Six-time WSL Champion Gilmore battled through four rounds today, taking down Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Final, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in the Semifinals, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)in the Quarterfinals, and Caroline Marks (USA) in Round 3. Not only does Gilmore’s win mark her 28th CT victory but also her first CT win in Brazil.
Gilmore’s Final started to come together at the 15-minute mark with a right-hand ride, which earned her a 6.53 (out of a possible 10). Gilmore quickly backed-up her scoreline with a 5.10 on another right, while Peterson chased the lefts. The American, with only an 8.00 two-wave total, could not find the scores required to combat the Australian at the final buzzer.
That was a really crucial Final because Lakey (Peterson) has had a win and I’ve had a win, I just want it. I want it really bad and that is what it takes. It feels good. I just love competing. It is such a good challenge to be out there and to have this stage to perform on is really special. I’ve been doing this for a while but it never gets old. This is just the beginning. For a few years there I was sort of half-hearted with things and I realized that you can’t be that way if you want to win, you have to have the ‘Eye of the tiger,’ you have to want to win, and you have to be fierce and committed to these things. I love to really apply myself properly. It is really special. I am so happy. I just want to win. It’s cool, it is such a good feeling.
Despite the loss, Peterson is in a strong position to hunt down her first World Title this season. The Californian started her year with a big win on the Gold Coast and continues to raise the bar at each event. En route to her runner-up result, Peterson dispatched crowd-favorite Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) in the Semifinals and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Quarterfinals.
A World Title is my goal, I am just trying to take it one event at a time. I feel like the momentum is working for me right now, but it is also working for Steph (Gilmore) right now. She is obviously in a great groove and she’s got an extra win on top of me, and I am aware of that. She’s such a phenomenal competitor and surfer. For me, it is really cool to feel that I am keeping pace and everything is coming together, I am proud of that because it has been a lot of years of working hard and learning and going back to the drawing board. It is just nice to feel like Snapper was not just a one-off thing. I feel like I am continuing that success and it feels great.
Gilmore’s second win in 2018 now keeps her at World No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard. Peterson trails by only 3,680 points behind with her runner-up finish today. With the tour reaching its halfway mark at Stop No. 5’s Corona Bali Pro, Gilmore’s and Peterson’s 2018 World Title campaigns are off to a strong start.
Weston-Webb’s run ended against Peterson in Semifinal 2, but the 22-year-old showcased her potential throughout the event, including her 15.33 combined score to take down compatriot Silvana Lima (BRA) in the Quarterfinals. Now wearing the Brazilian flag on her jersey, Weston-Webb climbs to World No. 3 with Brazil supporting her.
Nikki Van Dijk
Brazilian hero Lima had a disappointing elimination against Weston-Webb, where she was unable to complete her rides. Lima has also had a great start to the year with a 3rd place finish at Bells. Her 5th at the Oi Rio Pro keeps her at World No. 10 on the Jeep Leaderboard. Lima confirmed that she will use the elimination as a learning for Keramas.
Tyler Wright’s (AUS) run for a third-straight Oi Rio Pro victory ended early in the first heat of the Round 3. Unable to find two substantial scores, the two-time WSL Champion was ousted by Keely Andrew (AUS) and now exits in Equal 9th place, her second of 2018. At this time last season, Wright held the World No. 1 lead. Now in seventh on the World Rankings, Wright will need to make up ground at the next stop, the Corona Bali Pro.
2018 CT Rookie Caroline Marks (USA), Johanne Defay (FRA), and Sage Erickson (USA)were also eliminated in Round 3.
Oi Rio Pro Women’s Final Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.53
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 8.00
Oi Rio Pro Women’s Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.00 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 9.67
SF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.27 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.40
Oi Rio Pro Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.06 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.00
QF 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.83 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 5.77
QF 3: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 15.33 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 4.60
QF 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.67 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 9.57
Oi Rio Pro Women’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.17, Keely Andrew (AUS) 9.64, Tyler Wright (AUS) 6.17
Heat 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.36, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.50, Caroline Marks (USA) 4.67
Heat 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.90, Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.23, Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.16
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.33, Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 11.50, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.34
2018 WSL Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Oi Rio Pro):
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 29,490 pts
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 25,630 pts
3 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 20,020 pts
4 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 18,980 pts
5 – Caroline Marks (USA) 17,000 pts
Photos courtesy World Surf League