Roxy Pro could decide ASP Women's World Title

In addition to being the second of three stops on the 2008 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, the upcoming Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach carries the added weight of potentially crowning the 2008 ASP Women’s World Champion.

Layne Beachley.  Copyright: ASP Kirstin / Covered ImagesStephanie Gilmore (AUS), 20, reigning ASP Women’s World Champion and current No. 1 on the ASP Women’s World Tour, regained the ratings lead in her hunt for her second crown following a dramatic victory at the last Dream Tour event in Peru.

“It was very excited to come back into the ratings lead in Peru where Sofia (Mulanovich) had a big home court advantage,” Gilmore said. “Obviously she was hurt and she’ll probably be on the mend and in form in Hawaii. Last year, I didn’t have the best result at Sunset so I’ve been surfing out there as much as I can to prepare.”

If Gilmore is able to claim the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach, Mulanovich would need to make the Final (4th or better) to stay in the hunt and Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, would be out of the running. If Gilmore finishes 2nd at Sunset Beach, Mulanovich needs at least an equal 7th and Beachley would need a victory for a Maui showdown. If Gilmore finishes 5th or better, Beachley must finish at least one step ahead to bring the ASP Women’s World Title showdown to Maui.

“I’m not really thinking about the ratings, but more so putting in a good performance in Hawaii,” Gilmore said. “Both Sofia and Layne are tremendous surfers out here in Hawaii, both at Sunset and in Maui, and you can’t count them out here. Hopefully we get some good surf and are able to have a great event.”

Gilmore will battle Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 21, and a Trialist in Round 1 of the Roxy Pro.

Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, former ASP Women’s World Champion and current No. 2 on the ASP Women’s World Tour, is the defending Roxy Pro Champion in at Sunset Beach and is recovering foot injury sustained while competing in Sydney.

“My foot is feeling much better – I don’t feel 100%, but I am feeling much stronger,” Mulanovich said. “I love surfing in Hawaii and Sunset was really good to me last year. I am just going to take it heat by heat and focus on my surfing.”

Mulanovich will face Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 22, Karina Petroni (USA), 20, and a Trialist in Round 1 of the Roxy Pro.

Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion and current No. 3 on the ASP Women’s World Tour, is into her last full season as an ASP Dream Tour competitor, announcing her retirement effective at the end of 2008, but is still hungry to finish on a high note.

“I still have that hunger in me and I still want to perform and I want to win,” Beachley said. “Hawaii has always been good to me and I would love nothing more than to finish the year with a win or two.”

Beachley is also the highest-placing Dream Tour competitor on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing following last week’s ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Reef Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa. Beachley finished runner-up in Haleiwa and

“I think the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Title is second only to the ASP Women’s World Title,” Beachley said. “I’m still in the running for both and I’m hoping to capitalize at the last two events.”

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