Port Taranaki Pro NZ Home Loans Surf Festival

Andrew Wins Port Taranaki Pro

Australia's Keely Andrew took the biggest win of her career at today's World Surf League Port Taranaki Pro Women's QS6000 (Qualifying Series) at Fitzroy Beach New Plymouth.

Andrew defeated Coco Ho (HAW) in good, onshore 1 meter plus surf opening the Final early with a solid 5.83 and backing that score up with a 6.67 for a total of 12.50 to Ho's 9.80.

Keely Andrew carving to victory at the NZ Home Loans Surf Festival Keely Andrew carving to her biggest career victory. - WSL / Will H-S

The win gives Andrew an outstanding chance to qualify for the women's 2016 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour and has seen her rocket up the Qualifying Series (QS) rankings to equal 4th place.

"This is a really important result for me. I haven't had the greatest start to the year, but this puts me back on track for sure," said Andrew. "I missed qualifying by such a small margin last year and that has really made me hungry and determined to get there. I know this result is great, but I also know I need a few more strong results this year so I can't get too carried away with the win even though right now I feel great."

Hawaiis Coco Ho enjoying the Port Taranaki Pro in New Zealand. Coco Ho couldn't get past a red-hot Keely in the Final. - WSL / Stephen Robertson

It was Coco Ho's second runner-up result at this event having placed 2nd in 2013.

"I love it here in Taranaki, the waves are always fun and another 2nd placing is a good result so I'm happy, even though I was hoping for the win. Keely is a great surfer and I hope I see her on the Championship Tour next year."

Earlier in the day Andrew dominated her Semifinal defeating another Championship Tour (CT) surfer Sage Erickson (USA) and posting the day's top scoring ride (8.83) and heat tally of 16.56.

For Erickson the result was still satisfying and a great competitive stroke leading into next week's event, the Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach.

"Keely (Andrew) had a great Semifinal and was in rhythm out there, whereas I simply could not find a decent wave to really challenge her today," said Erickson. "A 3rd place is a good result and a keeper and I now head to Bells Beach in Australia feeling good about my surfing - If there's one event in the world I'd love to win it's Bells so I'm looking forward to getting there."

Tessa Thyssen (BML) from the remote French region of Saint Bart's in the French Caribbean secured her best ever result here placing 3rd and was eliminated in a close Semifinal by Coco Ho.

For the Championship Tour surfers like Coco Ho and Sage Erickson, they now head straight to Australia for the Bells Beach event.

For the aspiring Championship Tour surfers like Keely Andrew, the next major World Surf League Qualifying Series event is in Mexico in June.

More info, results and imagery available here - www.surffest.co.nz