Stephanie Gilmore does it again. Wins the Billabong Pro Maui and the Vans Triple Crown for the second year in a row. The World Title for the third. Steph’s approach and skill level is light years ahead of most the women on the Top 17. Not all though.
The top 5 of the 2009 Women’s Tour in order were Steph, Silvana Lima, Sofia Mulanovich, Coco Ho, and Sally Fitzgibbons. Silvana can bring some heat, and even put up a solid fight for the title. Sofia came on strong at the end of the season, showing flashes of her 2004 World Title dominance. And then you’ve got the top two rookies from the “new generation” that sparked an infusion of excitement and buzz around the ’09 Women’s Tour. Both will be viable World Champions in years to come.
The two teenagers met in the quarterfinals at Honolua Bay today. They both put up impressive scores in the much smaller surf today—but still groomed head high surf. Yesterday was all about barrels and today’s event was all about laying it on rail and going vertical—something both Sally and Coco can do with the best of them. Sally’s 15.83 bested Coco’s 14.50, and it’s no doubt that the two friends will meet again in jerseys towards the high stakes rounds in years to come.
Fitzgibbons moved on to the semis, only to face fellow Aussie Gilmore. Steph had just come off a near perfect stomping of Sam Cornish in the quarters (19.67 to 7.26) and continued her reign as Queen of the Top 17. Though young pup Sally—wait isn’t Steph only 21?—put up a good fight, Steph was determined on finishing the year as dominant as ever.
From my understanding of the qualification rules, Alana Blanchard will not requalify for 2010. Unfortunate, yes (more to come on this travesty).
With that, the 2009 Women’s ASP World Tour comes to an end. With 17-year-old prodigy Carissa Moore, along with Lee Ann Curren (Tom’s daughter), making the long anticipated jump to the Tour, we’re looking forward to seeing this new generation escalate things on the Gold Coast in 2010.—Ryan Brower
Official ASP Press Release
HONOLUA BAY, Maui/Hawaii (Wednesday, December 9, 2009) – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, took out the final stop on the 2009 ASP Women's World Tour today, the Billabong Pro Maui, in clean four-to-six foot (1.5 metre) conditions at the iconic pointbreak of Honolua Bay over Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 26, clinching her third consecutive Billabong Pro Maui title after three years of competition at the premier event. Gilmore wrapped up her dominating season amongst the Top 17 by claiming her second consecutive Vans Triple Crown title today as well.
Gilmore capped the year off in appropriate form after claiming her third ASP Women's World Title at the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach, when she advanced over Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, in the Semifinals, en route to defending her flawless record at the Billabong Pro Maui while claiming the prized Hawaiian specialty series and the beefed up $25,000 prize purse supplied by Vans.
“I can't believe it's all happening again, it's awesome.”-Steph Gilmore
"Once again, Maui has just been incredible and to win this event three times in a row is just awesome," Gilmore said. "I couldn't have been happier with the way things have gone today. Winning the Vans Triple Crown is definitely up there with winning the World Title and it's definitely one of the biggest accolades of surfing professionally. I can't believe it's all happening again, it's awesome."
Gilmore absolutely dominated the day's proceedings, blitzing the highest heat total of the entire 2009 ASP Women's World Tour season by surfing a near-perfect heat of 19.67 out of 20 to usurp Samantha Cornish (AUS), 29, in her Quarterfinals heat before topping Fitzgibbons and Mulanovich en route to her second ASP Women's World Tour win of 2009.
"I guess it's a little surprising," Gilmore said. "I would have thought that the highest heat total would have gone down yesterday with all of the barrels. Today there are still some rippable waves out there, but I don't know. I just went surfing."
Mulanovich campaigned through a lengthy day of competition, topping Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 23, Australian veteran Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, and ASP Women's World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, but was unable to top Gilmore for the victory and claimed a runner-up finish at the final event of the year to finish her season ASP Women's World No. 3.
"It's been a great day," Mulanovich said. "Congratulations to Steph (Gilmore). She's a champ and a hero to all of us and thanks to the sponsors of the event and my family and friends. It's been a great event."
Fitzgibbons navigated the Honolua Bay lineup with poise and maturity beyond her years and posted some amazing scores before falling in her Semifinals bout against Gilmore, but clinched an impressive heat victory over Coco Ho (HAW), 18, in the Quarterfinals on the way to her third place finish.
"I always love surfing heats with Coco (Ho)," Fitzgibbons said. "She always pushes my level up and I usually have my best heats with her. She's also a really great friend. I wish there were more waves so we could have dueled a little bit more. She surfed amazing this year and my hat goes off to her."
Lima, who smashed one of two perfect 10-point rides during the Billabong Pro Maui with amazing barrel riding in yesterday's action, was in stellar form for the final day of competition, but was overtaken by former Peruvian ASP Women's World Champion, Mulanovich, in the dying minutes of their Semifinals heat, taking a third place finish to wrap up her year while finishing ASP Women's World No. 2 for 2009.
"The waves were a lot smaller than yesterday, but it was still good," Lima said. "Sometimes the heats were slow, but the conditions were still great."
For additional ASP information log on to aspworldtour.com.
Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines Final:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.00
2 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.17
Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines Semifinals Results:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.03 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.94
Heat 2: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.83 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.70
Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.83 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 14.50
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 19.67 def. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 7.26
Heat 3: Silvana Lima 16.70 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 7.20
Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.77 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 6.50
Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines Round 3 Result:
Heat 8: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 9.50 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 8.17
Final 2009 ASP Women's World Tour ratings
1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2. Silvana Lima (BRA)
3. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
4. Coco Ho (HAW)
5. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
6. Melanie Bartels (HAW)
7. Chelsea Hedges (AUS)
8. Paige Hareb (NZL)
9. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
10. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)
11. Samantha Cornish (AUS)
12. Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
13. Alana Blanchard (HAW)
14. Bruna Schmitz (BRA)
15. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
16. Amee Donohoe (AUS)
17. Megan Abubo (HAW)
18. Layne Beachley (AUS)