If you wanted a glimpse into the future of women's professional surfing, you should have tuned in today for Round One, Heat Three of the Roxy Pro: Reigning women's world champ Stephanie Gilmore versus wildcard Carissa Moore.
And while Florida rookie Karina Petroni was also made her WCT debut in the heat, without questions all eyes on the packed beach were clearly on the two superstars. As fun-sized wind swell peaks popped up and down the D-Bah sandbars, Gilmore and Moore went hack for hack, demonstrating exactly why they're so highly touted.
"It's a dream match-up," remarked Chris Moore to the Big Island's Monica Byrne-Wickey, who's over cruising and surfing the Gold Coast with Coco Ho and some of her other Hawaiian crew. "To prove you're the best you have to surf against the best. What girl wouldn't want to surf against Steph?"
That being said, proving that women's surfing is catching on around the world, out of the 18 girls surfing in the main event, six different countries were represented. Notables on the day included Sofia Mulanovich, who after finishing in the runner-up slot last year seems intent on giving Steph another go in 2008. And beyond Carissa, Hawaii made its presence even more apparent thanks to would tour lifer Megan Abubo, as well as the ever-innovative Westside talent, Melanie Bartels. And then there's Brazil's highly touted Silvana Lima, who over the course of the last couple of years has proved she definitely could be a contender.
After record heat yesterday for the men's start, today, while a bit smaller, was thankfully also a bit cooler. There seems to be a bit of swell in the long term forecast, and with only a day left to run the women's event they could be in store for a cracker of a final. There are three days left on the men's side, and judging by the match-ups, whether it goes off in two-foot D-Bah or pumping Snapper, it's going to be interesting.