Roxy Pro Gold Coast: ASP Top 17 prepare for explosive showdown
The start to the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour is less than two weeks from commencing and the world’s best surfers are gearing up for an assault on one of the world’s best waves.
“Second time around, the title has definitely sunk in quicker and having experienced the process that follows winning a world title this time last year, I’ve really been able to enjoy the attention, rather than be overwhelmed,” Stephanie Gilmore said. “This season feels great. After the celebrations settled down mid-January, everything is now completely fresh and I’m really utilizing my time at home to get stuck into some training and surfing the Snapper and D’Bah as much as possible.”
Despite possessing a wealth of local experience at her homebreak of Snapper Rocks, Gilmore’s track record at the opening event of the year has been less than stellar since claiming victory as a wildcard in 2005.
“Having bad results here the last two years hasn’t ever affected my year-end result so I’m quite at ease with the first event,” Gilmore said. “However, in saying that, not having done well here since 2005, I’m really going to push myself to be on top of my preparation and equipment, carrying nothing less than a win in my mind.”
Absent from this year’s competition will be former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, who announced her retirement from full-time competition at the end of last season. Even without the threat of a well-rounded veteran such as Beachley, Gilmore confesses that 2009’s rookie class will bring challenges of their own.
“I feel about 40-years older than the new rookies (haha),” Gilmore said. “But I think all the girls will put on some great performances at Snapper and create some exciting new rivalries within the tour. I think Sally Fitzgibbons will have a very mature, well-rounded approach to her rookie year. Coco Ho and Alana Blanchard will bring some upsets as well.”
Gilmore will face Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 22, and the winner of the Roxy Pro Trials in Round 1 of competition when the Roxy Pro Gold Coast commences.
Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, defending Roxy Pro Gold Coast Champion and current ASP World No. 3, is excited to return to the Gold Coast and aims for a repeat performance to kick off her 2009 ASP Women’s World Title campaign.
“The gold coast is such a cool place and the waves there are super fun,” Mulanovich said. “It is for sure really important to start the year with a good result so I hope for a good result at Snapper.”
Mulanovich, who claimed her historic ASP Women’s World Title in 2004, has been a consistent Top 5 finisher ever since, but has yet to reclaim her place at the top of the ASP Top 17.
“Well, my goal is always the ASP Women’s World Title, but it just keeps getting harder and harder with the new talent on tour,” Mulanovich said. “I have been just surfing lots and I hope to have a good year full of achievements and fun.”
Mulanovich will face former ASP Women’s World Champion Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 25, and 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Coco Ho (HAW), 18, in Round 1 of competition when the Roxy Pro Gold Coast commences.
Stephanie Gilmore, newly-crowned two-time ASP Women’s World Champion, defeated Melanie Bartels to claim her second consecutive Billabong Pro Maui in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves on offer at Ho’okipa Beach Park.
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 20, will be surfing for his third year on the ASP World tour in 2009 and seems to be more relaxed than ever. He talked with us about the world tour, superstar Kelly Slater and a lot of other things.
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