Roxy Women's Surf Festival

26 Jan 2007 0 Share

Roxy Pro Phillip Island : Stephanie Gilmore is through to the semi finals and she's looking good to defend her Roxy title here at Phillip Island.

Roxy Pro Phillip Island : Stephanie Gilmore is through to the semi finals and she's looking good to defend her Roxy title here at Phillip Island.

The world's best surfers were forced to battle strong rips and tricky conditions at Woolamai Beach today as they vied for quarter final berths in the blue ribbon WQS division of the Roxy Women's Surf Festival in Victoria.

Superior wave selection was the key factor in the draining left-handers and world-rated number seven Claire Bevilacqua (City Beach, W.A, AUS) had no trouble picking off two of the days better waves for a convincing win over defending event champion Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, NSW, AUS).

Twenty-three year-old Bevilacqua remained unfazed by the threat of Gilmore during the 30 minute encounter, turning on a confident backhand attack to lock in solid scores of 7.83 and 7.17, to finish with a heat total of 15.00 points.

Gilmore progressed in second on 12.90 points, with America's Kyla Langen eliminated in third from the three surfer heat.

"I love 'sucky lefts' like today," said the West Australian. "I told my self I had to go out there and kill Steph. She surfs so strong, is so consistent and the judges love her surfing. I knew I had to come out on the attack and that's what I did."

Gilmore is still looking to regain her unbeatable form of 2006 where she claimed victory in both the WQS and the U/20 junior girls without dropping a heat. Today the 18 year-old did manage the heat’s best individual wave score of 8.67 but failed to capitalise upon it with a strong second scoring ride.

"It took until the halfway mark until I finally found my position out there and got that left," said Gilmore. "The conditions really changed in the heat so it was hard to read but I managed to get through so it’s all right."

Gilmore will have to pick up the pace when she next meets 2004 World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) in the quarter finals. The Peruvian showed the same tactical cool of yesterday to advance from round six along with world-rated number two Melanie Redman-Carr (Dunsborough, W.A.). The pair ended the notable run of ASP Australasian junior champion Airini Mason (NZ) who was eliminated in third.

Mulanovich posting a heat total of 12.67 to Redman-Carr’s 12.50. Mason failing to find any solid rides to finish on 7.16 and place an impressive equal 9th overall in the 5 star rated event.

The Roxy Women’s Surfing Festival is Australia’s biggest celebration of women’s surfing bringing together a huge cross section of participants contesting seven divisions.

The Festival is based at Woolamai Beach but mobile for the best quality surf on the island. While the water may be colder for most, there is a choice of nearly 20 quality breaks, depending on conditions, with contestants ready to surf a variety of reef, point and beach breaks.

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