Gilmore has strong start in Peru

KINGSCLIFF’S reigning world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore has cruised through the opening round of the Peru Classic, posting the day’s highest score.

Gilmore, the current No.1 on the ASP tour, has enjoyed plenty of success in South America, winning the past two Peru titles and signalled her intentions for a third from the outset.

The 21-year-old controlled her heat from the opening wave in clean one-metre conditions to net the highest heat total of the day, 14.44 out of a possible 20.

“I really enjoy this wave out here at Lobitos and surfing my backhand,” Gilmore said.

“I like it so I am excited to be straight through to round three.”

Home-town hero Sofia Mulanovich, current world No. 4, was another standout, utilising her years of experience at the break to advance.

“It is great to be competing at home,” Mulanovich said.

“Hopefully the waves get more consistent but I think it is going to be a good show for everyone.”

Brazilian Silvana Lima, the world No. 2, survived a closely-fought affair before edging past Australian Samantha Cornish and Peruvian wildcard Anali Gomez.

While top seeds took out five of the six round one heats, world No.5, Hawaiian Melanie Bartels, was relegated to the elimination round by in-form Australian Rebecca Woods and 19-year-old Dream Tour rookie Alana Blanchard.

Tweed’s Chelsea Hedges also made it through to round three.

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