With no surf available at Honolua Bay, event organizers for the Billabong Pro Maui have announced a relocation to Ho’okipa Beach Park on the northern side of Maui for today’s competition.
The final event of the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Billabong Pro Maui enjoyed excellent waves for the opening day of competition last Wednesday, but have since been in a holding pattern with no surf to speak of at Honolua Bay.
“Today marks the seventh day in a row that the Bay hasn’t had any waves," said Billabong Pro Maui Contest Director Dino Andino. “We’re running out of time, and looking at the forecast, it doesn’t look like the swell is going to be big enough or the right direction until after the waiting period is finished. With that in mind, we’ll be relocating the venue to Ho’okipa Beach Park on the other side of the island where we’ll be looking to get the final day of Billabong Pro Maui competition underway."
In addition to being the final event of the 2008 ASP Dream Tour, the Billabong Pro Maui also marks the final stop on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 20, newly-crowned two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and current No. 2 on the Vans Triple Crown ratings, is disappointed that the Billabong Pro Maui won’t finish at Honolua Bay, but is still enthusiastic to get back in the water and claim another title before 2008 is finished.
“It’s a shame that we won’t be able to finish at the Bay but that’s how it is with surf contests," Gilmore said. “We’re subject to swell patterns and Mother Nature and sometimes we need to make changes. It looks like tomorrow is going to be the biggest day at Ho’okipa which I’ve heard is a fun little wave so I’m stoked to get back in the water."
Gilmore trails former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, by a scant 50 points in the race for the Vans Triple Crown Title, also leads Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, by just 125 points. “It’s really close at the top there and I think whoever finishes highest here in Maui is going to take the Vans Triple Crown Title," Gilmore said. “It’s pretty exciting and I’m definitely gunning for one more win before the season finishes."
Gilmore will face Rebecca Woods (AUS), 24, in Quarterfinal 2 when Billabong Pro Maui competition recommences.
“The Billabong Pro Maui has been lucky to have had great waves at Honolua for the past nine years," Woods said. “There is a back-up plan and it’s a good one. A decent swell is predicted for tomorrow at Ho’okipa on the other side of the island and being a beachbreak, it will open up the field result-wise. There will be more tactics and wave selection will be crucial. It all adds to the flavor and it will be good to compete at another break on Maui. It’s not the Bay, but it’s still a great wave."
Event organizers will reconvene this morning at Ho’okipa Beach Park for a possible 8am start. First up will be seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, up against Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 21.
BILLABONG PRO MAUI QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS: QF 1: Layne Beachley (AUS) vs. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) QF 2: Rebecca Woods (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) QF 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Melanie Bartels (HAW) QF 4: Megan Abubo (HAW) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)