What: ASP Women’s WCT Stop 3
Where: Praia da Tiririca, Itacaré, Bahia, Brazil
When: 20 – 27 August 2007
Cornish Captures First ASP World Tour Crown in Four Years
Rising out of a four-year shadow, 26-year-old Samantha Cornish (AUS) won her first ASP Women’s World Tour title since 2003, at the Billabong Girls Pro Itacaré, this weekend. Cornish defeated Brazilian sensation Silvana Lima (BRA) with 12.00 points (out of a possible 20.00) to Lima’s 8.10, winning US$12,000 and simultaneously shooting to World No. 2 on the ASP Women’s World Tour ratings.
“I feel pretty amazing,” Cornish said. “It’s awesome to finally break the ice and come back with a win after four years. To be up there in the world title race with the likes of Stephanie Gilmore and Chelsea Hedges, is an honor and a privilege and I am going to go for it too!”
After failing to requalify for the ASP Women’s World Tour at the end of 2006, Cornish was granted an injury wildcard back onto the tour in 2007, returning to competition visibly fit and focused as her result this weekend proved.
“Sometimes you don’t realize what you have until you’ve almost lost it,” Cornish said. “I have ASP to thank for giving me the opportunity to be back here this year. It is my goal and my dream to win a world title and this victory is just one step closer.”
Entering the event as equal World No. 4, Cornish seized the world’s attention by breaking the ASP ratings lead deadlock between Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Chelsea Hedges (AUS), eliminating Hedges in the Quarterfinals on Friday and Gilmore in the Semifinals on Saturday.
“The media always hypes up on the big guns like Chelsea and Steph and I’m sort of the quiet achiever. Silent but deadly,” Cornish said. “I know I can surf even better than I did today and I’m looking forward to bringing that out in my surfing in the next couple of events.”
Runner-up Silvana Lima (BRA) did her nation proud by reaching her first ASP Women’s World Tour final, earning $7,000 and maintaining her World No. 4 spot. “The waves didn’t come to me in the final but I did a good job,” Lima said. “It’s my first final on the ASP Women’s World Tour and it feel’s awesome. I am so happy because I always make the Semifinals but never the finals.”
The inspirational Brazilian talent defeated defending Billabong Girls Pro champion and 7X ASP World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) in the Quarterfinals on Friday, capturing a narrow victory over Rebecca Woods (AUS) in the Semifinals on Saturday. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and Rebecca Woods (AUS) finished in equal 3rd overall, earning a tidy $5,000 each.
Gilmore has maintained her World No. 1 spot which she now holds alone, for the first time in her rookie career. “It’s definitely going to be a close one for the rest of the year,” Gilmore said. “Even though I am in first place, they are all right behind me. After my heat this morning Chels had the biggest smile on her face and she just said, the race is on.”
Woods was visibly disappointed after missing out on yet another Final and has slipped down one place to World No. 5. “I’m very upset but happy that Silvana made the final. Both of us haven’t made a final, so I am happy for her. I know that to beat someone in their home country you’ve got to beat them convincingly and that was my mistake. The elusive final is still out there and I’ll have to take it to the next event.”
Despite losing the ASP ratings lead and slipping down to World No. 3 after finishing equal 5th on Friday, Hedges (AUS) walked away with $2,000 for winning both the Kustom Best Wave and Nixon Best Trick awards, for her spectacular surfing throughout the event. The final three heats of the Billabong Girls Pro Itacaré were held in tricky 1-metre beach break waves.
The ASP Women’s World Tour now moves to Spain for Stop No. 4 of 7, the Rip Curl Girls Festival in Santander. Additional information is available online at www.aspworldtour.com
Billabong Pro Girls Itacare Final Results
Heat 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.00 def Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.10
Billabong Pro Girls Itacare Semifinal Results
Heat 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 14.75 def Stephanie Gilmore(AUS)9.00
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.25 def Rebecca Woods (AUS)7.75
Billabong Pro Girls Itacare Quarterfinal Results
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 8.50 def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 8.00
Heat 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.00 def. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 11.40
Heat 3: Silvana Lima (BRA) 17.00 def. Layne Beachley (AUS)14.25
Heat 4: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 10.25 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 8.30