Silvana Lima

Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, claimed her maiden ASP Women’s World Tour victory today, defeating reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and two-time defending event winner Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, to take the Rip Curl Women’s Pro presented by Ford New Fiesta and become the first Brazilian in history ever to win at the iconic venue.

Event No. 2 of 8 on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro culminated today with an action-packed Final that saw both athletes pushing the levels of high-performance surfing. Despite both surfers racking up high scores, it was Lima who would rise to the occasion and ring the bell for her inaugural win.

“This feels amazing,” Lima said. “This is the first World Tour event I’ve ever won and to win it at Bells Beach is like a dream. To be the first winner from Brazil to ring the Bell, it’s amazing. I am so happy. I hope everyone in Brazil stays up and parties big.”

The high-flying Brazilian wasted no time in racking up scores against Gilmore, opening with a 9.17 before backing it up with an 8.17 in the opening minutes of the Final to put her opponent on the ropes.

“Steph (Gilmore) is so good out there in any conditions and I knew I needed to get scores on top of her quickly,” Lima said. “I was able to get really strong waves at the start and my boards felt like they were working really well.”

The win rockets Lima into No. 2 on the ASP Women’s World Tour ratings, once again cementing her position as a legitimate ASP Women’s World Title threat.

“The World Title is always my goal, every year,” Lima said. “Last year was a really good year for me, but I couldn’t win an event. Now that I have a win, my confidence is very high and I look forward to the next event.”

Gilmore was the form surfer of the morning, eliminating Paige Hareb (NZL), 18, in a close Quarterfinal before racking up the highest single-wave score of the event (a 9.60 out of a possible 10) in her Semifinal bout, but was unable to find a rhythm against her South American opponent in the Final.

“Silvana (Lima) finally got me and she was ripping,” Gilmore said. “Her win was well-deserved and I hope it creates a great rivalry for the year ahead.”

Despite her runner-up finish, Gilmore has further established her stranglehold on the ASP Women’s World Tour ratings lead heading into the mid-year break.

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Ben Skinner and Candice O'Donell 

The first and crucial event of the ASP European Longboard Tour came to an end today, British surfers Ben Skinner (GBR) and Candice O’Donnell (GBR) dominating the LQS 1-Star Goanna Pro Tapia in consistent wind-blown five foot waves. Both event winners and runner-ups have secured their Oxbow World Longboard Tour (WLT) tickets and will represent Europe on the elite longboard tour along with Europe’s leaders Antoine Delpero (FRA) and Romain Maurin (FRA).

Ben Skinner (GBR), longtime top European longboarder, defeated inform Frenchman Alexis Deniel (FRA) in the final confirming his standout status through the event posting both highest wave score and heat result in the 30-minute decider. The British surfer finished the 2009 edition with an unstoppable 18.37 point tally (out of a possible 20). Skinner, who decided to make the trip to Tapia less than a week before the event started, leaves Northern Spain with the precious ticket for the Oxbow WLT, his main goal in the Goanna Pro Tapia.

"It is just perfect to end up the event with a win," Skinner said. "I came here with a big result in mind and to win and get that qualification for the WLT is what I wanted most. I was feeling great with that new board and surfed as good as I could every day. I am going to celebrate that great event."

Deniel, who secured his best result to date by placing runner-up to Skinner, showed how his hard work and training had paid off defeating fellow French favourite Damien Castera (FRA) on the way to the final, and secures as well a berth into the elite longboarding events this year. Deniel, who has been rising on the international stage since 2007, confirmed he had the talent and ss to reach the heights of the regional hierarchy and will be a serious asset for the European contingent aside the big names when the ASP World Longboard Tour (WLT) gets underway.

"I would have preferred to win the final but it’s already great to make it that far," Deniel said. "I came with one thing in mind, reach the final, and I made it so I am pretty happy. It’s been a great event, there was a very pleasant atmosphere and we are all good friends so I am stoked to have made the trip."

Remi Arauzo (FRA) and Damien Castera (FRA) both placed equal 3rd in the Goanna Pro Tapia, missing out the final despite showing exceptional surfing throughout the 3-dat event. Arauzo, who opened his run on Day 1 with the biggest heat score, was not able to counter Skinner’s final day assaults and will not take part in this year’s WLT events. Arauzo still showed again he was definitely ready to rise and the youngest favourite in the event should soon reach his ASP WLT top 32 goal.

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Remi Arauzo 

The Goanna Pro Tapia, an Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) 1-Star event, got underway today in Tapia, Spain, in four foot (1.2 meter) waves, the eight man-on-man battles of Round 1 bringing an impressive show of classic and progressive longboarding. Being the only event of the year so far on the 2009 ASP European Longboard Tour, the Goanna Pro Tapia is a crucial event that will determine the two wildcards from Europe going to the prestigious Oxbow World Longboard Tour (WLT) events, the equivalent of the ASP World Tour for male longboarders.

Remi Arauzo (FRA), who is one of Europe’s best longboarders, took control of the event posting an impressive 17.17 point heat tally (out of a possible 20) in Heat 3 to defeat other favourite Adam Griffith (GBR) and make his intentions clear towards the crown. Arauzo, who won came up with his custom made aggressive style linking radical cutbacks and vertical turns with the usual nose-rides, was unstoppable opening the exchange with an 8.00 point ride before ing the heat with a 9.17 wave (both out of a possible 10) as nineteen minutes were remaining.

"I am stoked to start the event like that, " Arauzo said. "It is such a great confidence boost to get things going the right way before next rounds and I am really looking forward to qualify for the Oxbow WLT, which is my main goal here, so I aim at making the final at least. I am also here to win the event though, which would be perfect."

Arauzo, who will now meet with outsider Lucien le Ray (FRA) in Quarterfinal No. 2, is seen as a serious contender for both the crown and the qualification.

Other in-form men of the day were British top longboarder Ben Skinner (GBR) and French Alexis Deniel (FRA), the British surfer securing his Quarterfinal ticket with a promising 15.37 point heat result (out of a possible 20), a great performance before going for the title. Deniel, who trained with Arauzo in California and surfed in an event in California where he placed 5th, was in good form and ended up with a 16.83 heat score (out of a possible 20) to advance.

"I am happy to make it through that heat that wasn’t an easy one," Deniel said. "I had a good feeling on my board and I am focused on that qualification. I know things are not going to be easy because everyone is here for that but I am ready and motivated."

Damien Castera (FRA) was the other favourite to advance, the fourth event top seed being able to get to the Quarterfinals easily. With both men and women ready to surf on Day 2 of the Goanna Pro Tapia tomorrow, the pressure will rapidly rise as there is a lot of pressure for the precious spots into the Oxbow WLT and Roxy Women’s World Longboard Championships (WWLC).

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