Lay Day for TSB Bank Surfing Festival, ASP Top 17 Ready for Taranaki
FITZROY BEACH, Taranaki/New Zealand - With small one-to-two foot (0.5 metre) waves on offer at Fitzroy Beach this morning, event organizers at the TSB Bank Women's Surfing Festival have called a lay day.
Event No. 3 on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour, the TSB Bank Surfing Festival will not run today, but the projected surf on offer for the week looks promising.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, reigning three-time ASP Women's World Champion and current ASP Women's World No. 1, has been on a tear in 2010, claiming the opening two events of the season on the Gold Coast and at Bells Beach. However, despite her unmatched start, the young Australian admits that a new venue could change everything.
"This is the first time there's ever been a women's event in Taranaki and that can be a game changer," Gilmore said. "None of us, aside from Paige (Hareb), are too familiar with the wave and that means that it's anyone's game. Looks like we're in for some swell too so it should be an exciting event. I can't wait."
Gilmore will face highly-touted rookie Carissa Moore (HAW), 17, and the winner of today's trials.
Coco Ho (HAW), 18, 2009 ASP Women's World Tour Rookie of the Year and current ASP Women's World No. 5, is another standout performer on this year's ASP Dream Tour, and the prodigious Hawaiian is now making at run at the ASP Women's World Title."
"I guess you can say that now I'm not a rookie, I have expectations now," Ho said. "When I make mistakes in heats, it hurts that much more. With a new event, I'd have to say the usual suspects are the best at adapting - Steph (Gilmore), Sally (Fitzgibbons), Carissa (Moore) and Silvana (Lima). New venues are fun! I mean none of us went to Portugal before last year and that was my best result of the season. So I'm just looking at it that way."
With the dominance of Gilmore over the past three seasons, the ability to win events has been a major indicator of which surfers have a chance at the crown. Ho's rookie year victory in Portugal of 2009 confirmed her place amongst this group.
"It felt amazing to win in Portugal," Ho said. "Then watching the rest of the year and the start of this one, and seeing how hard it is for someone else to win gave me that much more confidence. Finishing 4th is a pretty high seed, but I've meet the 5th seed, Sally Fitzgibbons in both Quarterfinals this season, and she's definitely my toughest competitor and always gets me to push my limits. So it's tough, but the draw kind of changes for this event so should be exciting."
Ho will take on Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, and Amee Donohoe (AUS), 30, in the opening heat of the TSB Bank Women's Surf Festival.
TSB BANK WOMEN'S SURF FESTIVAL ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Amee Donohoe (AUS)
Heat 2: Melanie Bartels (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL), Lee Ann Curren (FRA)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Carissa Moore (HAW), TBA
Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Nikita Robb (ZAF)
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 6: Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Bruna Schmitz (BRA)