BELLS' FIRST RING: The Women Get Underway at Rip Curl Women's Pro

After being spurned by Carissa Moore in front of her hometown crowd on the Gold Coast, you had to expect that when Steph Gilmore showed up at Bells it would be with a bit of a chip on her shoulder. As a general rule, world champs don't like losing to 15-year-olds. Needless to say, racking up the highest heat score of the day Steph made short work of Jacqueline Silva and Alana Blanchard.

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"It takes a fair bit of hard work (defending your title)," Steph said in an ASP press release. "Everyone is surfing so well this season and everyone's hungry for the win. It's definitely going to be a bit harder than last year."

Also a little different, last year Steph was being chased by Sofia, this year Steph's the one chasing Sofia. Considering that Sofia also made her heat at Bells, the race for '08 may end up being tighter than Obama/Clinton.

Quietly taking care of business in the first heat of the day was Layne Beachley. At some point somebody's bound to notice that Layne's still taking down the kids, and if people aren't careful—and by some freak chance the women's tour should be blessed by surf bigger than three feet—Layne could very easily get into cagey-veteran mode. Slater's doing it on the men's side, why not Layne on the women's side?
That's the scoop from Round 1, Day 1. The men haven't started yet, so you still have a few more hours to tweak your team. Get on it.

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Rip Curl Women's Pro pres. by Ford Fiesta Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Layne Beachley 11.34, Nicola Atherton 7.50, Julia De La Rosa 4.37
Heat 2: Megan Abubo 15.50, Claire Bevilacqua 11.83, Samantha Cornish 4.83
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore 17.40, Jacqueline Silva 14.33, Alana Blanchard 6.86
Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich 11.00, Jessi Miley-Dyer 10.50, Karina Petroni 8.40
Heat 5: Silvana Lima 13.00, Melanie Redman-Carr 9.66, Rosanne Hodge 7.04
Heat 6: Amee Donohoe 14.07, Serena Brooke 13.27, Rebecca Woods 12.64

Rip Curl Women's Pro pres. by Ford Fiesta Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Samantha Cornish 11.40, Rosanne Hodge 9.60, Alana Blanchard 9.00
Heat 2: Karina Petroni 12.50, Rebecca Woods 11.60, Julia De La Rosa 9.87

Upcoming Rip Curl Women's Pro pres. by Ford Fiesta Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Samantha Cornish vs. Nicola Atherton
Heat 2: Layne Beachley vs. Serena Brooke
Heat 3: Megan Abubo vs. Rosanne Hodge
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore vs. Karina Petroni
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich vs. Melanie Redman-Carr
Heat 6: Rebecca Woods vs. Jessi Miley-Dyer
Heat 7: Amee Donohoe vs. Jacqueline Silva
Heat 8: Silvana Lima vs. Claire Bevilacqua