Surfing queen Stephanie Gilmore has kick started her quest for a fourth consecutive world crown in perfect style by taking out the season-opening Roxy Pro at Snapper Rocks today.
In tricky 1m waves at the famous Gold Coast point break, the 22-year-old Australian powerhouse slaughtered 27-year-old Hawaiian veteran Melanie Bartels in the final and claimed her third Roxy Pro title.
Gilmore first won her hometown event as a 17-year-old wildcard in 2005 and claimed top honours again in 2009.
The defending event champion led from start to finish in the 30-minute decider, posting a solid 6.83 on her very first ride and later adding a 5.57 to give her a combined two-wave score of 12.40 out of a possible 20.
Bartels tried hard but never seriously challenged the champ, managing only a 6.33 and a 4.03 for a combined two-wave score of 10.36.
Gilmore claimed 1200 ratings points and a US$15,000 winner’s cheque, as well as ensuring she maintains her stranglehold on the world no.1 ranking heading into the second event of the ASP Women’s World Tour season, which kicks off at Bells Beach in Victoria on March 30.
Bartels, who finished 2009 ranked seventh, picked up 972 ratings points and US$9,000 for second place.
Hawaiian 18-year-old Coco Ho and Australian Chelsea Hedges (Tweed Heads, NSW) finished equal third, securing 756 ratings points and US$6,000 each, after going down to Gilmore and Bartels respectively in the semi-finals.