Steph eyes off surf triple crown
STEPHANIE Gilmore is in the box seat to add a Vans Triple Crown to her 2009 World Title.
The Billabong Pro Maui started on the first day of its holding period yesterday in pumping eight-foot surf with seven women in contention for the prestigious prize.
Gilmore came into the Billabong Pro trailing Hawaiian Alana Blanchard in the Triple Crown ratings, with Gidget Pro winner Carissa Moore, also of Hawaii trailing close behind.
While Gilmore, the defending champion, carved her way into the quarter finals by the end of day one with some impressive barrel riding and powerful turns, Blanchard and Moore bombed out in round three.
Gilmore, already this year’s World Champion, could pocket US$90,000 for winning the Billabong Pro, with a US$25,000 bonus if she comes out on top of the Triple Crown ratings.
The Kingscliff 21-year-old produced an impressive display of surfing as she progressed into a quarter final against Samantha Cornish, which could be held today.
Up against Alessa Quizon of Hawaii in round three, Gilmore was unstoppable, dropping in to a magnificent double barrel ride broken up with a powerful cutback for a first-wave score of 9.17.
She proceeded to pull into another barrel to chalk up a second big score of 9.63.
After the heat, Gilmore said she was just having fun getting barrelled.
“I am just so happy to be here in the most amazing waves we have had all year. The girls are charging and I just want to get barrelled, it is so good,” she said.
Also ripping in the contest is Australian Sally Fitzgibbons, who did Gilmore a favour by knocking Blanchard out in round three.
She posted a combined score of 16.40 to comprehensively beat Blanchard’s 10.26 and will meet Hawaiian Coco Ho in the quarter finals.
“It was a pretty amazing day,” Fitzgibbons said.
“We’ve woken up and it is the best Honolua I have seen. I have only been coming for two years now and it is my first year competing and I am pretty amazed to score my first year with it eight foot and pumping.”