Clash of surfing titans
SELDOM will an opening round of a world women's surfing event generate as much interest as the titanic opening clash between Snapper locals Stephanie Gilmore and Chelsea Georgeson.
The two have been drawn to face each other in the first round of the Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks starting next Tuesday, February 28.
Georgeson, the world number one, is excited by the impending duel which will come less that two weeks after her marriage to surfboard shaper Jason Hedges.
"My life is perfect right now," she said.
"Jase is always with me, supporting me and that's just the best feeling in the world.
"Having him there on the beach, watching and knowing that he is there, is even better for my confidence when I'm competing."
Georgeson, 22, goes into the competition as world No.1 with everyone wanting to beat her, while 18-year-old Gilmore has just started her World Qualifying Series (WQS) campaign but is defending Roxy Pro champion.
"Coming up against Steph in the first contest of the year is going to be a really tough start to the season," Georgeson said.
Local knowledge and style took Gilmore right through from last year's trials to a main event victory, becoming the youngest female to ever win a WCT event at age 17. "I am really excited. I just can't wait for the contest," Gilmore said yesterday.
"The match-up with Chelsea will be hard, but I am looking forward to it. We surf together all the time.
"Chelsea is my favourite female surfer and the best in the world, so it's going to be pretty interesting, but I can't wait.
"Hopefully we will go wave for wave ? get barrelled, stuff like that."