STEPHANIE Gilmore (above right) and Chelsea Georgeson going head-to-head in the Roxy Pro.
STEPHANIE Gilmore (above right) and Chelsea Georgeson going head-to-head in the Roxy Pro.

Surfing stars take to Snapper swells

By ED SOUTHORN

SURFING'S Tweed golden girls - Stephanie Gilmore and Chelsea Georgeson - reckon the Snapper Rocks Roxy Pro contest is just about the best surfing event in the world.

Stephanie, last year's winner, yesterday joked that Chelsea, the current women's world champion, was her tip to win this year.

Chelsea said exactly the same thing about Stephanie.

The girls are good mates but they are scheduled to surf against each other in round one of the contest, which could start tomorrow morning.

Chelsea, 22, who has finished third in the Snapper Rocks contest for the past two years, said it was "one of the best, if not the best" professional surfing event anywhere.

"The location is incredible, the waves have great barrels and allow the full repertoire of surfing and it's perfect for spectators," she said.

"I know the men's event at Pipe (in Hawaii) is pretty good, but there is only so many people they can fit on the beach there. This place right here is amazing."

Stephanie, who turned 18 in January, denied she was feeling any pressure to repeat her surprise win as a wild card entrant last year.

"I've really got nothing to lose, there's no points at stake for me, I'm just going out there to have fun."

Event co-ordinator Matt Wilson said officials would make a decision about 7.30am (NSW) tomorrow on when to start the contest.

He said the Roxy Pro and the men's Quiksilver Pro will be run concur- rently and it had not yet been decided if the men or women would surf first.

Whoever wins their first round clash, Chelsea and Stephanie could meet again later in the week in round three.

Both girls grinned as they watched a four-foot swell pour across the Snapper "Superbank" yesterday. The swell is expected to hang around.

The big difference for Stephanie and Chelsea ? and the other competitors ? is that when they are surfing in the contest this week, the huge crowd of recreational surfers which always crowds the "Superbank" and was out in force yesterday will be missing.

Stephanie finished her HSC last year, is competing full-time this year on the World Qualifying Circuit and is expected to join the World Championship Tour in 2007.



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