Stephanie Gilmore Claims Billabong Pro Maui and Vans Triple Crown
HONOLUA BAY, Maui/Hawaii – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, took out the final stop on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour today, the Billabong Pro Maui, in clean four-to-six foot (1.5 metre) conditions at the iconic pointbreak of Honolua Bay over Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 26, clinching her third consecutive Billabong Pro Maui title after three years of competition at the premier event. Gilmore wrapped up her dominating season amongst the Top 17 by claiming her second consecutive Vans Triple Crown title today as well.
Gilmore capped the year off in appropriate form after claiming her third ASP Women’s World Title at the Gidget Pro Sunset Beach, when she advanced over Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, in the Semifinals, en route to defending her flawless record at the Billabong Pro Maui while claiming the prized Hawaiian specialty series and the beefed up $25,000 prize purse supplied by Vans.
“Once again, Maui has just been incredible and to win this event three times in a row is just awesome,” Gilmore said. “I couldn’t have been happier with the way things have gone today. Winning the Vans Triple Crown is definitely up there with winning the World Title and it’s definitely one of the biggest accolades of surfing professionally. I can’t believe it’s all happening again, it’s awesome.”
Gilmore absolutely dominated the day’s proceedings, blitzing the highest heat total of the entire 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour season by surfing a near-perfect heat of 19.67 out of 20 to usurp Samantha Cornish (AUS), 29, in her Quarterfinals heat before topping Fitzgibbons and Mulanovich en route to her second ASP Women’s World Tour win of 2009.
“I guess it’s a little surprising,” Gilmore said. “I would have thought that the highest heat total would have gone down yesterday with all of the barrels. Today there are still some rippable waves out there, but I don’t know. I just went surfing.”
Mulanovich campaigned through a lengthy day of competition, topping Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 23, Australian veteran Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, and ASP Women’s World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA), 25, but was unable to top Gilmore for the victory and claimed a runner-up finish at the final event of the year to finish her season ASP Women’s World No. 3.
“It’s been a great day,” Mulanovich said. “Congratulations to Steph (Gilmore). She’s a champ and a hero to all of us and thanks to the sponsors of the event and my family and friends. It’s been a great event.”
Fitzgibbons navigated the Honolua Bay lineup with poise and maturity beyond her years and posted some amazing scores before falling in her Semifinals bout against Gilmore, but clinched an impressive heat victory over Coco Ho (HAW), 18, in the Quarterfinals on the way to her third place finish.
“I always love surfing heats with Coco (Ho),” Fitzgibbons said. “She always pushes my level up and I usually have my best heats with her. She’s also a really great friend. I wish there were more waves so we could have dueled a little bit more. She surfed amazing this year and my hat goes off to her.”
Lima, who smashed one of two perfect 10-point rides during the Billabong Pro Maui with amazing barrel riding in yesterday’s action, was in stellar form for the final day of competition, but was overtaken by former Peruvian ASP Women’s World Champion, Mulanovich, in the dying minutes of their Semifinals heat, taking a third place finish to wrap up her year while finishing ASP Women’s World No. 2 for 2009.
“The waves were a lot smaller than yesterday, but it was still good,” Lima said. “Sometimes the heats were slow, but the conditions were still great.”
Billabong Pro Maui presented by Hawaiian Airlines Final:
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 18.00
2 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.17