By BOB ANTHONY and AAP
LOCAL surf duo Chelsea Georgeson-Hedges and Stephie Gilmore set the early running after day one of the Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks.
But while the close friends set the highest heat scores of the opening round yesterday, their efforts were overshadowed by the feat of wildcard 14-year-old Hawaiian Carissa Moore.
Moore, who won through to the main event after claiming her spot by winning the Roxy Pro trials on Monday, came up against seven-time world champion Layne Beachley in a baptism of fire in heat three yesterday, and showed she wasn't about to be overawed by the sense of occasion.
The diminutive teenager outscored her seasoned opponents in Beachley and Brazilian Jacqueline Silva, registering 15.00 points for her best two rides. Beachley scored 12.37 while Silva finished third with 10.16.
Beachley's second was enough to get her through to the third round, but she must be having nightmares about wildcards, after Gilmore knocked her out of the Roxy Pro in 2005.
"It wasn't really a great way to start the year," Beachley said.
"I don't know whether I'm too relaxed or just exhausted, but either way, I'm not putting on a good show and I need to step it up to keep up with these teenagers.
"I can't take anything away from Carissa Moore. She surfed well, her wave selection was impeccable and her heat strategy for a 14-year-old was just well and truly beyond her years.
"I'm really proud of her and I'm looking forward to coming up against her again."
Beachley held the early lead, but wildcard Moore blew the door open mid-heat with a 7.83 wave score and quickly backed up with a 7.17 to dominate the second half of the 30-minute match-up.
Moore was delighted but keen to play down the heat win.
"It's not that big of a deal that I won, I just had fun surfing against Layne," she said. "I think Snapper is the perfect wave and it's my dream come true just to be here."
Earlier in the day, Georgeson-Hedges showed she would be a force to be reckoned with after posting the highest score of round one with 18.40 in an aggressive display of surfing in the small but clean Snapper waves.
Having won the world championship in 2005, she is looking to get her 2007 campaign off to a flyer, easily accounting for French woman Caroline Sarran and Hawaiian Rochelle Ballard and looked extremely focused in the one metre-plus waves yesterday.
"I think that local advantage has proven itself over the last few years," Georgeson-Hedges said.
"You can read which wave to take off on and you have extra confidence too.
"My last wave had a nice open face and I did one hit off the top and then it walled up again and again. I got off a little floater on the inside and then it walled up again. I don't really remember my whole wave, but ... it was fun!"
In the final heat of the first round, Gilmore overcame a sluggish start to show good consistency when she needed to, posting a combined total of 17.40 ? the second highest of the round ? ahead of fellow Australians Rebecca Woods and Claire Bevilacqua.
"I feel like I have some tour-time up my sleeve, so I guess that's an important thing if I want to do well in an event," Gilmore said.
"Chelsea's really hungry, I can see it in her surfing.
"She's my favourite female surfer. She's always improving. Chelsea is my pick for this event."