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Surfing - 16. March 2013.

Pumping Surf Opens 2013 Drug Aware Margaret River, Gilmore Falters

The main break at Margaret River, WA provided excellent conditions for the opening day of the 2013 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. Solid 6 to 8 foot (2.5 meter) sets rolled in for the duration of the day offering up big clean walls for the surfers to lay down powerful turns and carves.

This year's event sees the women's division upgrade from an ASP 6-Star event to be the second elite ASP Women's World Championship Tour event of the 2013 season. Both divisions offer massive points and prize money for the surfers chasing ASP Women's World Title.

Felicity Palmateer (AUS), who won the trials in solid surf yesterday, today caused a massive upset when she defeated reigning 5-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in Round 1. Palmateer lives in Perth and put her intimate local knowledge of the waves here in South West WA to good use, picking off some of epic left-handers to post some solid scores to progress to Round 3 and send Gilmore into Round 2.

"I've been a huge fan of Steph's surfing for a long time," Palmateer said. "I had a bit of a shaky start and I didn't have a lot of confidence and then I got that great left, and then I was ready to go. Yesterday the surf was about three times bigger than today and I got a couple of floggings, so I felt really confident out there today. It's pretty much my home break and I really feel the support from everyone around here."

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) came exploding out of the gates in Round 1 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro today, posting two excellent 9-point-rides. Fitzgibbons unleashed multiple powerful turns, right in the pocket of some solid waves and looked right at home in the pumping surf today.

"The last few events have been in smaller waves so I think it's important to come here early to get used to the line-up and waves," Fitzgibbons said. "I've been free surfing out there for a few days so I feel like I've got the positioning figured out. Towards the end of the heat there was a couple of big sets and it felt great to score a couple of 9s and do some big turns. It felt good, I'm stoked to be back here in Margaret River."

Tyler Wright (AUS) who took out last week's season opening ASP Women's WCT event on the Gold Coast advanced through her opening heat at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro today, despite suffering from a head cold and hurting her neck when she wiped-out early in the heat.

"I'm not doing too good at the moment," Wright said. "I got absolutely smoked on my first wave and I hurt my neck. Luckily I won the heat so I can skip Round 2 and rest for a day or two because I've got a head cold too. It really sucks, but yeah I'm happy to be at this event."

The event will be webcast LIVE via - www.margaretriverpro.com

For more information log on to www.ASPWorldTour.com




HEAT 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.34, Coco Ho (HAW) 6.60, PAIGE HAREB (NZL) 3.24

HEAT 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.94, Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.04, Sage Erickson (USA) 6.17

HEAT 3: Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 16.06, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.93, Pauline Ado (FRA)

HEAT 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 18.63, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.40, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.23

HEAT 5: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.33, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 13.37, Silvana Lima (BRA) 2.83

HEAT 6: Laura Enever (AUS) 12.34, Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.00, Alana Blanchard (HAW)
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photos Janos Schmidt 

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