Gilmore chases history
COOLANGATTA'S Stephanie Gilmore will be hoping the success she had as a trialist doesn't extend to her first round opponent Sally Fitzgibbon when the two meet in the opening round of the Roxy Pro Hawaii starting on Saturday. The Roxy Pro Hawaii is the second last event on the ASP Women's World Tour and a win could hand the world title to Gilmore, who is currently leading the rankings title by just a little more then 500 points from Brazilian, Silvana Lima. However, an early exit could see the world title race head to the final event, the Billabong Girls Pro at Honolua Bay in Hawaii. Fitzgibbons, from Gerroa in NSW, decided a shot at the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach was more crucial than heading to South Australia to defend her under 18 Quiksilver Australian Junior Title. Ironically it was Fitzgibbons' success last year at the Junior Titles which ultimately secured her spot in the Sunset Beach Trials, which may begin on Friday, November 23. The Quiksilver Australian Junior Titles will take place at Victor Harbor, South Australia, from December 1-8. "It was a real hard decision whether to go for another Aussie title or give the Roxy Pro a go," said Fitzgibbons. "Having been in the Aussie titles for the past few years I went with Hawaii. Hopefully the decision pays off and it's all good in the end. "With just a couple of days to go and a big swell coming, the tension has started to build here. It's going to be amazing." Gilmore is in the box seat to create history: a top result at Sunset will see her become the first female surfer to win the ASP world title in her rookie year, but she knows the greatest threat can be a trialist like Fitzgibbons who has absolutely nothing to lose. "I was surprised when I saw myself as the number-one seed and straight away the term 'trialist' popped into my head," Gilmore said. "But if I am the number one seed and have to draw a wildcard at any event this year, then I would choose Sunset. "It really is the most challenging wave we will surf all year and overall I'm feeling good right now... really good." A win at Sunset would give the twin towns of Tweed Heads and Coolangatta a rare and unique double with the men's world champion residing in Tweed Heads and Gilmore living in Coolangatta.