Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) claimed victory at the Cascais Women’s Pro after defeating Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in a hard fought Final. The pair battled at the back-up site of Bafureira in two-to-four foot waves and Gilmore posted the day’s only nine-point ride to secure the win against Fitzgibbons.
Stop No. 9 of 10 on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Cascais Women’s Pro was a vital stop on this year’s World Title race and offered crucial points towards requalification. Following the event, only Gilmore, Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright (AUS) remain in contention for the 2014 surfing crown, which will be decided at the final event of the year, the Target Maui Pro.
Sunday’s Final is the third this season for Gilmore and Fitzgibbons, having previously matched up in Fiji and Lower Trestles. The win also marks Gilmore’s third WCT victory of 2014, after championing the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and the Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles, and moves to the No. 1 spot on the WCT rankings for the first time this year.
The five-time ASP Women’s World Champion looked confident throughout the contest, despite a stumble in Round 1 at the hands of Laura Enever (AUS). She previously dispatched Lakey Peterson (USA) and Tyler Wright (AUS) on route to the Final and remains in the running for her sixth World Title.
“I can’t believe I won this event,” said Gilmore. “I was struggling in these waves but I managed to find two pretty decent scoring rides. Sally (Fitzgibbons) was super tough to beat and that was a really hard one, it’s so crazy, I’m so happy I won! I’ve had such an incredible time here in Portugal, Cascais, it’s such a beautiful town and I think when you feel happy in the place that you are you always seem to get a good result.”
Fitzgibbons was in form throughout the competition, winning each of her heats before matching up against Gilmore. She was dealt some tough match-ups in Cascais, facing Courtney Conlogue (USA) in the Quarterfinals and Malia Manuel (HAW) in the Semifinals, but posted consistently high scores to make it to the Final. Sunday’s result sees her relinquish the yellow jersey to Gilmore and take No. 2 on the rankings heading to Hawaii.
“It was an amazing battle and a great Final,” said Fitzgibbons. “Unfortunately I fell one short, but I’ll pick myself up and keep moving forward. I’ve been coming to Portugal now for a number of years and every time I’ve been greeted with such warmth and I couldn’t have asked for much more. To come in and be the runner up and still have amazing fans cheering for me on the beach, that’s really special and very memorable.”
Tyler Wright (AUS) finished the event in equal 3rd place after suffering defeat at the hands of eventual event winner Gilmore in the Semifinal. A crucial win against Johanne Defay (FRA) in the Quarterfinals kept Wright’s World Title hopes alive and ended Gilmore’s chances of becoming the World Champion in Portugal.
“It’s really cool to send the Title Race to Maui,” said Wright. “All I really strive to do is my own thing, anything else is a bonus on top of that so I’m pretty happy. It was definitely a tough heat but the girls are all ripping and I’m just having fun doing what I’m doing.”
Malia Manuel (HAW) caused the upset of the day in the Quarterfinals by eliminating the reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) and ending her hopes of claiming a third World Title. The heat is the tenth time the pair have matched up in WCT history and Manuel’s victory today is her first against the 2013 Cascais Women’s Pro winner. Manuel went on to face Fitzgibbons in the Semifinals and, despite posting an excellent 8.30, couldn’t find the second high score required to defeat the Australian. Moore left the competition in equal 5th place and remained at fourth place on the rankings.
“This season has been huge, it’s been phenomenal with the added events,” said Manuel. “The level of surfing is always progressing and this year has been the best so far. I’m just having so much fun. It’s nice to know that you can get a 13th place and then make Semifinals in the next event and progress, learn and evolve. I’m looking forward to finish up in Hawaii, it’s going to be awesome and it’s good to go home and see friends and family.”
“If I could do the heat differently I would try to be in a better rhythm with the ocean. I feel like I didn’t have that many opportunities to really do my thing,” said Moore. “I just have to go back and look at the heat analyzer and learn from my mistakes whatever they are. I’m going to focus on the next event and I’m so excited to go home and compete in front of my home crowd.”
The next stop on the 2014 Samsung Galaxy ASP World Championship Tour for the men is the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal from October 12 – 23, 2014. The next and final stop for the women is the Target Maui Pro from November 22 – December 6, 2014.
Highlights from the Cascais Women’s Pro are available at ASPWorldTour.com.
Cascais Women’s Pro Final Results:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.36
2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.44
Cascais Women’s Pro Semifinal Results (1st Advances to Final, 2nd Finished Equal 3rd):
Semifinal 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 17.04 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.47
Semifinal 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.60 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.50
Cascais Women’s Pro Quarterfinal Results (1st Advances to Semifinals, 2nd Finished Equal 5th):
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.66 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.10
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.87 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.30
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.23 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 7.83
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.67 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.50
ASP Women’s WCT Top 5 (after Cascais Women’s Pro):
1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 64,200 pts
2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 60,700 pts
3. Tyler Wright (AUS) 59,400 pts
4. Carissa Moore (HAW) 56,600 pts
5. Malia Manuel (HAW) 43,600 pts