Chelsea Georgeson Wins 2005 World Title, Billabong Pro and Triple Crown

Chelsea Georgeson achieved the ultimate trifecta today to become the only athlete in the history of women's surfing to win the Billabong Pro Maui, the {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown of Surfing and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women's World Championship Tour (WCT) title in one fail swoop. Her earnings today alone eclipsed $US20,000.

Defeating Jacqueline Silva (BRA) in solid eight foot (two and a half meter) waves in the final at Honolua Bay this afternoon, the 22-year-old from Tweed Heads, NSW, Australia cemented her status as female surfing's new superstar.

"I'm so happy. It's been one of the best days of my life and to have all of my friends and family here is just amazing!" Georgeson said after winning the event and subsequently, the Vans Triple Crown title – the honor bestowed upon the surfer who places highest overall in the three Triple Crown events held in Hawaii in November and December.

Georgeson, who is also the defending Billabong Pro Maui champion, succeeded her best friend and the only competitior capable of challenging her for the world title, Sofia Mulanovich (PER), as the ASP Women's World Champion today. The crown changed hands when reigning world champ Mulanovich fell to a last minute charge from Silva and was eliminated in the quarterfinals. Catching a wave with 28 seconds left in the heat, Silva garnered a score that put her three tenths of a point ahead of Mulanovich, earning her a semifinal showing and Georgeson a world title.

"I couldn't believe Jacqueline got that last wave. I wasn't really expecting it!" said Georgeson in disbelief when the upset occurred and her title was secured.

"I knew Sof was surfing so good and I thought it was going to come down to the final for sure. I was just thinking, 'Oh whatever, if she gets through that's sick (great) and if not that's good too,' It's been a really good year for both of us but it ended up a bit better for me!" Georgeson said.

We kept saying to each other, 'Keep going, keep going let's take it all the way through to the end,' because it would have been a really good end to the year if we both got through to the final. It would have been that much more exciting but it would've been really nerve racking too."

Mulanovich, who ended former world champion Layne Beachley's six year stranglehold on the title last year, surfed a tough defending title campaign and led the ASP ratings until the second to last event of the year. The Peruvian was gracious in defeat.

"I'm stoked for Chels. I tried not to think about it, but I thought about it a lot after Haleiwa and I was kind of prepared for it. I'm just stoked for her that she made it because she's the most amazing surfer ever and she deserves this a lot," Mulanovich said.

Several scenarios hinged on second-place Billabong Pro Maui finisher Jacqueline Silva's surfing today. In addition to defeating Mulanovich and cementing Georgeson's world title win, her fate in the final meant that Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) retained the tenth and final WCT qualifying spot for the 2006 ASP Women's World Tour. Had Silva won the final, she would have bumped Bevilacqua from the number 10 spot to qualify via the WCT instead of using her World Qualifying Series (WQS) result. Melanie Bartels (HAW) would have then been next in line to qualify from the WQS.

Current WCT competitors who did not qualify for the 2006 ASP Women's World Tour include Maria Tita Tavares (BRA), Melanie Bartels (HAW) and Laurina McGrath (AUS). Tavares has been a staple on the Women's World Tour for the past seven years and usually enjoys great success on the WQS as well. Unfortunately, because the 30-year-old is now sponsorless, she could not afford to contest both tours this year and was unable to use the WQS as a safety net. Bartels and McGrath, who have competed on the WCT for the past two years, tried to cover their tracks on the 'QS too, but occupying the two spots just below the cutoff on that tour, narrowly missed requalification. All three surfers will be eager to regain their spots in 2007 and will do their best to earn them via the WQS next year.

Though Heather Clark (ZAF) did not requalify via her WCT or WQS results, she was awarded the 2006 ASP Wildcard and will be on tour again next year. Both Clark and McGrath had applied for the wildcard citing injuries, but strong cases from both parties heralded a decision from the ASP Board of Directors to give the wildcard to the highest placing surfer in this event. Joining the 2006 Women's World Championship Tour roster from the qualifying series will be Silvana Lima (BRA), Jessica Miley-Dyer (AUS) and Julia Christian (USA).

1st = 1200 ratings points and US$10,000, 2nd = 972 ratings points and US$6,000Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA)

1st advances to FINAL, 2nd finishes equal 3rd and receives US$4,250{{{H1}}}: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 11.50 def. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 11.25
{{{H2}}}: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 14.75 def. Heather Clark (AUS) 14.25

1st advances to SEMIFINALS, 2nd finishes equal 5th and receives US$3,500H1: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 16.00 def. Maria Tita Tavares (BRA) 8.00
H2: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 14.{{{90}}} def. Trudy Todd (AUS) 11.50
{{{H3}}}: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.{{{80}}} def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.50
H4: Heather Clark (AUS) 12.75 def. Laurina McGrath (AUS) 11.25