DEE WHY, New South Wales/Australia – The world’s elite female surfers raised the performance bar in the solid four-to-six foot (two-meter) dredging surf at Dee Why Point, Sydney for the opening day of competition at the ASP Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, today.
Perfect scores, broken boards and dramatic wipeouts made for an awe-inspiring script that ran through three rounds of competition at the richest stop on the ASP Women’s World Tour.
ASP World No. 2 Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, posted a close to perfect performance during Round 3, unleashing a powerful series of on-the-rail carves across two enormous Dee Why walls, to score a 19.25 two-wave heat total out of 20.00.
“That heat definitely felt a lot better than this morning,” Moore said. “The conditions have held all day and I wanted to go out there and really surf and have a good time and I’m glad that showed.”
Advancing into the Quarterfinals ahead of Paige Hareb (NZL) and Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Moore’s result ensured she moved one step closer to regaining the World No. 1 position.
“It’s really important to have a good result here but I’m trying not to think about the points or the prize-money, I think that adds more pressure. This year has definitely been a challenge, there is a lot of talent and all the girls are really excited and fired up, they want it and I think that makes for great competition.”
Four times ASP World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, (AUS), 23, showed a devastating return to form during her Round 3 ‘nail-bitter’. The current ASP World No. 5 asserting her dominance over ASP World Tour rookie Tyler Wright (AUS) and Melanie Bartels (HAW) with the day’s highest scoring ride of the day a 9.8 (out of ten) for a combined 17.85 (out of 20.00) heat total.
“I’ve been watching Sally (Fitzgibbons) and Carissa (Moore) getting nines every heat consecutively through the last four events, so I was really hunting for some bigger scores,” Gilmore said. “I think those were some of the better waves I’ve had all year. It felt good to have your heart racing and to push yourself over the ledge. It’s a pretty good feeling and I’m stoked with that performance.”
While Wright set the challenge with a near perfect 9.00 ride (out of ten), Gilmore answered back with a series of power gauges and off-the-lip hacks to advance into the Quarterfinals and a step closer to defending her Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic title.
“It’s definitely about winning as much as you can no matter what you’re coming on the ratings, “Gilmore continued. “This event is really the climax halfway through the year, it’s the most important event because if you haven’t done well then you really need to win here to gain some ground and if you’re leading, then you want to feel more comfortable about your lead with a win here.”
ASP ratings leader Sally Fitzgibbons, (AUS), 20, bounced back after her shock round one defeat, posting a 9.15 during Round 3 to advance into the Quarterfinals with a 16.15 (out of 20.00) ahead of Courtney Conlogue (USA) and Sofia Mulanovich (PER).
“I’ve had a few surfs now to get into the swing of things,” Fitzgibbons said. “This morning I didn’t get the best of the exchanges but by the third round I felt like I’d found my spot in the line-up and I was just having fun out there.”
With flowing lines and fantastic technique Fitzgibbons’ consistently excellent scores including a 9.00 and 9.25 in Round 2, made her a recognised threat for the business end of the competition. And, with two consecutive victories at Bells and in New Zealand, Fitzgibbons will be looking to cement her status as ratings leader with another strong result in Sydney.
“Getting all those seconds in a row gives you a chance to build up your artillery and work on your weaknesses. I’ve just been trying to convert what I’ve learned from losing into winning, it’s been working and I will keep on that track and try to make it back onto the winner’s podium at this event.”
Inspired by the overhead conditions, Silvana Lima, (BRA), 26, set out to match the bigger surf with even bigger performances, attacking the set waves with huge floater reentries to slam a 9.50 on the scoreboard.
“I was just thinking to myself I have to match the waves with the scores, so I just punched the waves, I put my hand on the board and tried to go for one big maneuver after the next,” Lima said. “I wanted to get a ten point ride but I’m stoked to move into the Quarterfinals.”
While the large surf rewarded some, ASP Women’s World Tour campaigner Rebecca Woods (AUS), 26, suffered a painful injury to her left knee during an unfortunate accident in the shore-break, that forced her to exit the water halfway through her round 2 heat.
“I caught that wave, it was such a good wave and I saw that last section and knew I had to hit it to up my score,” Woods said. “I went for it on the last turn and came down over my board and my knee went backwards against itself. I felt my knee pop and was instantly really sore. It’s looking like it’s a medial tear so I just have to figure out if its one, two or three. I really want to go to Brasil, I need a strong result so see what happens.”
The next call will be made at 6.30 tomorrow morning.
The Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic will be webcast LIVE via www.beachleyclassic.com