Stephanie Gilmores conquers the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour 

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 20, scalped her second consecutive ASP Women’s World Title today with an emphatic win at the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach, ripping through the three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves at Sunset Point to defeat fellow finalists Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 22, and Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22.

Event No. 7 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach proved the most decisive event of year, seeing shock eliminations on the final day before Gilmore soared to victory to claim the 2008 ASP Women’s World Title.

“I had no idea this was going to happen today when I woke up this morning,” Gilmore said. “Sofia (Mulanovich) went down and then Layne (Beachley) went down and I found myself in the Final with a chance to clinch it. It feels unbelievable.”

Lima, one of the form surfers on the final day, led from the outset in the 35-minute Final, posting two solid scores early on to net a 14.16 out of a possible 20. While waves were scarce during the Final, Gilmore found a walling righthander in the dying moments and tore it to pieces to attain an 8.50 out of a possible 10 and walk away with the victory and the 2008 ASP Women’s World Title.

“I knew I had to win the Final to claim the title here at Sunset and when Silvana (Lima) got off to such a solid start, I thought I would have to get a result in Maui,” Gilmore said. “I had a pretty solid score, but still needed a 6-something and there weren’t many waves at all. Then I saw this little lump out the back and I knew it would be good when I was stroking into it. Turned out to be the best wave of the heat and put me over the top.”

Gilmore’s clinching of her second consecutive ASP Women’s World Title makes it two-for-two for the young Australian, who has claimed the prestigious accolade in both years as a member of the ASP Women’s World Tour.

“The second one definitely feels better than the first one,” Gilmore said. “I’m going to savor this one for a while and then readjust my goals for next year. There should be big celebrations on for tonight.”

Today’s runner-up finish marks the third in a row for Lima, and the frustration of the elusive maiden Dream Tour victory was palpable as the Brazilian exited the water.

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Surfing life

As a sport and lifestyle, it is not noted for its medical benefits. But an addiction clinic in Cape Town has taken up surfing as part of its rehabilitation programme.

The Tabankulu Recovery Centre says that surfing offers a challenge for patients who may otherwise revert to bad habits. “People who have been using drugs for a long time need to fill their time and surfing offers that,” Hugh Robinson, the British director and owner, said.

“The biggest task for a recovering addict is finding new enthusiasm for life. Surfing gives that - it gets the juices going, new excitement and passion.”

Among those on the course is Catherine Pike, 22, from Fleet, Hampshire. “I’m attracted to dysfunctional men and become reliant on them,” she said. “It affected work, my studies - I tried to go to college three times - and my eating. I dropped friends and just became obsessed with boyfriends to the detriment of anything else.”

She has attended the clinic since May and had never surfed before. “There’s something spiritual about surfing. Being out in the ocean gives you time to think and reflect. Some days are worse than others, but when you get out there it clears your mind.”

Her surf teacher is Lenny Stolk, who was an alcoholic and drug abuser for more than 30 years. Mr Stolk, 53, regularly smoked marijuana, heroin and crack until he collapsed one night.

“I went to rehab but wasn’t interested. Then, one and a half weeks in, I just had a ‘vision’ - call it what you like - and I gave up.” Seven years ago he turned to surfing, set up LJs Surf Clinic and contacted the Tabankulu centre, which agreed to use him as part of a rehabilitation programme that also includes gardening, cooking and shopping.

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Kustom Airstrike 

Californians Ryan Carlson and Bobby Martinez have spearheaded an American assault on world surfing’s richest single-manoeuvre prize purse.

Aerial master Carlson and the resurgent World Championship Tour surfer Martinez have led the US raid on the US$50,000 Kustom Air Strike event, which overnight drew 10 new high quality entries from around the world.

Carlson launched into a must-be-seen-to-be-believed Kerrupt flip, while Martinez lays down a wildly smooth forehand aerial reverse.

But the Americans weren’t the only ones who came out firing, with West Australian flyer Jay Davies – a standout performer in a new Rusty DVD called Changes – landing what must be one of the craziest alley oops ever captured on film.

“Four weeks into the event Mitch Coleborn’s entry landed in our inbox. His flip was the best we had ever seen and the global surfing community was stunned. We heard from all corners of the planet that Mitch had sealed the deal with that flip, and that with six months still to run in the contest no one could top him. Many thought it was unbeatable,” said Kustom’s General Manager Harry Truscott.

“Another month into the event and the entries keep pouring in. We’ve got some real contenders, and a screen full of punts that are absolutely mind blowing. But, I don’t think we’ve seen the winning entry yet.

“The Kustom Airstrike set out to redefine surfing. Whoever ends up taking home the US$50,000 winners prize will have produced something previously believed impossible. That’s what we are really looking for.”

The new entries, along with scores of others that have poured Kustom Air Strike headquarters, have been posted on the event website.

Kustom Air Strike is open to all surfers, both amateurs and professional anywhere in the world, and is a quest to produce the most innovative and inspired aerial manoeuvre in surfing’s history.

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