Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, reigning five-time ASP World Champion, is into the Semifinals of the TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival.
TARANAKI, New Plymouth/NZL (Friday, April 5, 2013) – The TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival featuring the DowAgro Sciences Pro, Event No. 4 of 7 on the 2013 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, enjoyed clean three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves on offer at Taranaki today with excellent surfing and major upsets going down as the the original 18-woman field was whittled down to the final four.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, reigning five-time ASP Women’s World Champion, posted emphatic wins in Round 3 and the Quarterfinals today, looking strong on both her forehand and backhand as she advanced through to the Semifinals.
“Waves are really clean and really fun today and I’m feeling good to have put in two strong heats,” Gilmore said. “The foot injury is there but it’s not really hampering me in heats so it’s full steam ahead. Hopefully the waves stay fun tomorrow.”
Courtney Conlogue (USA), 20, current ASP Women’s WCT No. 5, continued her strong season-opening run today, posting a Round 4 win over Laura Enever (AUS), 21, before dispatching of current ASP Women’s World No. 1 Carissa Moore (HAW), 20, in a hard-fought Quarterfinal match.
“Feels great to get a win over Carissa (Moore) and advance into the Semifinals,” Conlogue said. “Carissa has been surfing so well all year that it’s a great confidence boost to be able to come back and get a win over her. Would love to post a win in New Zealand.”
Coco Ho (HAW), 21, current ASP WCT No. 9, rebounded from a Round 3 loss this morning to claim a win over compatriot Malia Manuel (HAW), 19, and advance through to her first Semifinals of the year.
“Really stoked to finally put a solid result on the board,” Ho said. “Feel like I’ve been surfing well all year, better than ever, but the results just haven’t come my way. Really been enjoying my time in Taranaki and hope to keep the momentum going.”
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 22, winner of the 2011 ASP WCT event in New Zealand and current ASP Women’s WCT No. 3, took top honors today, posting a 17.27 out of a possible 20 to end the day with a win over Lakey Peterson (USA), 18.
“Lakey (Peterson) is such a strong competitor and she’s capable of huge scores,” Fitzgibbons said. “Even when I had an early lead, I never felt safe. Waves are really fun though and stoked to be into the Semifinals. Would be rapt to have another win here in New Zealand. Love it here. Love the people.”
When competition resumes, up first will be Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, up against Courtney Conlogue (USA), 20, in Semifinal 1.
The TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival featuring the Dow AgroSciences Pro holds a waiting period from April 3 – 7 and is webcast LIVE via http://www.nzsurffestival.co.nz/