LIENCRES, Spain (Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2007) - The World's Top 17 Women had their work cut out for them during Round 1 of the Rip Curl Girls Festival in Liencres, Spain today, when tricky conditions left no room for error as competitors carved their way into Round 3.
ASP ratings leader Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) fell victim to an indolent ocean when she was sidelined to Round 2, after finishing third behind Heat 5 winner Amee Donohoe (AUS) and Rosy Hodge (ZAF) this morning.
"I had a funny Round 1 heat," Gilmore said. "I was cold and struggled to catch waves. You have those heats sometimes, we're all human and I guess I just needed a reality check."
The ASP Women's World Tour rookie was quick to erase all memory of her disappointing Round 1 performance.
Posting the highest two-wave heat total of the event so far, Gilmore strung together an excellent 17.00 (out of a possible 20.00) score in Round 2 to advance directly into Round 3 ahead of Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), who finished in second and Caroline Sarran (FRA) who was eliminated in third.
"I guess it was nice to have Round 2 to shake that off and get back into the swing of things," Gilmore said. "It worked out really well and now I am ready to roll."
Former ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) was another surfer able to show off her surfing prowess in all conditions. The current World No. 6 slammed a near perfect 9.25 (out of a possible 10.00 score) onto the scoreboard in the first heat of the day.
"It was pretty inconsistent and the wave didn't have that much push but if you caught the right one it was super fun!" Mulanovich said. "I actually like these kind of waves and after I got that 9.25 I knew I could relax and have fun out there."
Mulanovich, who's native tongue is Spanish, has slipped seamlessly into life in Spain, which was evident in her performance today.
"Spain is great, it is my first World Tour event in a place where people speak my own language," Mulanovich continued. "I am really stoked to be here, it kind of feels like being at home so I am super motivated to do well at this event."
Chelsea Hedges (AUS), who is currently rated World No. 3 after losing the ratings lead to Gilmore in Brazil, was forced to contend with not only the tricky surf but also the uncertainty of meeting event wildcard Alana Blanchard (HAW) in Heat 3.
"Wildcards are always tricky, you can never count them out," Hedges said. "Alana is a talented little surfer and it was great to have a good heat against her."
The 2005 ASP Women World Champion took it all in her stride, her impeccable timing and refined contest sense saw her edge out Blanchard with 13.85 points to Blanchard's 11.20, while Jacqueline Silva (BRA) posted a 8.05 to finish in third.
"It's always good to get that first heat out of the way," Hedges said. "You really want to consolidate your scores and feel out the waves. A big solid turn out the back is going to give you the score and that was the challenge out there today."
World No. 4 Silvana Lima (BRA) used a game of premeditated tactics to win her Round 1 heat over Rebecca Woods (AUS) and Claire Bevilacqua (AUS).
Choosing to sit wide of her competitors, the Brazilian talent locked onto a couple of open faced waves that linked up onto the inside, allowing her a decisive heat win as well as a slot in Round 3.
World No. 2 Samantha Cornish (AUS) maintained her recent winning form to advance in first place ahead of Jessi Miley Dyer (AUS) and Caroline Sarran (FRA) in Heat 2; while Rochelle Ballard (HAW) secured her first heat win of the year, advancing into Round 3 ahead of Layne Beachley (AUS) and Megan Abubo (HAW) in Heat 4.
Both Round 1 and Round 2 where completed this morning with the next call scheduled for 07h30 (local time) on Thursday morning.
The waiting period for the Rip Curl Girls Festival extends from September 4- 9, 2007 and needs just two full days of surfing to be completed.
The Rip Curl Girls Festival will be broadcast around the world via live webcast transmission online at www.ripcurl.com/girlsfestival.
RIP CURL GIRLS PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.00; Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)11.50; Caroline Sarran (FRA)9.25
Heat 2: Melanie Bartels (HAW)11.75; Megan Abubo (AUS) 9.20; Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 9.00
RIP CURL GIRLS PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER)16.75; Melanie Redman-Carr 11.50(Aus); Melanie Bartels (HAW)9.35
Heat 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS)10.25; Jessi Miley Dyer (AUS)9.10; Caroline Sarran (FRA)7.75
Heat 3: Chelsea Hedges (AUS)13.85; Alana Blanchard (HAW)11.20; Jacqueline Silva (BRA)8.05
Heat 4: Rochelle Ballard (HAW)12.90; Layne Beachley (AUS) 9.60; Megan Abubo (HAW)7.35
Heat 5: Amee Donohoe (AUS)6.60; Roseanne Hodge (AUS)6.30; Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)6.30
Heat 6: Silvana Lima (BRA)12.25; Rebecca Woods (AUS)9.25; Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)5.80