Final Four: Drug Aware Pro down to the wire
Drug Aware Pro
ASP Men’s Prime Event
ASP Women’s WCT Event
Surfers Point, Margaret River, Western Australia
16 – 24 March, 2013
Semi Finalists Decided at Women's WCT Drug Aware Margaret River Pro
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 22 March, 2013 : - - Whilst the swell dropped, the cream rose to the top, as event officials ran the Women's Quarterfinals at Surfer's Point Margaret River this morning. The final eight women faced tough conditions with waves in the 4 foot range as light onshore winds made wave selection difficult, but critical.
In a blockbuster first Quarterfinal match up, reigning World Champion Stephanie Gilmore got the better of two-time Margaret River winner Courtney Conlogue. Gilmore appeared to benefit from better wave selection, surfing strongly on her forehand to put together two scores in the tricky conditions. Despite holding priority through the last four minutes of the heat and only needing a 5.77, Conlogue could not find a decent wave and her record-matching run toward three wins in a row at Margaret River came to an end.
“I was glad the surf was like this as Courtney looked unbeatable in the great conditions yesterday,” said Gilmore after her win. “I have now matched my result from the first event on the Gold Coast so making the final from here would be a bonus.”
It was Conlogue’s first ever heat loss at Margaret River as she had previously gone through undefeated when winning the title here in both 2011 and 2012. The three-in-a-row record held by local Melanie Redmann-Carr is safe for a few more years now at least.
In the second Quarterfinal, 2011 World Champion Carissa Moore dominated her contest against fellow Hawaiian Coco Ho. Quickly putting together two high scoring waves (including an 8 point ride), Moore seemed to handle the tough conditions better than Ho, who struggled to find a scoring wave until the last minute of the heat. Moore was happy with her win post-heat, admitting that having a local board rider for her caddy had given her an advantage.
Sally Fitzgibbons © ASP/Robertson
“It is always tough to surf against a really good friend from home,” explained Moore. “I am glad to go through to the semis as the swell is going to be great on the weekend.” The first Semifinal will be a classic meeting between Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore, with Moore being the only surfer to take a world title off Gilmore over the past six years.
On the other side of the Women’s draw, world number 2 Sally Fitzgibbons also progressed through to the Semifinals with a dominant win over young Hawaiian Alana Blanchard. The Australian was super busy in the Mainbreak lineup, recording a number of solid scores and taking out the best ride of the day with an 8.67 to easily win her final (15.40 to 4.77).
“It was challenging out there, but it was really contestable. I had my eyes on the left, but the rights just kept coming my way,” said Fitzgibbons, who has the advantage of 2009 Men’s Margaret River Champion Dan Ross in her camp for advice. “I got up at 5am this morning and got out there to get a feel for how the ocean was connecting which I think really helped.”
Fitzgibbons will face fellow New South Wales girl Tyler Wright in the other Semifinal, a replay of the classic Final from the first World Championship stop earlier this month at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast. In that Final, 18-year-old Wright got the win thanks to a last minute wave, again relegating Fitzgibbons to the runner-up position.
Wright progressed from her Quarterfinal meeting with New Zealander Paige Hareb, scoring a beautiful 8 point ride for her last wave in the final minutes of the heat to stamp the victory. “Snapper was great and I was lucky to win in the last 15 seconds,” said Wright in a post win interview. “I am super excited to make the finals here, it is a different break and is going to be fun to go against Sally again.”
As the newly added stop number 2 of 8 on the ASP Women's World Championship Tour, the Women’s Finals at 2013 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro will have an important bearing on who the early favourites will be for the 2013 ASP Women's World Title. The Semifinal contenders at Margaret River are a repeat of the four who made the Semifinals on the Gold Coast, as Gilmore, Fitzgibbons, Wright and Moore begin to separate themselves from the Top 17 pack.
A new ground swell is expected to fill in as the day continues with the Men’s second round action. Contest organisers are predicting the swell will increase to over the 6 foot mark later this afternoon. The forecast for the weekend continues to look great with the swell peaking at over 3.5m on Saturday (8 to 10 foot plus) and holding in around the 3m mark (6 to 8 foot) for the final day on Sunday.
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WOMEN’S QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.93 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 8.34
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.17 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 1.86
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.40 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 4.77
QF 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.17 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.74
WOMEN’S SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS:
SF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Carissa Moore (HAW)
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
# 1 : Margaret River locals get into ASP trials
# 2 : Paterson & Palmateer rule Drug Aware trials
# 3 : Tough day for champions at Margaret River
# 4 : Gilmore fires Day 2 of Drug Aware Pro
# 5 : Swell waits, and so does Drug Aware Pro
# 6 : Women's quarterfinalists decided at Drug Aware
Source: Drug Aware
Author: Jason Dover
Tags: Margaret River Pro, ASP Prime Events, Trialists