COOLANGATTA, Australia (Monday, Feb. 27, 2007): Former World Champion Chelsea Hedges (formerly Georgeson) ushered in the first day of 2007 ASP Women’s World Tour competition with a stellar performance at her home break of Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast of Australia today, Feb. 27, 2007.
Hedges is one of a handful of local elite-tour surfers who have not yet earned ultimate honors at Snapper Rocks. Her performance today indicates that could change at the 2007 Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Samsung.
"I think that local advantage has proven itself over the last few years,” Hedges said. “Joel (Parkinson), Mick (Fanning) and Dean (Morrison) have all won an event here; Steph (Gilmore) has won here. You can read which wave to take off on and you have extra confidence too. We'll just see what happens."
The 2005 ASP Women’s World Champion high-scored in Round 1 of the Roxy Pro, posting the day’s highest heat total, an 18.40 out 20.00, after earning a near-perfect 9.57 (out of 10.00) in the dying seconds of her heat.
"My last wave was a bit of a wide one and I just barely got onto it,” Hedges said. “It had a nice open face and I did one hit off the top and then it walled up again and again. I got off a little floater on the inside and then it walled up again. I don't really remember my whole wave, but I remember it was fun!"
Stephanie Gilmore, also a Snapper Rocks local and the 2005 Roxy Pro winner, competed in her first event as an official ASP Women’s World Tour competitor today. Gilmore has surfed numerous elite-tour events as a wildcard and has won two.
"I feel a bit experienced,” Gilmore said. “I feel like I have some tour-time up my sleeve so I guess that's an important thing if I want to do well in an event. Hopefully, I will end up in the final and it will be a really good start to the year. “
Gilmore’s maiden performance slotted her just behind Hedges statistically with a 17.40 heat total.
“Chelsea's really hungry. I can see it in her surfing,” Gilmore said. “She's my favorite female surfer and she always improving. Chelsea is my pick for this event, if it's not Layne [Beachley] or Carissa [Moore]."
Carissa Moore (HAW), the 14-year-old who won the Roxy Pro Trials to earn the main-event wildcard, managed to win her Round 1 heat over reigning ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), who finished second, and Jacqueline Silva (BRA) who came third and was relegated to Round 2.
“I think Snapper is the perfect wave and it’s my dream come true just to be here,” Moore said. “It’s not that big of a deal that I won, I just had fun surfing against Layne. I was very honored so I’m just stoked.”
Beachley was not as ‘stoked,’ but did avoid Round 2 and will meet Moore again in Round 3.
“It wasn’t really a great way to start the year,” Beachley said. “I don’t know whether I’m too relaxed or just exhausted, but either way, I’m not putting on a good show and I need to step it up to keep up with these teenagers.”
Beachley has indicated that it is rising talent such as Moore that has kept her on tour again this year while she searches for her record eighth world title.
“I can’t take anything away from Carissa Moore,” Beachley said. “She surfed well, her wave selection was impeccable and her heat strategy for a 14-year-old was just well and truly beyond her years. I’m really proud of her and I’m looking forward to coming up against her again.”
Rookies Roseanne Hodge (ZAF) and Caroline Sarran (FRA) both survived Round 2 elimination today. Elite-tour veteran Rochelle Ballard (HAW) and 2004 World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) were not as lucky and are no longer in Roxy Pro crown contention.
The Roxy Pro is being held in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro, a Foster’s ASP World Tour event. Another call on competition status will be made tomorrow morning at 6am.
Round 1 Roxy Pro Gold Coast Results: 1st and 2nd move to Round 3 and 3rd surfs Round 2Heat 1: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 15.73, Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.16, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.24Heat 2: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 14.17, Megan Abubo (HAW) 10.10, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 10.00Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.00, Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.37, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 10.16Heat 4: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 13.84, Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 9.80, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 8.80Heat 5: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 18.40, Caroline Sarran (FRA) 8.77, Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 8.27Heat 6: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.40, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.86, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 11.50
Round 2 Roxy Pro Gold Coast Results: 1st moves to Round 3; 2nd is eliminatedHeat 1: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 13.17, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 12.70, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.06Heat 2: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 14.50, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 13.13, Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 9.84
Round 3 Roxy Pro Match-UpsHeat 1: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) vs. Amee Donohoe (AUS)Heat 2: Rebecca Woods (AUS) vs. Melanie Bartels (HAW)Heat 3: Megan Abubo (HAW) vs. Samantha Cornish (AUS)Heat 4: Layne Beachley (AUS) vs. Carissa Moore (HAW)Heat 5: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) vs. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)Heat 6: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Jacqueline Silva (BRA)Heat 7: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)Heat 8: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) vs. Caroline Sarran (FRA)