Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, has claimed her third consecutive ASP Women's World Title today at the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drink in Hawaii. Gilmore makes history as the only surfer - man or woman - ever to win the prestigious crown each year they have competed at the elite ASP World Tour level. In addition to winning her third world crown, Gilmore reached the final of the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach, the second leg of the Vans Triple Crown, and placed third overall in the event. Waves today were in the 12 - to 20-foot wave face height range.
Hawaii's Carissa Moore, just 17, claimed the Gidget Pro event title with a dynamic and powerful surfing display that was beyond her years and Sunset Beach surfing experience. She Second place went to Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia), and Kauai's Alana Blanchard placed fourth. Blanchard now leads the Vans Triple Crown Series ratings ahead of Gilmore. The Vans Triple Crown champion will receive a $25,000 bonus purse.
When the final day of surfing at the Gidget Pro began this-morning, six surfers remained in contention for the 2009 ASP Women's World Title. Gilmore never faulted and had out-pointed all her challengers by the time she qualified for the final.
"It's surreal to win for a third time," Gilmore said. "It's amazing! I woke up this morning and knew it was going to be a good day. The waves were building and you sort of get that fuzzy feeling throughout the day. I really don't even know what to think about it. I just want to thank everyone for the support that I've had throughout the whole year."
Gilmore, who was focused on preparing for the Final at the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach, had remained intentionally aloof to the ASP Women's World Title possibilities on the final day of competition, and was surprised when informed she had clinched the historic crown.
"I didn't even know it was happening," Gilmore said. "I was preparing for the Final and gearing up and then to know I had won, my head was a bit light. To go to Honolua and not have to worry about the title going into the event is just so relaxing.
"I'm starting to feel more comfortable on the Women's World Tour and go into events differently," Gilmore said. "You get to know the breaks and it's still my third year and I love traveling and competing and it's such a special thing to get paid to do. I'm looking forward to next year and seeing different conditions and different waves on tour, I think there might be a couple of new stops, so yeah, I'm looking forward to having good heats and good waves."
CARISSA MOORE - GIDGET PRO CHAMPION
Moore, who entered the Gidget Pro via a trials victory, stamped her authority on ASP Women's World Tour competition when she surfed with amazing poise and maturity throughout the event's entirety to eventually win on her home Island of Oahu.
"It's such an honor," Moore said. "I'm speechless right now. I never thought that I would make the Final in this event. All of the girls were surfing so well and congratulations to Steph (Gilmore) for winning the World Title."
Moore is no stranger to ASP Women's World Tour competition despite her young age and had already finaled at a Roxy Pro Gold Coast event in 2007 when she earned a runner-up finish to Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 26. Having entered previous ASP Women's World Tour events in the past as a wildcard, the young Hawaiian looked comfortable in the heightened level of competition.
"It definitely helps having other World Tour experience under my belt," Moore said. "I also know surfing on the North Shore is always going to be challenging and the girls surf at such a sick level and each heat is a clean slate."
The Hawaiian talent also looked comfortable out in the tricky lineup of Sunset Beach and had been receiving some crucial coaching under the wing of Hawaiian legend Pancho Sullivan (HAW).
"My coaches have been such a big help," Moore said. "Having Pancho (Sullivan) out in the water helping me was great."
Fitzgibbons nabbed her first Final appearance of her rookie year on tour and absolutely dominated her heats, posting the event's highest scores including the only perfect 10-point ride of Gidget Pro competition in the Semifinals to earn her maiden Final berth and finished runner-up to Moore.
Blanchard, who is currently leading the Vans Triple Crown ratings, continued to flare throughout Gidget Pro competition and wrapped up a fourth place finish. Her final appearance was no easy task, as she defeated ASP Women's World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, crushing Lima's hopes of an ASP Women's World Title while significantly helping her chances of requalification for the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour.
"I feel bad that I knocked out Silvana (Lima), but there's also a lot on the line for me," Blanchard said. "If I don't do well at the end of the year I'll get knocked off of the tour for next year. This is my best result of the year, so I'm happy."
The women's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drink now moves on to the Billabong Pro Maui, Dec. 8-20, for the final leg of the series. The women's Vans Triple Crown champion will receive a bonus $25,000.
All the action will be broadcast live on the web at triplecrownofsurfing.com, as well as on Hawaii television on Oceanic channel 250.
Making the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing presented by Rockstar Energy Drink possible: Reef, O'Neill, Billabong, Gidget Worldwide, Nixon, Turtle Bay Resort, Hawaiian Airlines, JN Automotive Group, Surfing Magazine, Surfline.com, FUEL TV, The Honolulu Advertiser, Hawaiian Springs Water, Road Runner, Climb On! chemical-free skincare, and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). The Series is proud to announce that it is working with local company Tr3ees to embark upon a greener, more sustainable future.
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Gilmore's 2009 ASP Women's World Tour Results:
· Win at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast
· Runner-Up at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach
· Runner-Up at the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic
· Equal 5th Place Finish at the Rip Curl Pro Search
· Runner-Up at the Movistar Peru Classic
· 3rd at the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach
· TBD at the upcoming Billabong Pro Maui
GIDGET PRO SUNSET BEACH RESULTS:
1st - Carissa Moore (HAW), $12,000
2nd - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), $7,000
3rd - Stephanie Gilmore (HAW), $5,100
4th - Alana Blanchard (HAW), $4,900
S1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW), Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Melanie Bartels (HAW)
S2:Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Alana Blanchard (HAW), Malia Manuel (HAW), Coco Ho (HAW)
Q1: Melanie Bartels (HAW), Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW), Laurina McGrath (AUS)
Q2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW), Samantha Cornish (AUS), Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
Q3: Alana Blanchard (HAW), Malia Manuel (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Q4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Bruna Schmitz (BRA), Bethany Hamilton (HAW)
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS