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Gidget gets serious: Moore wins, Gilmore clinches


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POSTED: Sunday, November 29, 2009

Women's surfing ascended a level in professional sports yesterday at the Gidget Pro, the second jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

Honolulu's Carissa Moore, 17, won the penultimate World Championship Tour event at Sunset Beach in 12- to 20-foot wave faces.

She wasn't the only winner. Australia's Stephanie Gilmore, 21, earned her third consecutive Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship before the final heat of the day.

Both momentous feats were achieved in serious Sunset Beach surf. The four finalists of the Gidget Pro—all 21 or younger—displayed bravado and brilliant surfing in waves of consequence. This event showcased the ability and performance of women in giant surf. Moore, the 2009 Gidget Pro champ, was grateful that contest officials allowed the women to compete in big waves

“;The conditions were pretty phenomenal out at Sunset,”; said Moore, who is a senior at Punahou. “;It got bigger throughout the day, it was really clean and coming out more from the west so (the waves) were really winding up. I was so stoked that they put the girls out and it was a great day.”;

The men of the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing competed in the morning yesterday, finishing the first round. But at 12:30 p.m., the women of the Gidget Pro took to the water much to the dismay of some prominent male surfers. It was a good call, though, because the female competitors of the Gidget Pro didn't disappoint. There was plenty of drama and high-performance surfing in the last seven heats of the Gidget Pro.

The world title race between Brazilian Silvana Lima, Hawaii's Coco Ho and Gilmore came to a head in the semifinals. When Ho, who is a rookie on the world tour, failed to advance out of the second semifinal, it allowed Gilmore to capture her third consecutive championship.

“;The first (world title) was a relief, the second one was really satisfying and the third one I can't even comprehend, but it's really sweet to win again,”; said Gilmore.

“;Sunset Beach is so nerve-wracking and really scary. “;I think that's why it's so special at the same time, because it's such a challenging wave. To go out there and do well at 'real' Sunset just makes it so much sweeter.”;

After the semifinal, Gilmore found out she won the world title and conceded that she felt relaxed during the 30-minute final. While Gilmore reveled another title, Moore went to work disposing of Gilmore, Alana Blanchard and Sally Fitzgibbons in the final.

Moore jumped from fourth to first place in the form on an 8-foot bomb with an air drop and big-top turn that earned a 7.57 out of a possible 10 points.

“;I was actually really nervous because I was in fourth, but I wanted to just go for it,”; said Moore of her winning ride. “;I didn't think I was going to make the drop ... but I wanted to make the most out of the wave. I didn't really think it was that gnarly, but it was all good.”;