BELLS BEACH, Australia (Wednesday, Apr. 4, 2007) – Reigning Rip Curl Women's Pro Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) showed the world she's shown up to defend her 2005 Bells Beach title today.
Advancing to the Quarterfinals after Rounds 1, 2 and 3 of the Rip Curl Women's Pro were run in three foot (one metre) waves at Bells Beach today, the 2004 World Champion is relieved to be back on track after finishing last in the first event of the year on the Gold Coast.
"I'm pretty stoked – it feels good," Mulanovich said. "I haven't really been doing that well lately, so it just feels good to get good scores and make it to the quarterfinals."
Tying Silvana Lima (BRA) for the highest heat total of both the men and women's event with 17.17 out of 20.00 possible points, Mulanovich beat Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) in Round 3 with her two 8.0 plus wave scores.
"I was just trying to do anything powerful out there," Mulanovich said. "I really love these waves and I feel like I can surf them well. I haven't won a contest in a while and I feel confident and like my surfing is better than ever so I just want to go out there and try my best."
High-profile rookie Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) eliminated Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) after earning a 9.00 wave score under Bevilacqua's priority in Round 3 (NB: priority refers to the surfer's entitlement to right-of-way on waves coming through the contest zone – the other surfer can only take off on waves the surfer with priority chooses not to).
"Claire actually had priority and I got that wave from right under her nose," Gilmore said. "She was a little bit too deep and there was a bit of a ledge so I just got onto it and managed to do heaps of cutbacks."
Gilmore will now meet current world No. 1 and 2005 World Champion Chelsea Hedges (AUS) in the Quarterfinals for the second time this year.
"Yeah it's a tough draw in Chelsea and I knew that it was going to kind of pan out like that for a few events at the beginning of the year, but that's just life." Gilmore said. "Chelsea smashed me on the Gold Coast so hopefully I can get some pay back here."
Hedges won the first event of the year on Australia's Gold Coast but is still wary of her good friend Gilmore who, despite being an elite tour rookie, won two ASP Women's World Tour events as a wildcard.
"It's kind of a bummer that we are meeting up again in the Quarters," Hedges said. "For sure she's going to be looking to get back at me. I owe her a few so I'm not going to go down easy. Hopefully we get a few good waves and get to do some good surfing."
Also earning a Quarterfinal berth after eliminating French rookie Caroline Sarran is seven-time world champion Layne Beachley (AUS). Beachley finished equal 9th on the Gold Coast when she was beaten by 14-year-old wildcard Carissa Moore (HAW) and was pleased to better that result at Bells today.
"It's nice to be in the Quarterfinals after such a shocking start at the Gold Coast event," Beachley, who has won the Rip Curl Pro three times, said. "It's rewarding to be in the Quarters down at Bells – it's one of my favorite events."
Officials postponed Heat 6 of Round 3 featuring Amee Donohoe (AUS) and Megan Abubo (HAW) after Donohoe was advised seek additional medical attention before competing in her next heat.
Donohoe surfed Rounds 1 and 2, but showing signs of poor health, fatigue and swollen glands, consulted onsite health practitioners prior to her Round 3 heat. Her symptoms, combined with longer-term health issues prompted Dr. Gerald Busch and Dr. Paul Bloomfield to recommend additional testing at nearby Geelong hospital.
"While it may be turn out to be nothing serious, we can't ignore the recommendations of two qualified medical practitioners," Karen Green, ASP Women's Tour Manager, said.
Pending medical results, Donohoe and Abubo's heat will run when the Rip Curl Women's Pro reconvenes. A call on competition status will be made tomorrow morning at 7am.
Rip Curl Women's Pro Round Three Results: 1st advances to Quarterfinals; 2nd finishes equal 9th
HEAT 1: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 14.33 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.34
HEAT 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.67def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.00
HEAT 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.00 def. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 8.00
HEAT 4: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 13.50 def. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 9.67
HEAT 5: Layne Beachley (AUS) 15.00 def. Caroline Sarran (FRA) 12.10
HEAT 7: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 17.17def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 11.67
HEAT 8: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 10.56 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 8.34
Rip Curl Women's Pro Round Two Results: 1st and 2nd advance to Round 3; 3rd finishes equal 17th
HEAT 1: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 11.50, Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 10.83, Amy Stewart (AUS) 5.57
HEAT 2: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 13.00, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 9.50, Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 6.90
Rip Curl Women's Pro Round One Results: 1st and 2nd advance to Round 3; 3rd must surf Round 2
HEAT 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 17.17, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 13.00, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 12.07
HEAT 2: Rebecca Woods (AUS), Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Caroline Sarran (FRA)
HEAT 3: Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Samantha Cornish (AUS), Amy Stewart (AUS)
HEAT 4: Layne Beachley (AUS), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Rochelle Ballard (HAW)
HEAT 5: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS), Amee Donohoe (AUS), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)
HEAT 6: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW), Jacqueline Silva (BRA)