With the world title safely locked away for another year, Australian Steph Gilmore has one last goal for 2010: a matching Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title. For each year Gilmore has reigned as ASP world champion she has won the Vans Triple Crown, and she's is hoping the theme continues this Hawaiian winter.
The Cholo's Women's Hawaiian Pro began in head-high surf today, putting the emphasis on a strong heat strategy with no room for wasted rides. Gilmore has consistently performed well here over the years and slipped into a perfect rhythm today, commanding the heat from the start. Gilmore is through to the quarter finals where she will face Cannelle Bulard (Reunion), Nage Melamed (Hawaii), and Nikita Robb (South Africa).
"The Vans Triple Crown is definitely one of the most honorable things you can win, and is one of the most challenging things to win because in Hawaii the waves are big and hard," said Gilmore. "It's hard to win, and I've got a long way to go, but I'll just keep doing my thing and hopefully come out with a win. Conditions were pretty fun today, actually. The swell is tapering off and it's getting slower and slower, but my heat seemed to have a lot of waves coming through with a couple of good sets. I really enjoyed that heat. I think it really shows in your heat results when you're just relaxed. You just seem to get in a good rhythm and when you're stressing out about winning world titles it doesn't seem to happen as much."
Shock eliminations in the Cholo's Hawaiian Pro included world No.3 Carissa Moore (Hawaii), Rebecca Woods (Australia), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Paige Hareb (NZ), and Jessi Miley-Dyer (Australia).
The conclusion of men's round two and the first three heats of round three of the Reef Hawaiian Pro were also held today, along with the second "Clash of the Legends" bout. Among the morning's top scorers were Alain Riou (Tahiti), Evan Valiere (Hawaii), and Maxime Huscenot (France).
On the heels of yesterday's monumental Reef Clash of the Legends, a solid morning crowd turned out for the second bout. "The Toms" - Curren and Carroll, along with Mark Occhilupo and Sunny Garcia, were in a flashback circa 1990 as they were mobbed by enthusiastic surf fans for autographs and kodak moments.
The Reef Hawaiian Pro & Cholo's Women's Hawaiian Pro mark the first stop of the 28th annual Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, and run through November 23 at Haleiwa. Surfline.com, official forecasters for the Vans Triple Crown are predicting the arrival of a new WNW swell tomorrow. If it sets in early, the women will be the first to hit the water with the final of the Cholo's Hawaiian Pro set for 11:30am, followed by a continuation of the men's Reef Hawaiian Pro. The final bout of the Clash of the Legends will be held on the last day of men's competition.