Media courtesy WSL
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claimed victory today at the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast, the opening stop on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), in four-to-six foot (1 – 2 m) waves at the world-famous Snapper Rocks. An incredible finals day delivered two Australian event champions, and both Wright and Gilmore will take the coveted Jeep Leaders’ Jersey heading into the next event on the CT, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
The six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claimed her sixth Roxy Pro title today after defeating Lakey Peterson (USA) in the Final. Today’s win marks Gilmore’s 25th elite tour victory and her first since the Cascais Women’s Pro in 2014. The result will move Gilmore up from 6th to 1st on the Jeep Rankings.
“I can’t believe it, I’ve been visualizing holding that trophy so much,” Gilmore said. “It was so hard against Lakey [Peterson]. I’m so happy to have all the support from everyone here and there’s nothing better than winning at home.”
Gilmore previously dispatched three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the Quarterfinals with a perfect 10-point ride and compatriot Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in the Semifinals. Moore, who came into the event ranked third in the world, will move to fifth. Fitzgibbons’ Semifinal berth will see her climb up five places to third on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I haven’t had the yellow jersey for a while and it’s going to feel so good to put that on,” continued Gilmore. “Getting to win an event again was really cool and it feels really rewarding to win. It’s so far from here but I’d love to win another World Title. It’s the greatest feeling in the world to win here, in the greatest place on earth in my eyes.”
The Roxy Pro Final saw Gilmore and Peterson do battle for the win. Peterson got to work early, posting two mid-range scores, but local favorite Gilmore kicked things off with a commanding 7.93 on her opening ride. Gilmore continued to pull out all the stops with big fin-throws and sharp turns to earn an excellent 8.67, putting more pressure on the Californian, who was not able to answer back. This Final marks the pair’s fourth head-to-head match-up, with Gilmore taking the win each time.
Image: An in-form Lakey Peterson (USA) finished runner-up at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast.
Peterson has been on a tear throughout the competition, posting consistently high scores including a perfect 10 in Round 2 and the two highest heat totals of the Roxy Pro. Peterson previously defeated Johanne Defay (FRA) in the Semifinals and reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) in the Quarterfinals en route to the Final.
With one event win so far during her six year career on the Championship Tour, at the US Open of Surfing in 2012, today is her best result at Snapper Rocks, having previously made the Semifinals in 2014 where she was defeated by Bianca Buitendag (ZAF). Today’s result sees her move up from 13th to 2nd place on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“I can’t complain too much with the result,” Peterson said. “I just missed it by one spot so it keeps the fire lit in me. It stings a little, but I really think I put together a great contest and did my absolute best. It was a really fun time and I’m so stoked the waves worked out as well, we got pumping surf for this event. To compete against Stephanie [Gilmore] here gives me chills and is one to remember.
“Margaret River is a big shift, but I’m excited this year,” Peterson continued. “I feel pretty comfortable in the bigger stuff now so I hope we get some waves. Everyone is surfing so well this year so it’s really fun to be part of it. I want to win the World Title for sure. After sitting on the sidelines and watching Tyler [Wright] dominate last year, I wanted to tap into that and come out guns blazing.”
Reigning WSL Champion and defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) was eliminated by Peterson in the Quarterfinals. Wright, with a 9.93 two-wave combined score, could not find the waves to escape Peterson’s near-perfect 9.27 and 7.83. Wright’s 5th place result will move her from first to 5th on the Jeep Leaderboard heading into the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
“We really missed Lakey [Peterson] on tour last year so it’s amazing to have her back,” Wright said. “She came out hard and put me on the back foot and I never really got back on the front. This is a new year so I’m not going to focus too much on last year. It was tough but all and all I’m pretty happy with how I surfed.”
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.60
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.66
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results (1st, 2nd):
SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 18.60 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.70
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.27 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.86
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results (1st to SF, 2nd = 5th):
QF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.44 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 9.50
QF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 17.10 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.93
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.00 def. Keely Andrew (AUS) 13.63
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.50 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.83
2017 WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (After Roxy Pro Gold Coast):
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 8,000 pts
3 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 6,500 pts
3 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6,500 pts
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com