Hedges Lays Down Gauntlet on Opening Day Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach

Mars 30, 2010 @ 19:16:22   Foto ASP (C) COVERED IMAGES


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BELLS BEACH, Victoria/Australia - The opening two rounds of the Rip Curl Women's Pro presented by Ford Fiesta were completed today in punchy two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves breaking through the "Rincon" section of the point at Bells Beach.

The second stop on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour, the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach plays a vital role in surfers setting their respective seasons up as they track down requalification points and the all-important ASP Women's World Title.

Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 26, former ASP Women's World Champion (2005), was the form surfer of the day, lighting up the lumpy afternoon righthanders with precision and speed on her backhand, collecting the day's high heat total of a 17.20 out of a possible 20.

"It was good fun," Hedges said. "Rincon when the tide comes off a bit it can be pretty fun, backside you can hook it a bit more. I just watched Silvana's heat before and she helped me out you know - she surfed so fast, so it was good to watch her before I went out."

After taking a sabbatical from full-time competition in 2008, Hedges has steadily re-built her position as one of the best female surfers in the world. Coming off a big win at the ASP 6-Star event in Western Australia last week, the momentum is soundly behind the powerful goofy-footer.

"I haven't won a contest for a while so that winning last week got me pumped up," Hedges said. "I got that feeling back again. So coming up to Bells, it was a perfect start. I'm taking each heat as it comes and trying to build momentum throughout the contest."

Hedges will face Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 22, in Round 3 when competition resumes.

Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, 2009 ASP Women's World Runner-Up, was in sensational form this afternoon, acquiring an impressive 16.50 out of a possible 20 for a series of blistering forehand turns.

"It's an amazing result for me for sure," Lima said. "I really like these conditions. It's pretty similar from Brazil, bumpy and I got two great waves and it's so good to make it straight to Round 3."

After posting an emphatic victory at the 2009 installment of the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach, Lima is one of the event favorites.

"I'm defending champion here this year and I have a lot to live up to," Lima said. "I'm going to the next round and hoping that things continue to go well for me."

Lima will take on 2010 ASP Women's World Tour rookie Nikita Robb (ZAF), 21, when Rip Curl Women's Pro competition continues.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, reigning three-time ASP Women's World Champion and current ASP Women's World No. 1, continued her fantastic roll today, with a big win in Round 1 despite challenging conditions.

"We went on hold right before my heat and when we restarted it was still a bit inconsistent," Gilmore said. "I didn't really put up a decent score until halfway through the heat and I was hunting a backup until the last few minutes. It's a good start for me and I'm just focusing on one heat at a time."

A former two-time winner at the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach, Gilmore will be looking improve upon last season's Runner-Up finish when she lost a hard-fought Final to Lima.

"Definitely looking to go one better this season," Gilmore said. "Every year gets more challenging and the level of surfing seems to increase with each event."

Gilmore will battle Trials Winner and event wildcard Tyler Wright (AUS), 15, in Round 3 of the Rip Curl Women's Pro.

When competition resumes, up first will be Coco Ho (HAW), 18, and Lee Ann Curren (FRA), 20, in the opening heat of Round 3.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am for a possible 8am start.

Highlights from today's Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Fiesta will be available via www.live.ripcurl.com

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by SNICKERS, featuring the ASP Top 45, has been called off for the day.

Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 7.67, Carissa Moore (HAW) 6.17, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 5.44
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW) 11.00, Paige Hareb (NZL) 7.67, Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 7.20
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.77, Tyler Wright (AUS) 10.00, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 9.20
Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA) 16.50, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 10.67, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 9.17
Heat 5: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 12.20, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.56, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 11.20
Heat 6: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 17.20, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 12.27, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 7.80

Heat 1: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 10.17, Nikita Robb (ZAF) 8.37, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 7.20
Heat 2: Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 12.60, Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 11.34, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 10.16


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