BELLS BEACH, Victoria/Australia (Friday, April 2, 2010) – Challenging one-to-two foot (0.75 metre) waves broke through the Bells Bowl and at Rincon today as the world's best female surfers contested Round 3 of the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta.
Event No. 2 on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour, the Rip Curl Women's Pro took advantage of the swell on offer today as the projection for the waiting period is not favourable. With tricky onshore winds and inconsistent waves, it was the top seeds who dominated the proceedings, winning eight from eight heats.
Cheslea Hedges (AUS), 26, former ASP Women's World Champion (2005), was this the round's standout, posting the highest heat total of the day with a 14.54 out of a possible 20, dispatching of Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 22.
"It's tricky out there you really got to pick the right waves that wall up," Hedges said. "I got a right one and a couple others, but sort of got caught on top of the wave a little bit. I sat and waited, and I didn't really have a good back-up wave, but I guess it was just enough to get through. It's impossible to hear out there – you don't know what's going on."
Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, 2009 ASP Women's World Runner-Up and defending Rip Curl Women's Pro winner, was another standout this afternoon, besting 2010 ASP Women's World Tour rookie Nikita Robb (ZAF), 21, to advance through to the Quarterfinals.
"Conditions are a lot like home in Brazil, really bumpy, it's not often really perfect waves," Lima said. "But yes it's fun out there. Not really good, but it's not that bad. You can't do a lot of maneuvers. It's pretty hard out there to get a really good one."
Lima will face Hedges in the Quarterfinals when competition resumes.
Coco Ho (HAW), 18, 2009 ASP Women's World Rookie of the Year, scored a sensational come-from-behind win this morning at the opening heat of the day, edging out 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie Lee Ann Curren (FRA), 20, in the dying moments of the heat.
"It was definitely nerve wrecking," Ho said. "It's really hard conditions and I made a few mistakes early on, just catching too many waves. I think it was my April Fool's joke yesterday – Mother Nature trying to get one back on me. But I got really lucky. I got that last wave and congratulations to Lee Ann, she's ripping."
Ho will take on Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 19, in the Quarterfinals of the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, reigning three-time ASP Women's World Champion, survived a close-fought heat against wildcard Tyler Wright (AUS), 16. Wright, who holds an ASP record as the youngest surfer in history to win an elite event, has beaten Gilmore in the past and was a real threat in today's trying conditions.
"I was actually just waiting for a wave," Gilmore said. "It was such a hard heat – pretty disappointing for both of us I think. There were some big mistakes made by both of us, and I guess it cost Tyler (Wright) the heat in the end. They're not the kind of heats that you want to have to build confidence moving into the next round so it was a bit of a bummer, but I got through so I guess I got the better end of the deal."
Gilmore, a two-time past winner at the Rip Curl Women's Pro, will face Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, in her Quarterfinal bout.
"I always seem to draw Woodsy down here at this event and we've had some good heats," Gilmore said. "She's on a roll at the moment. She's had some good results and some good waves, so hopefully we'll get some more waves. Similar plan for the next heat – I was pretty relaxed and a bit nervous at the same time, but nervous is good, it pushes me along to just go out there and do my best."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am for a possible 8am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be Coco Ho (HAW), 18, against Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 19, in Quarterfinal 1.
Highlights from today's Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta will be available via live.ripcurl.com.
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by SNICKERS, featuring the ASP Top 45, has yet to commence competition, but will look to get underway as soon as the optimal conditions present themselves.
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach 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 BELLS BEACH ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 11.47 def. Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 10.93
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 9.83 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 8.80
Heat 3: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.87 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 7.23
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 9.00 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 8.60
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.00 def. Nikita Robb (ZAF) 8.34
Heat 6: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 14.54 def. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 12.33
Heat 7: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 12.17 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 9.67
Heat 8: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.17 def. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 10.44
RIP CURL WOMEN'S PRO BELLS BEACH QUARTERFINALS MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
QF 2: Rebecca Woods (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
QF 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Chelsea Hedges (AUS)
QF 4: Melanie Bartels (HAW) vs. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
RIP CURL PRO BELLS BEACH ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Dane Reynolds (USA), Andy Irons (HAW), Nate Yeomans (USA)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA), Luke Stedman (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Mick Campbell (AUS), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS), Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Chris Davidson (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Adam Robertson (AUS)
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 13: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Brett Simpson (AUS)
Heat 14: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Ben Dunn (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Owen Wright (AUS), Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS), Roy Powers (HAW)