Stephanie Gilmore

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion, has won the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile, defeating Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26, in the Final to claim the inaugural event on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour.

Gilmore wasted no time in the Final, securing the day’s high single-wave score of a 9.57 out of a possible 10 on her opening wave for a fluid series of fin releases and power carves.

“It was a really little wave,” Gilmore said. “I had a few flashbacks from 2005 where I was trying to pick off the little ones that were going to grow down the line. Today it just so happened I picked a good one. It is important to get a good start and get a lead early in the heat.”

Gilmore’s victory today at Snapper Rocks marks her fourth consecutive win on the ASP Women’s World Tour, having claimed the last three events of the 2008 season, and puts her well on the path to a third consecutive ASP Women’s World Title.

“It’s a new start for me,” Gilmore said. “To win on your home turf, in front of all these people, it’s unbelievable.”

The phenomenal natural-footer has been a perennial event favorite at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast since claiming the title as a 17-year-old wildcard in 2005. Despite her extensive local knowledge, Gilmore had failed to secure a solid result at home since beginning her ASP Dream Tour campaign until today.

“This win is definitely more satisfying,” Gilmore said. “In 2005, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe I achieved it, but this time around it’s pleasing to know that I’ve come off a season as world champ, and I’ve done some training, so to come back out here today and win makes you feel really good.”

Bartels struggled to secure a scoring wave in the first half of the Final, only able to a post 7.50 out of a possible 10 with under five minutes to go.

"I am ecstatic right now,” Bartels said. “Surfing against Steph (Gilmore) in a heat is always a challenge for me. I know how good she is. I knew I needed to put up big scores, but no waves came through. She surfed unreal and I am just glad that I got to surf Snapper with one other person out."

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Roxy Pro Gold Coast 

The Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile recommenced this morning in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at nearby Duranbah Beach with athletes enduring three rounds of competition before deciding the Semifinalists by day’s end.

The opening event of the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour season, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast ran through Rounds 2 and 3 as well as the Quarterfinals today, with dramatic match-ups and barrier-breaking surfing entertaining the thousands on the beach and hundreds of thousands online.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion, was in sensational form today, besting replacement surfer Megan Abubo (HAW), 31, in Round 3 before ousting compatriot Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 25, in the Quarterfinals.

“It was a great heat with Chelsea (Hedges),” Gilmore said. “There was a lot of energy before we went down to the water and it just felt great. I love surfing with her, but it’s always hard. As I’ve said before, she’s probably the only girl I’ve ever competed against who can throw a 7 or 8 right back in your face at the start of a heat and it really fires me up. Of course, to come out on top is always a bonus.”

Gilmore, who has failed to secure a strong opening result in her two years on the ASP Women’s World Tour, is now into the Semifinals and looks to be the event favorite, securing the day’s high heat total of a 16.83 out of a possible 20 in her Round 3 heat.

“My last big result at home was when I was a wildcard at 17,” Gilmore said. “It’s always a treat to surf at home in front of your friends and family. Now that I’m through to the Semifinals, I’m feeling really good and hopefully, we’ll get to finish at Snapper Rocks.”

Gilmore will face 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Paige Hareb (NZL), 18, in Semifinal 1 when Roxy Pro Gold Coast competition recommences.

Hareb remains the sole goofy-footer in Roxy Pro competition, having bested veteran Amee Donohoe (AUS), 28, and fellow rookie Bruna Schmitz (BRA), 18, in Round 3 and he Quarterfinals respectively.

“My goal before coming into this was to make the Quarterfinals and I’m through to the Semis now so anything from here is a bonus,” Hareb said. “I’ve got my parents over here which helps me relax. I haven’t even surfed that much, just been cruising, it’s been good.”

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Portugal will have seven High Performance Surfing Centers

The Portuguese coastal cities of Peniche, Viana do Castelo, Aveiro, Nazaré, Costa da Caparica, Vila do Bispo and Sintra will have High Performance Surfing Centers (Centro de Alto Rendimento de Surf) in a total expected investment of 5.000.000 euros.

Laurentino Dias, the Portuguese secretary of state for Youth and Sports, has laid the first stone for this ambitious project, in Peniche.

The seven High Performance Surfing Centers will be available and open to all surfers, kitesurfers, windsurfers, bodyboarders and kayaksurfers.

They will be fully equipped with a surfcamp, renewable energy systems, formation and conference rooms, gyms, leisure areas, green fields, medical centers and bedrooms.

«Sports like surfing are gaining momentum and respect. This is an unprecedent investment for the wave sports in Portugal», Laurentino Dias said.

The High Performance Surfing Centers will be mainly located in the South of Portugal, except for the Viana do Castelo unit.

Matosinhos, one of the best northern city surfing spots, is out of the planned High Performance Surfing Centers announced by the Portuguese government.

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