CARCAVELOS, Cascais/Portugal (Thursday, October 3, 2013) - The EDP Cascais Girls Pro presented by Billabong kicked off competition this morning, completing Round 1 in punchy two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at the primary venue of Carcavelos.
Event No. 8 of 8 on the 2013 ASP Women's World Championship Tour (WCT), the EDP Cascais Girls Pro will decide the 2013 ASP Women's World Champion as well as the elite ASP Top 17 field for next season.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, reigning five-time ASP Women's World Champion, has bowed out of the women's world title race in 2013, but the stylish natural-footer remains a threat throughout all rounds of competition as she showed today with an emphatic Round 1 win over rookie Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), 19, and Silvana Lima, 28.
"The pressure is off for me at this event," Gilmore said. "I'm just going out and surfing and having fun and that's allowed me to relax a lot more in my heats. The waves out there today are not ideal, but there are some good sections and my boards were feeling good today. Happy to be in Portugal."
Without Gilmore in the hunt for the 2013 ASP Women's World Title, two surfers are circling the throne: Carissa Moore (HAW), 21, and Tyler Wright (AUS), 19.
Moore posted an emphatic Round 1 win over fellow Hawaiian Malia Manuel (HAW), 20, and wildcard Teresa Bonvalot (PRT), 13. The young Hawaiian was in sizzling form with her forehand approach, crushing the Carcavelos sections with unmatched power and speed.
"I've been splitting my warm-up time here between Carcavelos and Guincho as it looks like we'll be competing at both sites," Moore said. "It's a little tricky out there today, but my equipment felt good and I'm just looking for the best result I can achieve here in Cascais. I know Tyler (Wright) is close in the ratings and I just have to go out and surf my best. Stoked to post a Round 1 win though and we'll see what the next couple of days bring."
Wright immediately followed up Moore's Round 1 win with one of her own, blitzing the challenging midday conditions and advancing directly to Round 3 of competition.
"The board I'm on right now is a Mayhem and it feels comfortable, free and fast - just how I like my surfing," Wright said.
The Hawaiian and Australian possess two distinct approaches the final event of the season with Wright opting to focus on the moment as opposed to the year-end result.
"I don't have goals," Wright said. "It creates pressure for me and I don't like that so I don't set them. All I want to do is go out and surf and that ultimately serves me best."
Courtney Conlogue (USA), 21, current ASP Women's WCT No. 4, looked comfortable in today's Round 1 conditions, navigating the punchy beachbreak with ease and advancing directly to Round 3.
"Conditions are very similar to home at Huntington Beach," Conlogue said. "Just like Southside Pier, stormy conditions. It's very shifty and you have to be able to adapt. Stoked to get through though and hopefully conditions clean up in the coming days."
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 22, and Lakey Peterson (USA), 19, closed the day out with respective wins, advancing dirrecly to Round 3 of competition.
When competition resumes, up first will be Alana Blanchard (HAW), 23, up against Silvana Lima (BRA), 29, in the opening heat of Round 2.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
Highlights from the EDP Cascais Girls Pro presented by Billabong will be available via www.aspeurope.com/edpcascais
For more information, visit www.aspworldtour.com
EDP CASCAIS GIRLS PRO ROUND 1 RESULTS -
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.67, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.67, Silvana Lima (BRA) 11.37
Heat 2: Courtney Courtney (USA) 14.33, Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.07, Sage Erickson (USA) 8.17
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.24, Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.80, Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) 6.56
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.53, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 9.60, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 8.56
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.93, Laura Enever (AUS) 12.70, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.53
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.00, Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.30, Coco Ho (HAW) 7.36
EDP CASCAIS GIRLS PRO ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS -
Heat 1: Alana Blanchard (HAW) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 3: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Teresa Bonvalot (PRT)
Heat 4: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Heat 5: Pauline Ado (FRA) vs. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)