Five-times World Champion Stephanie Gilmore found her groove this morning in small but clean waves at Surfers Point, Margaret River.
Gilmore breezed through her Round Two sudden death heat against 2004 World Champion Sofia Mulanovich, which she was forced to surf after a surprise loss yesterday in the first round to local wildcard Felicity Palmateer.
"I struggled yesterday but it was nice to get back into the groove out there today," Gilmore said post heat. "It is a new event for the tour and new territory. It is always fantastic to be at Margaret River and I am excited with the forecast for later in the week."
Riding a short board in the smaller conditions Gilmore favoured the right hander and put together arguably the most dominant heat performance of the event so far. She scored three excellent waves in her heat, as she consistently hit a number of powerful vertical snaps.
"I am going to be knocking on a few doors to get some bigger equipment for later in the week," admitted Gilmore. "I only brought over my short boards which was a bit silly on my behalf."
Gilmore's highest scoring wave of 9.50 well and truly showed that the cobwebs had been blown away. Her total score of 18.87 was the highest of the event at that stage. Joining Gilmore in the third round will be Alana Blanchard (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL), Lakey Paterson (USA), Coco Ho (HAW) and Buitendag (ZAF) who all progressed from their elimination heats this morning.Ho and Buitendag will now face Stephanie Gilmore in Round 3, where the reigning World Champ will be looking for another win and the fast track straight into the Quarter Finals.
photos Janos Schmidt