Gilmore captures fourth Maui Women’s Pro title
Six-time world champion tops Kauai’s Manuel in final at Honolua Bay
Australian Stephanie Gilmore won her fourth Maui Women’s Pro title Friday, defeating Malia Manuel of Kauai 15.20-11.90 in the final at Honolua Bay.
Earlier in the semifinals, Gilmore, a six-time world champion, defeated fellow Aussie Tyler Wright, who was fresh off clinching her second straight World Surf League world title when she defeated wild-card entry Brisa Hennessey of Kailua, Oahu, in the quarterfinals Thursday.
Gilmore’s last win at Honolua was eight years ago.
“It’s magical,” she said Friday. “I really, really love this place, the waves, the sun. It was an unreal day, an unreal two days.”
Gilmore didn’t get off to the best start when the contest started on Wednesday. She was in the first heat with Manuel and Nikki Van Dijk, another Aussie. She placed second to Manuel in the non-elimination heat.
“That was tough,” Gilmore said. “I was a little nervous and it was the first heat. You have to be on the best waves and don’t fall. I think I figured it out.”
Gilmore figured it out faster than a pinching close-out wave section.
She had the highest two-wave score in round two, round three (tying with Wright) and the quarterfinals.
In the final against Manuel, Gilmore caught the first wave and scored a 6.67 with two critical turns in the pocket.
“I knew the swell was dying. I thought, ‘Don’t get stuck out there waiting for a bomb because it may never come.’ I just wanted to attack the little inside waves.
“My plan was just to stay busy, I knew Malia was going to be really patient. Every time I fell off a wave or was paddling back out I was just praying that there wasn’t a set coming. I knew Malia was going to be on a bomb and it was going to be all over.”
In her semifinal, Manuel waited patiently for the set waves and caught only two in her 35-minute session, but she scored an 8.00 and an 8.10 to easily defeat Bronte Macaulay of Australia, 16.10-10.00.
In the final, Manuel scored a 7.30 on her first wave, while Gilmore had a 6.67 and a 6.00. That put the pressure on Manuel to get a back-up wave with time running down in their 40-minute heat. Manuel finally caught an inside wave for a 4.60, still short of Gilmore’s total. Gilmore then rode one more, making three tight turns for an 8.53, ending Manuel’s bid for her first WSL victory.
It was Gilmore’s 27th WSL win. She feels women’s surfing has really improved since she last won at Honolua in 2009.
“We’re riding shorter boards, we’re able to fit more maneuvers in tighter sections. It’s a natural progression, we’re all getting better,” Gilmore said.
“The best part is every day I’ve been here I’ve seen so many young girls free surfing, and they’re all surfing so good. It’s really inspirational to see see these young girls out there. They’re going to be the next generation that’ll be here competing at this event, and surfing even better than we were.”
WORLD SURF LEAGUE
MAUI WOMEN’S PRO
At Honolua Bay
Heat 1–Stephanie Gilmore, Australia, def. Tyler Wright, Australia, 15.87-14.43.
Heat 2–Malia Manuel, Hawaii, def. Bronte Macaulay, Australia, 16.10-10.00.
Stephanie Gilmore, Australia, def. Malia Manuel, Hawaii, 15.20-11.90.
WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP TOUR
Final Standings (Top 10)
1. Tyler Wright, Australia, 54,400 points
2. Stephanie Gilmore, Australia, 53,400
3. Sally Fitzgibbons, Australia, 52,900
4. Courtney Conlogue, USA, 50,000
5. Carissa Moore, Hawaii, 49,200
6. Lakey Peterson, USA, 44,100
7. Nikki Van Dijk, Australia, 43,900
8. Sage Erickson, USA, 42,350
9. Johanne Defray, France, 40,000
10. Tatiana Weston-Webb, Hawaii, 36,150
MAUI WOMEN’S PRO CHAMPIONS
2017–Stephanie Gilmore, Australia
2016–Tyler Wright, Australia
2015–Carissa Moore, Hawaii
2014–Carissa Moore, Hawaii
2009–Stephanie Gilmore, Australia
2008–Stephanie Gilmore, Australia
2007–Stephanie Gilmore, Australia
2006–Jessi Miley-Dyer, Australia
2005–Chelsea Georgeson, Australia
2004–Chelsea Georgeson, Australia
2003–Samantha Cornish, Australia
2002–Jacqueline Silva, Brazil
2001–Neridah Falconer, Australia
2000–Neridah Falconer, Australia
1999–Trudy Todd, Australia