With stop number three of seven now completed on the ASP Women's World Tour in Brazil, the World's Top 17 Women are now on their way to Spain. The Rip Curl Girls Festival, which will get underway in Santander, from September 4-9, 2007 means women will be competing in back-to-back events for the first time this year.
As the ASP Women's World Tour is now in full swing, the extent of professional women's surfing talent is definitely on show, as the current ASP ratings prove.
Three events have already been concluded, and now the world's most accomplished female surfers find themselves scattered between 1st and 7th on the ASP ratings. ASP Women's World Tour rookie Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) holds down the World No. 1 spot, while 7X ASP World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) finds herself at World No. 7.
"There's a good mix of girls in the top five at the moment," Gilmore said. "But it's crazy to see Layne in 7th and Sofia in 6th. The girls are pushing each other and after Sam's win in Brazil, everyone is inspired and we're all excited to be heading straight into another event." Gilmore secured an equal 3rd result in Brazil, and knows she will need to lift her game if she is to hold onto that World No. 1 spot.
"Going straight into another event is a good way to redeem yourself," Gilmore said. "I like to win but I've come out of the last event with a 3rd and luckily enough I am still in the lead. It's a good position to be in but I know there are a lot of hungry girls stacked up behind me."
One of those girls is Samantha Cornish (AUS). Cornish has rocketed to World No. 2 on the ASP ratings, a dichotomy given that she nearly fell off the top tier tour at the end of 2006.
"I'm obviously really stoked about the win," Cornish said. "It took a lot of hard work and effort on my part but I proved I can do it and I can be up there alongside the top girls. I'm going to go to Spain pretty level-headed. Obviously I'd love to back it up with another win but I'm not going to put any pressure on myself."
Former ASP ratings leader and 2005 ASP World Champion Chelsea Hedges (AUS), has slipped down to World No. 3 while rising Brazilian talent Silvana Lima (BRA) has maintained her World No. 4 slot ahead of Rebecca Woods (AUS), who currently sits at World No. 5.
Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) sits a little further a field at World No. 13. The powerful goofy-footer (right foot forward stance) finished 2006 at World No. 4 but has yet to make it through Round 3 in 2007. An indisputable talent on the top tier tour, Miley-Dyer is unfazed by her current standing and is watching the ratings shift at the top of the surfing pile with interest.
"We've seen the same few girls at the top for many years, like Layne (Beachley) for example," Miley Dyer said. "Now to see Steph and Sam and Silvana giving it to 'em is pretty exciting and I think it's just a testament to top level surfing right now. One year Layne can be dominating and this year she hasn't done so well, so I think it just shows how close everyone is and how, given the opportunity, we'll all win events just like Sam. Heading into Spain I think anything can happen."
The waiting period for the Rip Curl Girls Festival, Santander, Spain extends from September 4- 9, 2007 and needs just two full days of surfing to be completed.