Drug Aware Margaret River Women's Pro

Gilmore Ignites Round 2 of Drug Aware Margaret River Pro

Will Hayden-Smith

MARGARET RIVER, WA/Australia (Sunday, March 17, 2013) - The swell dropped in size from yesterday but the main break at Margaret River, WA still produced quality surf in the 4 foot (1.5 meter) range for day two of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. The women's division ran through Round 2, the first elimination Round of the event.

Stop No. 2 of 8 on the ASP Women's World Championship Tour, the 2013 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro plays a vital role in deciding this year's ASP Women's World Champion.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning 5-time ASP Women's World Champion was in red hot form in Round 2 of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro today, proving that yesterday's Round 1 was an anomaly. She unleashed multiple powerful turns and hooks in the pocket of the wave and was rewarded with two scores in the 9-point-plus-range, finishing the heat with the highest two-wave heat-total of the event thus far - 18.87 out of a possible 20.

"I really enjoy the rights at Margies when it's this size," Gilmore said. "It felt nice to get back in the groove of things. Losing to Felicity (Palmateer) in Round 1 wasn't great, but she's the local girls and she will be the one to watch at this event. It builds my confidence to get a couple 9s, but I'll have to keep improving at this event if I want to do well, Margaret River is a challenging wave. I love Western Australia, the food, the wine and the coastline is stunning."

Alana Blanchard (HAW) was impressive in her heat win over Brazilian surfer Silvana Lima (BRA) today. Blanchard is in great form, coming off a Quarterfinal finish at the season opening event on the Gold Coast last week.

"The whole time I was expecting Silvana (Lima) to get a 9 because she surfs so well, she's gnarly," Blanchard said. "This year I'm just trying not to take it too seriously and go out and have fun and show people that I can surf. I'm feeling good, and trying to stay relaxed. Contests can be stressful and I'm just trying to take it as a free surf and it's been working for me this year. Margarets is a tricky wave, but all the girls are excited to be here."

Paige Hareb (NZL) bounced back from a disappointing last place finish on the Gold Coast last week, edging out Hawaiian Malia Manuel (HAW) in tight Round 2 battle today. Hareb posted an early 7.83 for a series of fast wrapping turns, but left the door wide open as she struggled to find a back-up score. Time ran out for Manuel and she went home with an equal 13th place finish while Hareb moves into Round 3.

"I got that good score in the first minute and I couldn't get another one," Hareb said. "I was nervous at the end because I know Malia (Manuel) can get big scores. My coach Gary and I were timing sets and watching close before the heat and I guess it paid off. I was pretty gutted about my first round loss at Snapper, now I've moved into Round 3 I've got the burden off my back and hopefully I can keep going."

Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), 2013 ASP Women's WCT rookie posted a near-perfect 9.17 (out of a possible 10) on her way to eliminating Frenchwoman Pauline Ado (FRA). Buitendag's monster score came from a long right-hander where she unloaded three technical and powerful backhand blasting turns.

"The last 15 minutes of the heat went flat so I was happy that I got the score early," Buitendag said. "I tried to catch the second wave of the set as it seems to be the best one and I did three top to bottom turns and I got a good score so I'm happy. I didn't expect to be getting big scores like this on the WCT, so I'm happy, but the competition is hard because the surfers are all so good. "

Competition was called off after the women's Round 2 Heat 6 due to a drop in swell. A call will be made at 6:45am for a possible 7am start.

Event info, photos, videos and more - www.margaretriverpro.com