Plenty of surfing venom

Sunday, 26 February 2012
Categories: Surfing - Surfing

World title race never been so fierce

THE gold Coast's Stephanie Gilmore says there's more venom in the women's world surfing championship this year than ever before.

Gilmore opened her campaign for a fifth world crown yesterday with a strong win in the first round of the Roxy Pro at her home break of Snapper Rocks.

Defending champion and world No.1 Carissa Moore from Hawaii posted the highest wave score of the day (9.4), on her way to a crushing win over Rebecca Woods from Copacabana, NSW, and rookie Phillipa Anderson from Newcastle.

Anderson came into the event on a wildcard after winning the women's trial on Friday.

Gilmore said the competition this year is more fierce than she's ever seen.

"Definitely there's venom," she said after her heat.

"We all go to the banquet and we're all lovey-dovey in our hot dresses and we're all good friends but as soon as we paddle out in those heats it's just a one track mind.

"I think the girls are really on a higher level than most of the other years that I've ever competed out here."

She admitted it was hard for her to hand the world champion's trophy over to Moore at the annual awards banquet on Thursday night, and suggested she'll have to surf like Kelly Slater to win it back this year.

World No.2 Sally Fitzgibbons agreed there's now a sharper edge to the competition.

"It's going to be one of the biggest years on tour," she said.

"All the talent that's been coming up over the past five years has arrived and the match-ups are that much more exciting."

Moore felt nervous paddling out for the first time as the world No.1.

"There's a different sort of pressure you have to deal with coming in as a world champ trying to defend your title rather than chasing a world title for the first time, so it's a new learning experience for me," she said.

The Roxy Pro continues today.



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