Competing in arguably the biggest surf seen on the ASP Women's World Tour this year, World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA), World No. 3 Sofia Mulanovich (PER), defending NAB Beachley Classic Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and World No. 12 Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) advanced into the Semifinals of Stop No. 5 of 8 on the top tier tour.
Obliterating her Quarterfinal match-up against fellow Snapper Rocks local Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Gilmore held a captive audience with a series of radical tail slides and furious snaps, to post the highest individual wave score of the event so far, a 9.90 (out of a possible ten).
"If you want to win an event you need to know how to impress the judges," Gilmore said. "Everyone is blowing up and it's exciting to watch. It pushes you to surf out of your league and to experiment and I'm even surprising myself lately."
Gilmore left Hedges needing a combination of scores to catch up, her two-wave heat total of 16.15 (out of possible 20.00) far out of reach of Hedge's 5.65.
Not far behind Gilmore was Brazilian sensation Silvana Lima, who's aerial manoeuvres and sweeping floaters earned the day's highest two-wave heat total of 17.35, which included an excellent 9.10 score.
Lima defeated early event standout Jacqueline Silva (BRA), who disposed of ASP ratings leader Samantha Cornish (AUS) in Round 3.
"When I am practicing at home in Brazil I always try for aerials or floaters," Lima said. "The waves were really fun today and my board makes it easy for these manoeuvers."
Lima advanced into what will be her fourth Semifinal this year, making her the most consistent performer on the 2007 ASP Women's World Tour.
"This result is very important for me," said Lima, who meets Jessi Miley Dyer in the Semifinals. "With Samantha going out early I am hoping to take the World No. 1 spot but I will have to take it heat by heat."
2004 ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich will take on her third Semifinal of the 2007 season, after defeating Amee Donohoe in their Quarterfinal match-up.
The diminutive Peruvian, who is fresh off a win in Spain, fought back from perceived defeat after Donohoe opened up with an 8.10 score and backed it up with a 6.40.
Posting a 7.50 and following up with an 8.50, Mulanovich advanced into the Semifinals where she will meet Gilmore tomorrow.
"I like the heats where your competitor gives you a challenge because you don't have a chance to get nervous," Mulanovich said. "I knew I had to step it up against Amee and there was no I way I was going to let her beat me. Thanks God I got a wave and made it through."
A surprise upset came at the hands of World No. 14 Jessi Miley-Dyer who eliminated 7X ASP World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) from her own event, in Quarterfinal Heat 2.
The powerful goofy-footer who has approximately ten years of experience surfing junior contests at Curl Curl, used her intimate knowledge of the break to defeat Beachley. The reigning ASP World Champion couldn't seem to find a decent scoring ride, despite being a seasoned local at Curl Curl, herself.
"I'm really stoked to get past Layne, she is such a fantastic competitor," Miley Dyer said. "She's from Sydney but so am I, so I'm just really happy to win in front of my family and stoked to have a contest here."
Dyer will take on Lima in the Semifinals.
Round 3 saw the day's biggest upset when Jacqueline Silva (BRA) defeated current ASP ratings leader Samantha Cornish (AUS).
Silva looked confident in the bigger surf, opening up with an excellent 8.25, while Cornish was unable to find a decent scoring ride, posting nothing higher than a 2.25.
"I couldn't really find a wave out there this morning," Cornish lamented. "This is a pretty bad result for me but there are still three events so I'll just be going back to the drawing board and looking forward to the next event."
Just three heats remain at this year's NAB Beachley Classic which will see the Semifinals and Finals take place tomorrow. The 2007 champion is expected to be crowned before lunchtime.
The NAB Beachley Classic runs from 9- 14 October, 2007 and holds a prize money purse of US$ 100 000 as well as 20% bonus ASP ratings points.
The event is produced by Layne Beachley in collaboration with National Australia Bank and the Association of Surfing Professionals.
NAB Beachley Classic Semifinal Match-ups:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
Heat 2: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) vs Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
NAB Beachley Classic Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 17.35; def Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.35
Heat 2: Jessi Miley Dyer (AUS) 11.25; def Layne Beachley (AUS) 9.15
Heat 3: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 16.00 def Amee Donohoe (AUS) 14.50
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.15 def Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 5.65
NAB Beachley Classic Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA)12.15 def Rosy Hodge (ZAF)9.10
Heat 2: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.25 def Samantha Cornish (AUS)4.75
Heat 3: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 13.75 def Megan Abubo (HAW)11.10
Heat 4: Layne Beachley (AUS) 13.15 def Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)11.35
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER)10.50 def Leilani Gryde (HAW)7.90
Heat 6: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 16.00 def Claire Bevilaqua (AUS)12.50
Heat 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.50 def Melanie Bartels (HAW)11.90
Heat 8: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 12.25 def Caroline Sarran (FRA)9.00
NAB Beachley Classic Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Caroline Sarran (FRA)15.75; Megan Abubo (HAW)13.65; Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS)
Heat 2: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 15.75; Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)8.82
Rebecca Woods (AUS)7.83
NAB Beachley Classic Round 1 Results
Heat 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.50; Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 11.45 Rebecca Woods (AUS) 10.75; Heat 2: Roseanne Hodge (ZAF) 13.30; Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.25; Amee Donohoe (AUS) 11.70 Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.65; Layne Beachley (AUS) 11.00; Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 10.15 Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (PER)15.00;Leilani Gryde (Haw)8.45; Megan Abubo (HAW)6.75; Heat 5: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)10.85; Chelsea Hedges (AUS)9.40; Caroline Sarran (FRA)7.50 Heat 6: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.10;Melanie Bartels (HAW)13.10; Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS)6.10