Gilmore keeps teenage pair at bay in NZ

KINGCLIFF’S Stephanie Gilmore, 22, survived a tight round one bout against rookie Carissa Moore (Hawaii), 17, and wildcard Sarah Mason (NZ), 15, to advance to round three of the TSB Bank Women’s Surfing Festival at Taranaki yesterday.

Despite her younger opponents opening up with solid scores, the reigning three-time ASP women’s world champion answered back with her patented blend of hi-fi surfing to take the win.

“It was a slow one for me but I’m happy to have found a rhythm eventually,” Gilmore said.

“The young ones (Moore and Mason) started off really strong. They’re both very good surfers and very confident. Fortunately, I composed myself towards the end and managed to put up a few good scores but everyone is a threat these days.

“I don’t view rookies or wildcards any different than the other girls on tour. Anyone can win a heat at anytime.”

Australia’s Sally Fitzgibbons, 19, the world No.5, proved the form surfer of the day, lighting up the offshore righthanders to the tune of 17.26 out of a possible 20. Coco Ho (Hawaii), 18, the 2009 rookie of the year, was another dominant surfer, besting Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, and Amee Donohoe (AUS), 29, to take out the opening heat of the morning.

Paige Hareb (NZ), 19, New Zealand’s only representative in the elite division, sent the hundreds in attendance into a frenzy when she posted an excellent 9.00 out of a possible 10 for unloading on a running righthander with a barrage of backhand blasts. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 22, into her fourth year amongst the elite, is surfing better than ever this year and posted some excellent scores as she looks for a season-best finish.

Organisers hope for a 7.30am start today.



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