Wrap Up: Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro

South African Jordy Smith has taken out the Hurley Pro in California! The natural-footer took a little time to find his composure in the Final of the world famous event in Southern California’s San Clemente region, though eventually overcame Hawaiian rival John John Florence in an epic Final of competition. The win is his first of the 2014 surfing season.Jordy2Jordy6Smith overcame reigning World Champion Mick Fanning in the Quarterfinals and continued to answer back to every turn, air and hack his competitors threw at him. John John lived up to his usual antics, posting a near perfect 9.17 in the Quarterfinals before overcoming 11-times World Champion Kelly Slater by a narrow score of just 1.00 in the Semi Finals for a spot in the Final. JJThe huge crowds gathered for what would be an amazing Hawaiian vs. South African showdown. Though he was dominated by Florence throughout almost the entire Heat due to falls and insecurities, Smith eventually found his form and posted a crucial score in the dying minutes to secure his win at Lower Trestles. Smith finished his Hurley Pro campaign sitting on a comfortable 16.50 to that of Florence’s 15.87. Now a local of the region, Jordy has proven he deserves a spot out in the infamously crowded line-up.Jordy3Stephanie Gilmore also overcame fellow countrywomen and good friend Sally Fitzgibbons in the Final of the Swatch Women’s Pro, also held at Lower Trestles. The 5-times World Champion proved simply unstoppable as she concluded the event on a near perfect score of 19.50, just 0.50 shy of a perfect result.

“I wanted to get Sally back from Fiji because I had a tough performance there,” said Gilmore. “Whoever won that heat there, I thought was a definitive moment for the year.”Sally Sally2 Sally4SurfStitch would like to congratulate both Jordy Smith and Stephanie Gilmore on their wins in California! Bring on Stop #9 of 2014 ASP World Championship Tour in France, due to start on the 25th of September.  Stay tuned for all the latest news, action and updates!

*All imagery ASP

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FITZGIBBONS TAKES HOME WOMENS FIJI PRO 2014

Two of the biggest names in Women surfing and fellow Australians Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore have gone head to head in the Final of the Women’s Fiji Pro today, with Fitzgibbons proving too strong, allowing her to take home her second ASP event win for the 2014 season. The two battled for the lead in the Final heat of competition, exchanging first place almost as if hitting a tennis ball back and fourth in the 4-6 foot solid conditions.

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 Sally Fitzgibbons takes out the Women’s Fiji Pro 2014 – Photo by ASP

The Fijian island of Tavarua has played host to the top 17 women surfers over the past week, producing a mix of conditions for the Women to compete in. The final day of competition saw solid swell hit the famous reef of Cloudbreak, providing long, fast tubing, open faces for the competitors to show off their skills to the world.  The day started with the continuation of elimination Round 4, with Fitzgibbons first in the water against an in form and another fellow Aussie, Tyler Wright. Though it was Wright who dominated the heat for the majority, Fitzgibbons fought back with her cutback game, posting a 8.40 and taking the lead with only a few minutes to spare. This resulted in Wright being eliminated and Sally advancing through to the Quarterfinal’s. Heat 4 of Round 4 also saw Hawaiian ripper Malia Manuel overcome New Zealand’s Paige Hareb through smart selections of smaller, cleaner waves at the infamous reef break.

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 Fitzgibbons riding the wall to success during Round 4 – Photo by ASP

5 times World Champion Stephanie Gilmore met South African Bianca Buitendag in Quarterfinal 1. Buitendag opened the campaign first, being rewarded with a strong score of 8.17. A calm and collected Gilmore patiently sat in the line up, eventually being rewarded with a high score of 8.00 herself, through a series of powerful turns. With both now needing a backup second score, the battle was on and it was Gilmore to produce the goods. She earned her ticket through to the Semi Finals by gaining a 7.50 in the final two minutes, bettering that of the South Africans 5.33.

With the tide continuing to go lower and conditions becoming a little unpredictable, Quarterfinal 2 hit the water with top seeded rookie Dimity Stoyle up against current Women’s World Number 1, Hawaiian Carissa Moore. The heat began slowly, with both surfers scoring zero to nothing through the first fifteen minutes.  Eventually both surfers managed to post small scores, though in the dying final 5 minutes, Stoyle scraped into an outside left shoulder, finding her rhythm and eliminated the current World Champion from competition. Though a great moment for the young rookie, a huge upset to both Moore and her supporters.

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 Rookie Dimity Stoyle upstaged World Number 1 Carissa Moore in Quarterfinal 3 – photo by ASP

In the large conditions, Fitzgibbons would again hit the water, this time for Quarterfinal 3 against another fellow Aussie Laura Enever. With the elimination of World Number 1 Carissa Moore only minutes prior, Sally was hungry and eager to improve her position on the overall world rankings. Living up to her name, Fitzgibbons did not disappoint, posting a pair of 7 point rides on her first few waves. Enever unfortunately lost rhythm  after breaking a board going over the falls searching for a tube on a bigger set. Sally once again moved through competition, this time moving directly through to the Semi Finals. Quarterfinal 4 saw Hawaiian Malia Manuel take the win over Johanne Defay of France, posting collaboration scores of 9.50, to that of 8.93 in the solid conditions. The win was extra sweet for Manuel, suffering a serious injury to her wrist in Round 4, though it obviously did not distract her.

Dimity Stoyle met Stephanie Gilmore in Semi Final 1 at the grinding left hand reef break. Stephanie started out in true attacking form, gaining two inside rides and securing reasonable scores, leaving Stoyle sitting on a single low scoring wave. Stoyle’s situation did not exactly improve as Gilmore burst into another bomb, throwing a powerful vertical snap and leaving the Rookie in need of a 9.00 ride to take the win. All in all it was Gilmore who proved to good for the Sunshine Coast’s Dimity Stoyle, allowing the 5 Time World Champion to advance into the Final round of competition.

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 Stephanie Gilmore showing what makes a World Champ – Photo by ASP

Who would meet Gilmore in the final? Only the winner of Semi Final 2, both popular contenders. This heat saw both in form power surfers Sally Fitzgibbons and Malia Manuel come face to face, both eager to get a spot in the Final and perhaps the opportunity to take the whole event. Nerves or fatigue perhaps started to show, as both surfers struggled to find their feet and fell on critical wave sections. Fitzgibbons broke away first, scoring one of the best barrels of the event, gaining a score of 9.07 and starting her campaign off strong. Manuel caught the wave behind, though was unfortunate not to make the last section as she was pinched on the inside. After numerous broken boards, it was thanks to her opening tube ride that Fitzgibbons once again made an ASP Final, now meeting fellow Aussie and friend Stephanie Gilmore for a shot at the first Women’s Fiji title since 2006.

The Aussie super surfers made the most of the 30 minute Final, both starting off with small scores to begin their final Fijian crusade. Stephanie lead with these smaller scores, which only increased when at the fifteen minute mark she completed a series of powerful backhand manoeuvres. Fitzgibbons fought back only minutes, paddling into a set and showing a display of connected turns and hacks. Gilmore continued to hold the lead after Sally’s hard attempts, with only 2.73 separating the two as the clock continued to count down into the final minutes of Women’s competition. Though many thought Gilmore had the event wrapped up, mother nature had other intentions, providing Fitzgibbons an additional wave of which she scored a 3.00, enough to slip the title through Gilmore’s fingers and secure a back to back win in the 2014 ASP Womens WCT. Check out Fitzgibbons  awesome win and all the other highlights on the final day of the Women’s Fiji Pro below.

SurfStitch would love to congratulate Sally Fitzgibbons once again on the spectacular win at Stop Number 5 of the ASP World Championship Tour for 2014. Also, a big congratulations to all the other Women competitors who braved the razor sharp reefs on  Tavarua and put on great performances. The top 34 Male surfers are scheduled to open the Fiji Pro on the 1st of June, with many popular contenders in form and ready to take the title. Who will meet Sally Fitzgibbons on the victory stage? Only time will tell. Until then, keep up to date with all the latest from the ASP World Championship Tour here at the SurfStitch Blog!

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Womens Fiji Pro ready for action

Although it seems like the Brazilian event has only just wrapped up, its already time for the top 17 women surfers to jump back in the water, this time in the pristine waters of the south pacific island of Fiji. The island is infamous for its raw beauty and powerful waves, and after an almost 10 year break, the Women’s event once again returns to the popular Fijian reef breaks.

The event will start in only a few days time, from the 25th May to the 30th. The swell charts are looking decent with some solid groundswells, keeping all competitors hungry to take out the title which was last won by Australian Melanie Redman-Carr in 2006.

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Cloudbreak’s 2006 winner Melanie Redman-Carr – Photo by ASP

Of course there are the main surfers that may be eligible for the win. The likes of current World Number 1 Carissa Moore, Stephanie Gilmore, to Rio Winner Sally Fitzgibbons and Tyler Wright all come into mind when trying to pick, especially if involved in the Fantasy Surfer league. However, as the line-ups in Fiji are predominantly left handers, this gives an almost unprecedented advantage to goofy foot surfers including New Zealands Paige Hareb, South African Bianca Buitendag and up and coming Hawaiian Alessa Quizon.

Deputy Commissioner of the ASP and previous competitor Jessi Miley-Dyer competed in the last Women’s event in Fiji in 2006. Since gaining the new title, Miley-Dyer knew Fiji’s island of Tavarua had to be on the cards.  ”When I was growing up, part of the allure of the CT was that we had these amazing waves and we would go to the best locations,” Miley-Dyer said. “You got to surf waves like Cloudbreak because you had made it to that top tier. That’s why I really wanted us to have a dream location like Fiji and a wave that would challenge the girls; so that the younger girls coming up would look at the WCT like we used to, as the absolute pinnacle of the sport.”

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Rochelle Ballard rides one of the biggest barrels in women’s competition history at Cloudbreak 2006 – Photo by ASP

Sure, the competitors are going from the chunky sandy bottom beach breaks of Brazil to heavy grinding reef breaks in the south pacific awfully quickly, but that’s the excitement of the World Tour. Always surfing different waves and conditions in order to prove yourself to the other competitors, judges and the rest of the world.

“It takes a different kind of surfer to surf bigger, heavier waves, and I think this event will see a new kind of hero,” Miley-Dyer continued.We have girls on tour that we know have been pegged as the one being really good at airs or someone who has a really good power carve but we don’t have that charger.”

The Fiji Women’s Pro starts on the 25th of May and has a waiting period of 5 days. The swell forecast is looking promising, with waves predicted to start headhigh and continue to rise, providing some great entertainment. Hawaiian Carissa Moore continues to lead the Women’s rankings over Sally Fitzgibbons going into the Fijian event. The top 34 Male surfers will hit the waters between the 1st -13th, with 11 time World Champion Kelly Slater leading the rankings over Aussie Taj Burrow.

Watch the events live at the ASP official website or keep up here at the SurfStitch Blog, where we bring you the latest news and event info.

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Billabong Rio Pro 2014 Update

Yesterday saw the world’s top women surfers complete Round’s 2 and 3 of the Billabong Pro in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The crowd watched on as the women went head to head in the crucial elimination stages of Round 2, with winners of Round 1 also ready for their Round 3 opportunities to progress further. Stand out performances were in the air, though upsets also occurred for some of the favourites to win.

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 The contest arena – Barra de Tijuca – photo by ASP

The biggest upset of the day went to Stephanie Gilmore, losing her fight for domination to Brazilian Silvana Lima in Heat 3 of Round 2. “When I saw Silvana in the draw, I knew she would be dangerous because she’s hungry for a win and she’s been injured for a while,” said Gilmore. “She’s also one of the few girls that can do airs consistently.” Ones things for sure, she was right about the airs. Lima pulled off a perfectly executed air reverse in the 2-3 foot conditions at the Barra de Tijuca beach break, the wave that eliminated the 5 times ASP world champion from competition. Other upsets of the Women’s Round 2 saw Alana Blanchard knocked from competition by fellow Kauaian Malia Manuel and Aussie underdog Dimity Stoyle fall to Alessa Quizon.

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 Brazilian Silvana Lima impressing the local crowds – photo by ASP

Round 3 was also held for the Women’s competition, with crowds going crazy especially for the Brazilian competitors. Silvana Lima used the crowd as a motivational tool going into her heat against American Lakey Peterson and Round 2 winner Malia Manuel. Lima, still feeding off the win over Gilmore, opened strong with a 7.00, creating a strong lead over her opponents. It was Peterson however, in the final 10 minutes who overcame Silvana Lima, boasting a huge turn combination and producing a score of 9.03, enough to take out the heat.

Heat 3 of Round 3 was an all Aussie affair, with Tyler Wright up against Nikki Van Dijk and Laura Enever. Conditions started to fade, with offshore winds flattening a lot of the good waves that had previously come through on offer. Tyler managed to scrape some mid-range scores together through a series of small turns and floaters, overcoming her fellow countryman and progressing through to the Quarter Finals.

Another stand out performance was Sally Fitzgibbons in Heat 4. Fitzgibbons overcame Hawaiian rippers Coco Ho and Tatiana Weston-Webb, helping to keep the Australians in competition. “It was exciting out there today,” said Sally. “I’ve got a few things to work on, but I was really happy to get that 7.00 mid heat and shut it down at the end using my priority well.”

The Men’s competition was on hold yesterday as the Women’s Rounds 2 and 3 ran in the smaller conditions. Heat 1 held on the previous day saw 2011 event winner Adriano de Souza hit the water with Portugal’s Tiago Pires and Hawaiian Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz. Though the crowds support may have been for the Brazilian de Souza, it was Pires who shined, making 2 powerful turns. De Souza and Ziess continued to battle throughout the heat, though managed only to put together combinations of mid-range scores. Pires’ turns proved too much for the other competitors, forcing them to the elimination Round 2 and he progressed directly to Round 3.

Current ASP World Number 1 and a big crowd favourite Gabriel Medina took next to the water in Heat 2 coming up against fellow countryman Roani Monteiro and Aussie Adrian Buchan. Medina wasted no time and exploded into the scene, producing a pair of 6 point rides and a display of great aerial manoeuvres. This proved too much for Monteiro and Buchan, as the World Champion advanced directly through to Round 3.

Aussies Taj Burrow and Adam Melling would next face off with American Brett Simpson in Heat 3 of the opening day. Taj used his veteran tour experience and overcame the others through a series of mid-range scores and powerful turns.

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 Taj Burrow in Heat 3 – photo by ASP

Heats 4 and 5 proved successful for Aussies Joel Parkinson and young gun Mitch Crews. Joel came up against Jeremy Flores and Ireland’s Glenn Hall in Heat 4, leaving the water victorious and moving through to Round 3. Crews shocked crowds by defeating 11 time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater and Brazilian Peterson Crisanto, and was over the moon with his result. “I knew I had really nothing to lose in that heat and I just wanted to go and surf and I’m just stoked to get my first, first-round win of the year, hopefully it’s (the first) of many” said Crews.

Heat 8 saw defending event champion Jordy Smith face off with Fred Pattachia and Travis Logie. An in form Smith went absolutely mental, tearing apart the small beach break and showing why he is the defending champion of this event. Jordy locked in a combination score of 13.67 through a series of airs, turns and powerful carves while the other two competitors managed only to score mid-range combinations. This allowed Smith to advance directly into Round 3 and continue chasing the vent title for the second year in a row. These days if you want to win you really have to do everything and throw the kitchen sink at the judges” said Smith, having a sneaky laugh at his own comment.

Other stand out performances included Brazil’s own Filipe Toledo, who absolutely dominated his heat and provided some entertaining surfing for all to enjoy. Toledo blitzed his competition by pulling out two full rotation airs, the two biggest scores of competition so far in Rio. Aussie Julian Wilson did his best to keep up with Toledo, trying to throw out some big punts and airs, though it was simply not enough for the Brazilian, who seemed to be drawing energy from the local crowd.

Aerial master John John Florence also managed to continue to wow audiences through his display of aerial acrobatics. The Hawaiian threw together airs and combinations to wipe tour veteran C.J. Hobgood and Australian Matt Wilkinson in Heat 12.

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 Hawaiian John John Florence with some aerial acrobatics – photo by ASP

Stay tuned as we keep you up to date with everything from The Billabong Rio Pro. The swell is predicted to continue to rise and this weekend should allow more action to go down at the heavy beach break of Barra de Tijuca. Watch it live at aspworldtour.com or get all your information straight from us at the SurfStitch Blog!

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ROXY PRO KICKING OFF

This Wednesday the women’s World Tour rolls into France for the Roxy Pro. It’s been two months since the last women’s event in Brazil and anticipation is running high for the action to resume.

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Steph Gilmore in action earlier this year at Snapper Rocks.

Whilst Stephanie Gilmore’s undoubtedly the Euro crowd favourite, the main battle will be between current world number one Tyler Wright and Carissa Moore, who is snapping at her heels. Moore was crowned World Champ in 2011 but Tyler has had an impressive year and looks to be building momentum

What happens on the beaches of Biarritz is going to play a pivotal part in 2013 World Title race.

You can watch it live here.

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Carissa Moore decimated Bells Beach at the Rip Curl Pro. Can she catch Tyler Wright?

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Tyler Wright is fast bridging the gap between male and female surfers.

 ROXY PRO BIARRITZ ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Silvana Lima (BRA)

Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Laura Enever (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS)

Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS), Alana Blanchard (HAW), Lee Ann Curren (FRA)

Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL), Sofia Mulanovich (PER)

Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Sage Erickson (USA)

Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Coco Ho (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)

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5teph Gilmore and Alex Gray are here!

Alex Gray seems to be everywhere lately!  This clip documents him surfing (very well, in fact) all over the globe, with a number of appearances from the raw power that is Hawaii and Tahiti.  Alex shows us all just how much grit he has, all to the wonderful sounds of Tame Impala.  And you will love it!

Oh, and did you hear that Steph Gilmore just won her fifth crown in France?  Quiksilver just posted a lovely little video (so cute and washed-out!), to show the kinda surfer she is. We really like her, she is really, very special.  So click play and live!

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