Newly-minted four-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, has taken out her 16th elite tour event today, defeating rookie sensation Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, in two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves in Porta Del Sol to claim the Rip Curl Women’s Search Pro Puerto Rico.
Event No. 7 of 8 on the 2010 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro Search Puerto Rico saw the historic clinching of Gilmore’s fourth, consecutive ASP Women’s World Title following her Quarterfinal victory earlier today, and the win over the young rookie to take out the event served as icing on the cake.
“I actually dreamed this one up last night,” Gilmore said. “Maybe I’m still dreaming. It’s been a monumental day for me. I mean, the best mindset to have in your heats is to be relaxed and calm, and after winning the title in the Quarters, I just felt really calm. So it worked out well and I think I actually surfed better after it was done and dusted.”
In challenging afternoon conditions, it was Gilmore who drew blood early on, locking in a near-perfect 9.80 out of a perfect 10 for a searing forehand assault on a rare clean righthander.
“I was just really fortunate that that wave cleaned up for me to do some damage on,” Gilmore said. “Even afterwards, I just couldn’t find a solid backup. Carissa (Moore) has been ripping all event long and she’s so dangerous. I was honored to be in the Final with her and to win it, just makes everything that much bigger.”
With her Runner-Up finish, Moore moves from 5th to 3rd on the 2010 ASP Women’s World Title Race, recording one of the most impressive rookie seasons in ASP history.
“Of course I wanted to win but to be in the Final with Steph (Gilmore) after she just accomplished what she did was really special,” Moore said. “I’m really thankful to be here in Puerto Rico – it’s beautiful and warm and really reminds me of home. I’m looking forward to heading back to Oahu to finish the season out.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 19, was one of the form surfers of the event, consistently notching the high single-wave and heat totals each round with unmatched power and ferocity. However, the young Australian was unable to halt a late charge from a rampaging Moore in their Semifinal bout.
“It’s disappointing to lose when you have a strong lead early on,” Fitzgibbons said. “That’s the way it goes sometimes. It’s been a strong event for me, but I’m still looking for that first win. That’s my goal for the next event in Hawaii and I want to finish strong to set me up well for a big year next season.”
Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 27, posted a solid Quarterfinal win over rookie Lee Ann Curren (FRA), 21, but was unable to stop eventual winner Gilmore in their Semifinal clash.
The next and final stop on the 2010 ASP Women’s World Tour will be the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach from November 24 through December 6, 2010.
While the women’s event has come to a close, the Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico featuring the world’s best surfers will look to recommence with Round 3 in the coming days.
Surfline, official forecaster for the Rip Curl Pro Puerto Rico, are calling for the NW/NNW becoming N swell to mix in with the lingering trade swell into tomorrow. Smaller, short period trade windswell is expected for Wednesday.
Photos credit : Cestari and Kirstin / ASP