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Melanie Bartels totaled 14.16 points out of 20 to win the Roxy Pro yesterday at Sunset Beach.
Bartels brings new attitude to world tour
The surfer from Waianae is focused enough to earn her biggest win at Sunset Beach
Professional surfer Melanie Bartels has been saying recently that she feels like a different person -- hungry and focused for competitive success for the first time in her career.
After winning the Roxy Pro yesterday at Sunset Beach in dramatic fashion, the 24-year-old from Waianae has now turned in the performance and earned the hardware to back up her sentiments.
With only about a minute remaining in the half-hour, four-woman final of the contest that serves as the second jewel of the women's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and penultimate event on their World Championship Tour, Bartels scraped her way into a set wave and pulled off two big maneuvers to earn 7.33 (out of 10) points and the monumental victory.
"I knew I needed to catch one more wave, and I'm so stoked it turned out to be a good one," said Bartels, also $10,000 richer after the biggest win of her career. "This is a dream come true. I'm from the West Side, and there's not much there. But I'm a new person in it to win it."
Waves were in the 5- to 10-foot-face range at the famed North Shore break.
Bartels first executed a huge forehanded snap on that winning wave, and followed with a cover-up in its barreling section before a smaller turn on the shoulder. Her score was added to a 6.83 she received earlier for an overall heat total of 14.16.
Bartels' first keeper came on the first wave she rode in the decider, only 3 minutes in. She rode three other waves between that one and her last, but none of them managed to score even 2 points.
As a non-WCT surfer, she had to survive the trials portion on the first day of the two-day Roxy just to get into its 18-surfer main draw. And, in the past, Bartels was a surfer who could appear to easily get frustrated and not care when things weren't going her way.
But despite a case of nerves, she did not give up this time.
"It was scary, but I was just hoping for the best," said the former WCT surfer, who will rejoin the elite tour next year after finishing No. 3 on the World Qualifying Series this season. "I'm really fortunate to have won."
In her first year of competing in Hawaii and after also surfing through the Roxy trials, Australia's Stephanie Gilmore led for most of the final, but finished in second place with 13.50 total points. It was the second straight runner-up result for the 18-year-old in this year's Triple Crown, and she now has the lead for the championship title that goes to the best overall performer in the series.
Gilmore will be making her WCT debut next year after finishing as the WQS No. 2. But since the upcoming Billabong Pro Maui at Honolua Bay is also a WCT event as well as the Triple Crown finale, she has not yet received word if she will get the opportunity to again surf in the trials segment and potentially win the prestigious series championship.
"I'm still stoked. Mel's been blowing up the whole event, and another second is all right," Gilmore said. A chance to win the Triple Crown "would be amazing. Hopefully I can get in (to the finale), because that wave on Maui is so good."
Futilely struggling the entire heat to find even a single decent ride, Rochelle Ballard (Hawaii) took third with a 4.20 total, and defending world and Triple Crown champion Chelsea Georgeson (Australia) fourth with 3.74.
Current world No. 1 Layne Beachley of Australia was eliminated in the semifinals, which prevented her from extending her own record to a seventh career world championship before the upcoming Billabong Pro.
Only No. 2 Melanie Redman-Carr of Australia -- who also went down in the semis -- and No. 3 Georgeson also remain in contention for this year's world title.
Also yesterday at Sunset, the last 12 heats of the third round of the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing were completed. Among the names advancing to the final day of competition in the second jewel of the men's Triple Crown were Kauai's Andy Irons -- the defending Triple Crown champ and winner of this year's first jewel -- and Florida's Kelly Slater, the current and record eight-time world champ. Defending event champion Jake Paterson (Australia) and 2001 event and Triple Crown winner Myles Padaca (Hawaii) were among those eliminated from the competition during the round.