Rounds 1 and 2 of the Rip Curl Women’s Pro presented by Ford Fiesta have been completed with the usual suspects dominating the clean 1-metre waves on offer at Bells Beach.

Event No. 2 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Rip Curl Women’s Pro saw reigning ASP Women’s World Champion and defending event champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) net the day’s highest heat total of a 17.40 out of a possible 20.

“It feels really good to get through the first round," Gilmore said. “Both Jacqueline (Silva) and Alana (Blanchard) are really good surfers and are capable of getting big scores so I just went out and tried to start off strong and post a few bigger scores."

Gilmore, now into Round 3, will look to put a solid result on the board at Bells, having stumbled with an equal 9th place finish at the season opener on the Gold Coast of Australia.

“It takes a fair bit of hard work (defending your title)," Gilmore said. “Everyone is surfing so well this season and everyone’s hungry for the win. It’s definitely going to be a bit harder than last year. However, I’m just taking it heat by heat. I was focusing on that last heat, and now I’m just looking ahead and focusing on my Round 3 heat."

Sofia Mulanovich (PER), former ASP Women’s World Champion (2004) and current ratings leader on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, edged through her heat, narrowly advancing over opponents Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) and 2008 rookie Karina Petroni (USA).

“It was a bit tricky as there seemed to be a lot of waves in the heat before, but not so many in our heat," Mulanovich said. “It was pretty slow, and I think we all had the lead at one point. Both Jessi (Miley-Dyer) and Karina (Petroni) are really solid and can get the scores they need when they have to. Stoked to be through and into Round 3."

Miley-Dyer and Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) advanced through to Round 3 as well, competing for the first time in 2008. The two missed the opening event on the Gold Coast, with Miley-Dyer out with a knee injury and Redman-Carr spending time with her newborn baby, but both surfers looked to be back in fighting form, netting solid scores in the opening heats.

Samantha Cornish (AUS), current World No. 2, stumbled in her Round 1 heat, only to rebound and post the highest scoring wave of Round 2, an 8.17 out of a possible 10. Cornish has begun her Rip Curl Women’s Pro campaign in similar fashion to her Gold Coast start, which saw her finish runner-up, and the stylish natural-footer will look to repeat at Bells Beach.

“I guess I do a bit better in the pressure situations," Cornish said. “These Round 2 starts seem to be becoming a bit of a tradition for me now. I think it’s a reality check for you and it always fires me up to surf through Round 2."

Trials winner Alana Blanchard (HAW) and current World No. 4 Julia De La Rosa (PER) were eliminated from Rip Curl Women’s Pro competition, narrowly failing to advance in the deteriorating conditions.

Event organizers will meet again today at 7:30am to make the official call. Catch all the action on the live webcast.

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Round 1 Results Heat 1: Layne Beachley (AUS) 11.34, Nicola Atherton (AUS) 7.50, Julia De La Rosa (PER) 4.37 Heat 2: Megan Abubo (HAW) 15.50, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 11.83, Samantha Cornish (AUS) 4.83 Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.40, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 14.33, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 6.86 Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.00, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 10.50, Karina Petroni (USA) 8.40 Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.00, Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 9.66, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 7.04 Heat 6: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 14.07, Serena Brooke (AUS) 13.27, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.64

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Round 2 Results Heat 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 11.40, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 9.60, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 9.00 Heat 2: Karina Petroni (USA) 12.50, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.60, Julia De La Rosa (PER) 9.87

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Round 3 Match-Ups Heat 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) vs. Nicola Atherton (AUS) Heat 2: Layne Beachley (AUS) vs. Serena Brooke (AUS) Heat 3: Megan Abubo (HAW) vs. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Karina Petroni (USA) Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) vs. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) Heat 6: Rebecca Woods (AUS) vs. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) Heat 7: Amee Donohoe (AUS) vs. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) Heat 8: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)

The Rip Curl Pro is the first carbon offset ASP World Tour event. To achieve the Carbon Offset requirements, Rip Curl has teamed with CO2 Australia to offset the greenhouse gas emissions that result from a number of energy-consuming activities during this year’s event. Visit the Rip Curl website for more details.