RAINBOW BAY, Queensland/Australia (Sunday, March 3, 2013) - The world's best female surfers got down to business today as Round 1 of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented Land Rover was completed in clean, three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at Rainbow Bay.
Event No. 1 of 7 on the 2013 ASP Women's World Championship Tour, today's Roxy Pro Gold Coast plays first opening of the season to the most impressive collection of female surfers for the sports history.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 22, continued to prove why she is a perennial threat to the ASP Women's World Title this afternoon, posting an impressive 17.77 out of a possible 20 in a convincing Round 1 win.
"It was really good to have a great battle with Sofia (Mulanovich) out there at the start," Fitzgibbons said. "I really wanted to go out there and push myself. Silvana (Lima) and Sof were really flaring in that heat so it was a lot of fun. It depended on what you caught and what you had to work with. I was really stoked with the waves I caught and how I surfed them."
Into her fifth year amongst the ASP Top 17, Fitzgibbons is coming off three, consecutive Runner-Up finishes and is keen to once again challenge for the coveted position of ASP Women's World No. 1 in 2013.
"What's wrong with second?" Fitzgibbons joked. "Joel (Parkinson) got second for a number of years and then his title last year was that much more sweet. I've just had a great few years on tour and have learned a lot and am applying what I've learned this season."
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, reigning five-time ASP Women's World Champion and defending Roxy Pro Gold Coast winner, picked up where she left off last year, demolishing her hometown pointbreak with style, punch and bite.
"There's always a bit of pressure at the first event, especially since I live here and want to do well," Gilmore said. "When the waves are good like today though, that pressure just goes out the window and all my focus is just on having fun. The girls this year are probably better than any year in the past so every heat is difficult. It's exciting though and hopefully it continues to push the level of women's surfing."
Carissa Moore (HAW), 20, 2011 ASP Women's World Champion, proved she remains one of the best female surfers on the planet today with an emphatic win in Round 1. Despite slipping to ASP Women's World No. 3 in 2012, Moore is considered a threat at any venue on tour.
"Last year was an adjustment for me," Moore said. "I was adjusting from chasing the world title to defending it and it's a completely different thing. I think I learned a lot and have adapted for 2013. My boards feel good, I'm injury free and I'm really enjoying my surfing. That said, every girl on tour should be considered a threat. There's just so much talent."
Moore was joined be fellow Hawaiian Coco Ho (HAW), 21, in Round 1 wins today. Ho put in an electric performance to overtake an early lead from Tyler Wright (AUS), 18, and Rebecca Woods (AUS), 28, and advance directly to Round 3.
"It feels great to start the year off with a win especially in the first heat of the season," Ado said. "Courtney and Laura are really good surfers, but I just focused on getting the best waves of the heat and it worked to my advantage. There are some really fun waves coming in so hopefully it continues throughout the window.
Lakey Peterson (USA), 18, capped off the day's events with an impressive performance of her own, netting the event's highest single-wave score of a 9.80 out of a possible 10 as well as the highest heat total of a near-perfect 19.13 out of a possible 20. The ASP Dream Tour sophomore was unmatched in her speed and power today on the glassy Rainbow Bay walls.
"There are some really good waves out there," Peterson said. "It all comes down to selection. Before the heat, I was a little big nervous - first event of the year and everyone on tour is so good, I wanted to make a good first impression in 2013. Fortunately, the waves came my way and I was able to capitalized. Really stoked and I can't wait for the next round."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
Highlights from the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover will be available via quiksilverlive.com
For more information, log onto ASPWorldTour.com