Surfer girls ready for the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach

March 23, 2010 | Surfing

Stephanie Gilmore: power and style surfer

The world’s best female surfers are gearing up for the second stop on the 2010 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta, running at the historic site of Bells Beach from March 30 through April 5, 2010.

Hot on the heels of a blistering start to the season, the ASP Top 17 are making their way to the iconic pointbreaks of Victoria as they hunt down rankings’ points, prestige and the all-important ASP Women’s World Title.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, reigning three-time ASP Women’s World Champion and current ASP Women’s World No. 1, kicked off 2010 in fine fashion with a win at the season opener on the Gold Coast, but remains cautious when discussing the possibility of a fourth ASP Women’s World Title so early in the year.

“That (a fourth ASP Women’s World Title) is way too far off to even mention,” Gilmore said. “My start was a little surprise for me, but has set me up well for the Australian leg of the tour so let’s just wait and see how things turn out at the upcoming event.”

Despite the humility, Gilmore’s track record at the venue does nothing but instill confidence in her supporters, winning the event in 2007 and 2008 as well as finishing Runner-Up in 2009.

“Bells is quite a deceiving wave because it looks perfect and easy to surf but you find yourself challenged with constantly reading the wave and trying to miss the fatter sections and keeping flow and momentum until the inside section as well as not burning up too much energy in the cold water.” Gilmore said. “So there’s a lot more thinking rather than instinct, but I seem to do well at Bells and prefer the slower more polished style of surfing that shines through when you’re on a wave.”

Melanie Bartels (HAW), 27, current ASP Women’s World No. 2, had a solid start to 2010, finishing Runner-Up on the Gold Coast and will look to draw on her years of experience when it comes to the wave at Bells Beach.

“If we are surfing the Bowl then the wave reminds me of my home break, ‘Makaha’ so it'd be like surfing at home and the wave would suit me very well,” Bartels said. “Now if the waves are smaller and the comp is held at ‘Rincon’ then that's a totally different wave that would remind me of a break I used to train at when I was a kid called, ‘Barber's Point’. So either way, I'll be ready.”

Surfing with renewed vigor and confidence, Bartels has established herself as a real threat to the ASP Women’s World Title.

“This event is by far one of the most prestigious events on tour and in the world so it'd be an honor if I am the one who rings that bell in 2010 baby,” Bartels said. “In the Men's event, the ones to watch will obviously be Fanning, Parko, Taj, Kelly, Jordy, Dane and A.I. As for the Women's, the one to watch would have to be ‘The New Melanie Bartels’!”

Gilmore, Bartels and the remainder of the ASP Top 17 will battle it out in the iconic righthanders of Victoria from March 30 through April 5, 2010.

ASP WOMEN’S WORLD TOUR TOP 5 (Heading Into Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach):

1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2 - Melanie Bartels (HAW)
3 - Coco Ho (HAW)
3 - Chelsea Hedges (AUS)
5 - Silvana Lima (BRA)
5 - Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
5 - Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
5 - Rebecca Woods (AUS)