Stephanie Gilmore
Stephanie Gilmore

Gilmore comes out on top

STEPH Gilmore is the greatest woman surfer in the World.

The Kingscliff Queen of Surfing absolutely smashed the opposition in the final event of the ASP World women’s tour by taking out the Billabong Pro at Honolua Bay, Maui, for the third consecutive year.

Gilmore finished the year as she began in winning form – from Snapper Rocks in March to taking out the Triple Crown – as well as pocketing a total of US$41,000 in the last month’s Hawaiian haul – more than she had won competing all year.

“I couldn’t be happier, Maui has been incredible and to win the event three times in a row is just awesome,” a super-stoked Steph said.

“Winning the World title and Triple Crown, it’s definitely one of the biggest accolades in professional surfing.”

If there were any regrets on her part, Steph conceded after claming the world title with a third at Sunset Beach for the Gidget Pro last month, that she hadn’t won enough events; but the win at Maui was truly significant. Her main rival the super-talented fireball from Brazil, Silvanna Lima, who had won two WCT’s, was always in range, but ran hot and cold compared to Gilmore’s consistency.

Lima scored a perfect 10 for a deep barrel ride in the opening round at Honolua Bay and that seemed to inspire Steph in the quarters with a perfect 10 and a 9.67, registering the highest heat score of the year – 19.67 out of 20.

Lima fought off a close quarter with 17-year-old Hawaiian whiz-kid Carissa Moore, but then lost to 2004 WC champ Sofia Mulanovich in the semis.

Next year’s ASP Women’s World Tour will be brimming with new talent like Carissa Moore, the ever improving Coco Ho (rookie of the year), and the potent Sally Fitzgibbons.

There’s no doubt the bar has been raised in women’s surfing, and once again Steph will be the one to beat in 2010.

THE final Hawaiian showdown couldn’t be scripted any better than a Hollywood movie for the much-anticipated men’s worldtitle.

The 28-year-old Coolangatta friends and foes alike, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson, will be duking it out for the final event of the year, the Billabong Pipeline Masters from this week, and when the dust settles either one will be the 2009 ASP world champion.

This is Joel’s to win and Mick’s to lose.

Fanning can claim victory with a 17th – to ninth if Joel bombs out – but more importantly, Joel can snatch victory by winning the Pipe and Mick finishing third or worse.

This is exactly what happened at Sunset Beach for the O’Neil Cup final 6 star WQS event of the year with Parko notching up his third win at Sunset and Mick finishing in third in the four-man final.

The only difference here is that Pipe will be man-on-man, and if both the Coolangatta contenders make the Pipeline Masters Final, Mick will win his second World title even if Joel wins at Pipe.

Parkinson is now looking odds-on to win his second consecutive Hawaiian Triple Crown.

Despite who finishes on top, this will be a shining moment for Australians in Hawaii, and basically reclaiming the prestige of being the world’s best surfers on theplanet.

Back in 1966, Australian surf journo John Witzig inflamed the surfing world by saying: “We’re Tops Now!” after Nat Young won his first world title in San Diego, California.

Well folks, as much as Kelly would hate to hear this, we can categorically and unequivocally state that, “We’re Tops Again!”

THIS is turning into a massive Hawaiian swell season co-inciding with the 40th anniversary of the 1969 epic swell.

They say if you can remember the 60s, you weren’t really there!

Well I can tell you I was there as a young 16-year-old on the North Shore, and believe me I will never forget that trip!

This year’s Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay had to be one of the most epic big-wave events ever seen, with 30,000 spectators, some of whom slept the night there to avoid the traffic and crowds for beachside seats; and they weren’t disappointed with a 20-to-30ft swell that pulsed at the end of the day with two perfect 10-point rides – one for the eventual winner Greg Long of California, and Chile’s Ramon Navarro.

Eddie Aikau was the first official Waimea Bay Lifeguard and descendant of an Hawaiian Kahuna priest.

He would surf up to eight hours a day when Waimea was on.

Unfortunately he disappeared at sea after an outrigger canoe voyage between islands went horribly wrong. Aikau set off by himself to find help while the crew clung to the sinking vessel, but were miraculously saved an hour after Eddie paddled for the nearest island. He was never found, hence the origin of the “Eddie would go” motto.

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