The Roxy Pro Gold Coast's first day of action saw the world's best female surfers power through Round 1. Tricky afternoon conditions at Snapper proved tough for even the most seasoned of surfers.
Heat 2 featured Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Courtney Conlogue (USA), who have 11 years on Tour between them, and the highly anticipated matchup didn't disappoint. Fitzgibbons maintained a steady pace, catching as many waves as she could. Conlogue, meanwhile, remained more selective in her wave choice. With a variety of powerful carves late in the heat, she overtook Fitzgibbons with an excellent 8.70. But Fitzgibbons turned a last ditch-effort into a 9.23, which gave her a direct advance into Round 3.
"I tried to go into that first round nice and relaxed and feeling confident in my approach," Fitzgibbons â€‹said. "2015 is a new chapter for me. Heading into this next phase is about developing the things I'm passionate about."
Another key matchup pitted reigning six-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) against Silvana Lima (BRA), a long-time Tour veteran who fell off in 2013 due to injury and requalified for 2015. Last season, Lima dealt Gilmore her worst result of the year -- a Round 2 elimination at the Rio Women's Pro -- and was again relentless in her attack. The Brazilian pounced early, earning an 8.83 to put her competitors on their heels. Lima ramped up her down-the-line speed and earned a 9.33 to combo the field and take the win.
"I'm here for the fight and I go out into the water to do my best," said Limaâ€‹. "I feel confident Â100 percent, 1,000 percent, and I feel so great. This is the best surfing I've done in my life."
Rookie Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) was the standout surfer of the day, making the most of the crumbling waves with strong vertical snaps. Up against two-time World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) and Tour veteran Laura Enever (AUS), Weston-Webb unleashed a powerful backhand attack and led for the majority of the heat. In the dying moments, however, Moore regained composure and pulled off a dramatic tail-slide to take the win.
With the world's top two female surfers -- Gilmore, the Champ, and World No. 2 Tyler Wright (AUS) -- relegated to Round 2, plenty of drama will unfold when competition resumes. Watch all the action LIVE on the WSL homepage when competition resumes. Tune in to Dawn Patrol at 7:30 a.m. local time for the official call.