Lima (RJ)

Heat 1:
1-Andrea Lopes (RJ), 2-Natali Paola (SP)
Heat 2: 1-Krisna de Souza (RN), 2-Valeria Sole (PERU), 3-Brigitte Mayer (RJ)
Heat 3: 1-Gabriela Teixeira (RJ), 2-Nathalie Martins (PR), 3-Michelle de Bouillons (RJ)
Heat 4: 1-Gabriela Leite (SC), 2-Isabela Lima (RJ), 3-Rayza Silveira (RJ)