Kelia Moniz (HAW), the newest ASP World Champion. PIC ASP/Robertson
WANNING, Hainan Island/China (Sunday, November 25, 2012) – Kelia Moniz (HAW) has won the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012 hosted by Wanning over Chelsea Williams (AUS), claiming her maiden ASP Women’s World Longboard Title. The pair repeated history by meeting in the Final as they did at last year’s SWATCH Girls Pro China, where Williams won, but today it was Moniz who took top honours.
Moniz is the second ASP World Champion crowned in China and is a well deserved winner after consistently posting excellent scores all event, but the Final was her most dominant heat by far. She rode the nose with style and grace, executed critical turns and read the shifty line-up to perfection.
“We couldn’t hear the scores so after the heat I didn’t know what to think,” Moniz said. “Then Chelsea (Williams) looked at me and said ‘good job grom’ and I was pretty stoked. Then I looked in and all the Hawaiian boys on the beach were screaming and I had an immediate smile on my face. It was bizarre to be in the Final with Chelsea again, this morning I looked at the heat draw and I saw that we could possibly be in the Final again. Then when we were practising before the contest I told her that I’d see her in the Final. I was just joking because I didn’t really expect to make the Final, but I did, and I won and I’m really ecstatic about it.”
The young Hawaiian joins a prestigious list of ASP World Champions and will be officially crowned on the Gold Coast, Australia in February at the annual ASP World Surfing Awards.
“It means a lot to bring an ASP World Title back to Hawaii,” Moniz said. “Plus this is the only event that decides the world champion, and I’ve been working and training and preparing for this and it feels unbelievable. I just really want to thank my family, friends, Swatch and the Chinese locals for everything!”
Williams posted excellent scores in every heat at this year’s SWATCH Girls Pro China and looked set to claim back-to-back event titles, but couldn’t get into rhythm in the Final. An emotional Williams tried to hold back the tears as she pondered coming so close to winning the coveted ASP Women’s World Longboard Title.
“It feels good to make the Final again,” Williams said. “Kelia (Moniz) surfed really good and I didn’t find any good waves. I won last year, but didn’t win the ASP Women’s World Longboard Title, she won this year and did, so she is the real winner.”
Summer Romero (USA) finished equal 3rd at the SWATCH Girls Pro China for the second year in a row after going down to Moniz in a tight tussle. Romero was 28 seconds away from making the Final, holding a comfortable lead leaving Moniz needing a 6.50 (out of a possible 10). Moniz snared a last second wave and stole the heat win thanks to a critical hang 10 and some stylish carves.
“I almost made the final so I feel good,” Romero said. “I’m stoked, it’s always a goal of mine to at least make the Semifinals. Last year I had Chelsea (Williams) and this year Kelia (Moniz), I love them both and they deserve to be in the Final. I was thinking about it all night and hoping that there would be waves, and it’s been awesome today.”
Karina Rozunko (USA), the 16-year-old Californian who made a name for herself earlier in the event by eliminating the 2011 ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion Lindsay Steinriede (USA) finished equal third today. Rozunko had a stellar run this morning besting Justine Dupont (FRA) and Tory Gilkerson (USA) to finish her first ever ASP Women’s World Longboard Championship event with a Semifinal berth.
“My goal was to get first but I’m super stoked to have made it this far,” Rozunko said. “It feels great, I can’t event explain how good this feels. The waves were amazing today, it was a perfect way to finish the event. The only other place I’ve traveled to is Mexico, so to come to China and finish third had been a great experience for me.”
Jennifer Smith (USA), two-time ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion was one of the in-form surfers of the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012. In her Round 5 bout against Atalanta Nascimento (BRA) Smith posted the highest two-wave heat-total of the event, a near perfect 18.90 (out of a possible 20). She went on to lose to Moniz in the Quarterfinals by less than one point, finishing the event ranked equal 5th place.
The top 18 ranked surfers after the SWATCH Girls Pro China 2012 automatically re-qualify for next year’s ASP Women’s World Longboard Championships, the rest of the Top 34 are determined through regional ASP Longboard Qualifying events.