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Steph Surges to World Title #5 in Biarritz, France

Stephanie Gilmore takes our Roxy Pro. Credit: Roxy Pro

Stephanie Gilmore has embedded her name firmly in the history books after notching her fifth world surfing title at the Roxy Pro in Biarritz, France yesterday. Gilmore became only the second female surfer in history to record a fifth world surfing title, the only other person to do so has been fellow Australian Layne Beachley.

After a few days of dreadful conditions resulting in three lay days at the Roxy Pro, the start of the event was very slow. The result of a move to Côte des Basques beach on day four saw many of the lower ranked surfers on the tour struggle to make it past round three and four.

World title contender and Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons was on the receiving end of the first upset of the Competition bowing out to Hawaiian Coco Ho in the Quarter Finals. As finals day progressed the Semi Finals saw Australia vs. Hawaii in both Semi Finals.

Semi Final 1 featured on form surfer Coco Ho against Aussie Tyler Wright. Wright showed the powerhouse surfing which has won her world tour events and junior titles to overcome red hot backhand surfer Ho.  Wright put together a solid score of 14.66 to Ho’s 9.37 and was an indication of the tough conditions that both surfers faced.

When asked about the possibility of a World Title heat in her final Wright said “Moving into the final against Steph or Carissa….both world champions um should be pretty exciting” (Roxy Pro France 2012, ASP).

Semi Final 2 saw previous world champions butt heads to establish a place in the final of the Roxy Pro, France. Carissa Moore off the back of a solid day of heat scores and Stephanie Gilmore slowly moving through the draw with some good heat wins under her belt. After a hard fought and action packed heat, Gilmore came out on top with two eight point rides and a heat total of 17.10 with Moore managing a 12.50 combined total.

The final between Gilmore and Wright was set to be a showdown. However, Gilmore showed exactly why she is a multiple world title holder with a massive score and critical wave selection in the last heat of the day.

Up and comer Tyler Wright whose brother Owen is on the men’s world tour, challenged Gilmore in the Final only to come unstuck with Gilmore achieving a massive score of 18.53 to Wright’s 13.10. Gilmore was dominant throughout the heat and used her forehand manoeuvres to out surf her younger opponent on her backhand.

Following her heat Gilmore lived up to her nickname, Happy Gilmore. With smiles from ear to ear through the ceremonial carry up the beach by her friends and family all the way to the podium.

“I don’t know, today was just an incredible day. I was just progressing consistently and getting decent scores. It was just enough to get me through and yeah I guess obviously saved the best until last. I’m just like shaking, there’s so much energy it’s incredible. I could just dance my way back to Australia.” (Roxy Pro France 2012, ASP).

With a fifth world title under her belt and plenty of ups and downs throughout her career, it seems Happy Gilmore has plenty to smile about. As she chases down the most coveted title of all, the World’s Best Ever Female Surfer held currently by Layne Beachley, perhaps her new nickname over the coming years should be the smiling assassin.

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