By Joel Patterson
March 6, 2010

Well, anyone who thought Carissa Moore's first full-time appearance on the women's world tour would end the Steph Era is officially wrong. In inconsistent, disorganized three-foot surf at Snapper Rocks on Australia's Gold Coast, three-time women's world champ Stephanie Gilmore continued to dominate female professional surfing by winning her third Roxy Pro in five years, beating Hawaii's Melanie Bartels soundly in a near repeat of last year's final.

Steph's surfing in the semis and finals today was simply at a different level than her counterparts on tour. Her turns are more committed, her tube riding more stylish, her combinations of maneuvers more modern. Yeah, this is her home break, so she better win this thing, but still, it's beautiful to watch the best female surfer in the world at the height of her powers.

But there were 17 other girls in the event, and two of them truly impressed. Rookie of the year in 2009, Coco Ho's surfing has vastly improved since her last Roxy Pro on the Goldy a year ago, and if she hadn't drawn Steph in the semis, she probably would have made the final. The other standout was Tyler Wright, who gave Steph her biggest challenge at Snapper. The commentators dubbed her older brother Owen "the Executioner," but if Tyler keeps surfing like she did on the Goldy, he may just have to share.

Just because women's competitive surfing is a foregone conclusion at the moment, that doesn't mean questions don't still remain. The most glaring of which seems to be: does marrying a women's event to a men's event help women's surfing or hinder it. They're given the spotlight of the men's tour and expected to thrill crowds with lesser surf. But if you send women out into great waves which forces the men's event to run in weaker surf the following day (as happened this year on the Goldy), everyone complains that event officials blew it. Can you grow up healthy and strong by eating scraps? Debate.

Regardless, the Carissa Era, while maybe predestined, seems less than imminent.

Best Wave
Steph's second wave in her semi against Coco (she got a 9.00 for it) could have easily been a 7-point ride in a men's event.

Strangest Airbrush
Steph's homage to River Phoenix.

A New Voice
Lisa Andersen's web commentary was calm, nuanced, and smooth. The former world champ may have a new profession.

Dj Vu
The Roxy Pro final between Steph and Melanie was a repeat of last years, all the way down to Melanie's unsuccessful late-heat rally.

Claimed It!
Adriano De Souza brought his trademark energy to the expression session and won it with a big air reverse.

Final Fantasy Surfer Results
2010 Roxy Pro Gold Coast:
18 – Claire Bevilacqua – 0 Points
17 – Nikita Robb – 50 Points
16 – Amee Donohoe – 93 Points
15 – Lee Ann Curren – 94 Points
14 – Paige Hareb – 95 Points
13 – Carissa Moore – 96 Points
12 – Rosanne Hodge – 97 Points
11 – Jessi Miley-Dyer – 98 Points
10 – Tyler Wright – 99 Points
9 – Bruna Schmitz – 100 Points
8 – Rebecca Woods – 120
7 – Sofia Mulanovich – 125
6 – Silvana Lima – 130
5 – Sally Fitzgibbons – 135
4 – Coco Ho – 190 Points
3 – Chelsea Hedges – 200 Points
2 – Melanie Bartels – 225 Points
1 – Stephanie Gilmore – 250 Points