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Blanchard beats Gilmore to win women's Hawaiian Pro


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POSTED: Friday, November 20, 2009

Kauai's Alana Blanchard won the Vans Hawaiian Pro yesterday at Alii Beach Park. The 19-year-old from Kauai used the head-high, left-breaking waves to win the first jewel of the women's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. This was a specialty event, and it allowed Blanchard to relax in the final.

“;This is just a fun contest because it doesn't have to do anything with ratings,”; said Blanchard. “;I was trying to have fun and hang out with my friends.”;

Blanchard's relaxed approach to the final helped her beat current Association of Surfing Professionals champion Stephanie Gilmore. Gilmore finished runner-up, with former world champ Sofia Mulanovich in third place and Rebecca Woods in fourth.

While Gilmore finished in second place, the two-time world champ was still stoked with her performance yesterday.

“;It wasn't normal Haleiwa, but I was pretty happy to make the final,”; said Gilmore, who is also the reigning Triple Crown champion. “;I'm not a big fan of the left, but that's what we had out there and that's what we had to do. The lefts are good and Alana got the best one.”;

The ultra-talented final heat was a close battle, but Blanchard solidified her victory with a 7.83 out of a possible 10-point ride that was capped off with a gnarly floater.

“;It was a medium-sized wave,”; said Blanchard of her winning wave. “;I just tried to do as much turns as I could, finish the wave and not fall. I knew I needed a pretty good score, so I tried to wait for a good wave.”;

The waiting game paid off for Blanchard and gave her a two-wave total of 14.83 out of a possible 20 points, narrowly edging out Gilmore's 13.04. According to Blanchard, this is the biggest victory in her short career despite her having won the women's Pipeline contest twice.

“;Those events were really good,”; Blanchard said of the two victories at Pipeline in 2005 and 2007. “;But, this one is definitely really special because it's part of the Triple Crown and I'm older now. It feels a lot better to win one of these.”;

With this victory Blanchard is leading the field of competition in the women's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing and is on track to win the $25,000 prize and her first Triple Crown title.

“;(The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing) means a lot to me because I'm from Hawaii,”; said Blanchard. “;Ever since I was little I heard a lot of Triple Crown, so it's really special to me.”;