The big guns of women’s surfing have all advanced to the semi-finals of the Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach in Victoria.
Five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore saw off the challenge of dangerous tour rookie Dimity Stoyle on Tuesday to power into the semi-finals of the Rip Curl Pro.
With conditions worsening at Bells Beach, Gilmore kept her composure in the last quarter-final to win 13.17 points to 6.17 and set up a dream semi against fellow Australian star Tyler Wright.
It is Stoyle’s first time in the quarter-finals in what is becoming an ever more-impressive world championships rookie campaign by the diminutive Queenslander.
“Dimity has surprised everyone,” said Gilmore.
“She’s really come out here and had guns firing every single time.
“She’s going to put everything on the line and just go for it.
“They’re the most dangerous people to meet in heats because they risk a lot and can come out with the big scores.”
Wright looked to have made a tactical error midway through her quarter-final after missing a wave and handing priority to American opponent Lakey Peterson.
But the NSW surfer kept her cool, catching two good waves in the last 14 minutes to win 12.94 to 10.66.
“I made that little mistake but it paid off in the end so I’m very lucky,” said Wright, last year’s world title runner-up.
“I just rolled with it. I didn’t really panic or anything.
“When I saw a wave I wanted, I hoped for the best.
“It turned out that I got two good ones and that was it.
“You just adapt to what’s on offer.”
Sally Fitzgibbons was the first of three Australians through to the semis after edging out Hawaiian Malia Manuel in a high-scoring encounter 17.10 to 15.50.
The next challenge for the two-time winner at Bells is a clash with reigning world champion Carissa Moore.
Moore won an all-Hawaiian showdown against Coco Ho 17.84 to 13.77.
Organisers are hopeful of completing the men’s and women’s events on Wednesday, with Gilmore supportive of the decision to call a halt to the women’s event on Tuesday as conditions deteriorated late in the quarter-finals.
“I’m pretty keen to wait for a bit more swell,” said Gilmore.
“I’d love to see the girls and the guys finish on the same day.”