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2009 a golden year for Mick, Steph and Rip Curl team

Stephanie Gilmore : photo ASP/CI by Scholtz via Getty Images

Team News

Men and Women's world titles

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 21 December, 2009 : - - The 2009 ASP World Tour season will be remembered as the Rip Curl Surf Team's most successful year ever, with golden results here, there and everywhere across the guy's and girl's tours. The headline act was obviously the dual ASP World Title crowning of Australians Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore.

For Gilmore, 21, the title was her third consecutive crown in only her third year competing the ASP Women's World Tour - one more record for her ever-growing achievement book.

The smiling assassin finished off her consistent season in emphatic fashion in Hawaii. After finishing runner-up to Rip Curl team mate Alana Blanchard at the Vans Pro Haleiwa WQS, she then claimed the world title with a third place finish at the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach and won the final contest of the season in perfect waves at Maui's Honolua Bay to grab the Vans Triple Crown title as well.

“It’s surreal to win for a third time,” Gilmore said. “It’s amazing! I just want to thank everyone for the support that I’ve had throughout the whole year.”Fanning, 28, joined Gilmore on top of the world after he outlasted good friend Joel Parkinson at the Billabong Pipeline Masters to claim his second ASP World Title.

Fanning, who won the 2007 ASP World Title with a record-breaking year, pulled off one of surfing's best come-from-behind title victories this year, after being put on the back foot early when Parkinson won three of the first five contests. Although he lodged consistent results in the first half of the year, Mick rallied in the second half, winning three of the final five events, while Joel faltered with a third and four 17ths.

“This title was way more fun,” Fanning said. “I was much more relaxed for this one!"

Hawaiian Kekoa Bacalso, 24, was a traveling partner for Fanning this year and obviously used the experience to spur an amazing first year on Tour. "Bam" racked up a host of strong results and then sealed the ASP Rookie of the Year award in Hawaii.

Bacalso got the world's attention in 2006 when he won the ASP World Junior Title in Australia, but this year proved he also has the skills and surf sense to be a long time player on the elite level. Many people draw comparisons to Hawaiian veteran Sunny Garcia, because of their power in the water and strong will to win, but it's Kekoa's fun-loving approach to life that won him even more fans this year.

“I’m super stoked to win this award,” Bacalso said. “My main goal coming into this season was to finish within the Top 27, so to claim the Rookie of the Year award is a bonus and I wasn’t expecting it. I've had a lot of fun!" Rip Curl will have two fresh faces joining Mick and Kekoa on the Men's Dream Tour in 2010, with Owen Wright and Matt Wilkinson both enjoying break-out seasons on the ASP World Qualifying Series to qualify for next year.

Wilkinson, 21, sealed his fate with a strong finish at Sunset Beach in Hawaii and will bring a new level of excitement to the Tour.

Wright, 19, was the hottest name in surfing this year, stunning the world with his contest results and freesurfing exploits. In a competition vest, Wright was in a class of his own all year - finishing fourth overall on the WQS ratings (despite missing the final month of competition due to injury), racking up fifth and third place results in two ASP World Tour events as a Wildcard (Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and Rip Curl Pro Search Portugal - in both of which he eliminated Reynolds and Kelly Slater in the early rounds) and went undefeated in the Australasian Pro Junior ranks.

"I've had a great year, but now I'm really excited to be on the World Tour in 2010. I can't wait to be surfing against guys like Mick and Parko every event!"

Rounding out Rip Curl's strong showing on the WQS this year was 2006 ASP Rookie of the Year Jess Miley-Dyer. The Sydney girl struggled a little in World Tour events this year, but was stellar on the WQS for the third year running. She finished second overall and will be sure to take that momentum into 2010.

On behalf of Rip Curl across the globe - Merry Xmas and bring on 2010!

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Dane Sharp

Team - Surfersvillage


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