2011 ASP Women’s World Tour Preview

Patagonia SwimwearPresented by InsuranceSurfers.com As the 2011 ASP Women's World Tour kicked off with the Roxy Pro Gold Coast late last week, we thought we had blown our opportunity to get this "preview" online before the event had completed. Luckily for us, the ocean stopped delivering waves to Snapper Rocks which gave us a chance to put the feature together. We mixed it up this year and asked a panel of surfers who they thought would finish in the Top 5 at year's end. As predictions poured into the office, we were surprised how similar the majority of them were. Overwhelmingly, our panel of world champions and past, present and future superstars gave the nod to Stephanie Gilmore as over 70% of them predicted that she would win her fifth straight world title. Which surfers could be standing in the way of Steph achieving another world title? Read on and see... -Chris Grant
1. Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 1 - www.stephgilmore.blogspot.com
Stephanie Gilmore. Photo © ASP / Cestari 4X ASP Women's World Champ, Stephanie Gilmore. Photo © ASP / Cestari "It's hard to go past Steph for number 1. She is an amazing surfer who excels in all conditions. I think she will be challenged more the ever for her title this year especially from Tyler Wright who I did consider has the ability to potentially knock her off the perch. But Steph has that valuable experience, beautiful style and I reckon she will flare more then ever to hold onto that number #1 spot." - Amee Donohoe "Steph Gilmore is an unstoppable machine. No other girl surfs with her power, fluidity, and maturity." - Bo Stanley "Steph Gilmore's immeasurable, too much style to document and so much more than just a one dimensional tour surfer. No one comes close to her." - Jessica Grimwood "It would be just awesome if Steph wins her 5th world title ...in her 5th year on tour!!!!" - Valeria Sole' "What stands out mostly about Steph is her speed... That is one of the main differences between the men and the women, but Steph surfs fast, with power and flow. She will be on top until one of the girls steps it up a notch. Big or small, Steph is consistent with no bobbles in her surfing... smooth... and always my number one pick." - Paige Alms "My gut reaction is not put Stephanie Gilmore any lower than number one. No one else has proven that they can remain psychologically strong throughout the entire year. On the other hand, I want to place her second or third for this year and am hopeful that someone will break the very thick ice that has set in over the past four years. I heard a funny rumour that Steph was pissed at my power rankings on Surfline because I ripped some of the girls pretty hard. The funny thing is she did the same in the water and seems to have no qualms with that. Well, good on ya Steph. I am still putting you #1 for the fifth year running. Even though airs are the future, women’s surfing is still struggling with stylistic consistency and flowing maneuvers and Steph’s got both in spades. (And btw, the rumours that I can’t surf aren’t true. Sorry I know it’s easier to believe that the critic’s a kook, but not this time)." - Di Mattison
2. Carissa Moore (Hawaii) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 3 - www.carissamoore.com
Carissa Moore. Photo © ASP / Cestari With two wins on the 2010 World Tour, Carissa Moore looks to be a serious threat to take it all in 2011. Photo © ASP / Cestari "Carissa's beginning to put her talent and game together." - Rochelle Ballard "Carissa Moore! Kaisers and Bowls pride right here!! I grew up watching Carissa surf all my South Shore spots. She is such an awesome girl inside and out and obviously is going to take over the world of women's surfing sooner than later. Sista is mind boggling! Need I say more..." - Shea Hodges "She's Carissa Moore." - Sara Taylor "Carissa will win the world title in 2012. Slight chance she’ll even win this year. She’s got the whole package for sure. New Zealand and Portugal were clear signs of her ascendancy. Oh and two tour wins in a rookie season is not too shabby either. The key to Carissa’s final result is going to be wave selection. She has the tricks, the power, the style, and she’ll just need waves to execute. So yeah 2nd place, but just barely." - Di Mattison "Carissa Moore's a fan favorite who rarely dissapoints. However, she is young and her inexperience might leave her one spot short of number one. She will for sure be ripping but may get distracted by all the bright lights." - Lauren Sweeney
3. Sally Fitzgibbons (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 2 - www.sallyfitzgibbons.com
Sally Fitzgibbons. Photo © ASP / Robertson Currently second in the world, Sally Fitzgibbons will be looking to secure her maiden CT victory in 2011. Photo © ASP / Robertson - Kim Wooldridge "This guestimating stuff is so difficult because I really want to see Sally take a world title, but my prophetic powers suggest that it won’t be this year. She’ll stay at the top with the way she’s able to drop multiple high scores in every heat. I also have a secret notion that she read my power rankings and made stylistic adjustments per my recommendations, because I felt that there was so much more flow going on in her turns in 2010. Now that the style and flow have mixed with the power and amp, peaking before the final remains her Achilles heal. All champions figure out how to do this and so will Sally before she becomes one." - Di Mattison "Sally will soon be unbeatable." - Wini Paul "2010 was a great year for Sally, quite a few runner-ups and semis. This year I foresee her first CT win, no doubt. Sally will definitely be in the top 5 at every contest, she is a very consistent competitor and will go out and get a 9 while everyone else is getting 6's..." - Paige Alms "Sally and Courtney, I cant really decide between these two. Personally, I think they carry the same components ...both great all-around athletes with high levels of consistency which will have to put them on the upper side of the ladder. They're both able to perform in poor wave conditions so having some new not-so-high-performance wave destinations wont faze them. Both definitely have the ability to take a win, just need to add the flare at the right time." - Amee Donohoe "Because Sally is strong and was close last year ...this is her year." - Nicole Grodesky
4. Silvana Lima (Brazil) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 4 - www.silvanalima.com.br
Silvana Lima. Photo © ASP / Kirstin Although better known for her air assault, Silvana Lima charges the big stuff as well. Photo © ASP / Kirstin "This is going to be the year that Silvana turns on the afterburners and blows people away. She doesn't really have a choice but to rip, tear, and lacerate her way to the top seeing that the young guns on tour this year are going to be chomping at the bit. Can't wait to see her shred the gnar!" -Lauren Sweeney "With so much new school focus, credit is always due to those who have stamped their position. Silvana would have to be the most progressive surfer in there. Landing airs daily, always a title contender with that bag of tricks, how could she not be? You would have to be stupid to discount this Brazilian at being more than an arm's length away from that trophy." - Amee Donohoe "Silvana's a bad ass!" - Rochelle Ballard "She’ll hold off the rest of the rookies. Always a threat for the title. Consistency has dogged her the past few years. She posts 10s and then 1s. Huge talent. Amazing style. Amazing barrel rider. I’d actually really like to see Silvana prove this whole list wrong and come out on top, but like I constantly repeated in the year I did the power rankings, she’s got to pull those airs and nuts barrels in nearly every heat, and especially in the semis and finals. Her career trajectory actually reminds me a lot of Taj Burrow, who talent-wise is certainly world-title worthy, but just can’t seem to string the event wins together at the right point in the season. Here’s hoping against the odds." - Di Mattison "Silvana Lima because she slays it! Besides Melanie Bartels and Courtney Conlogue the only other girl surfer that surfs like a guy. SO powerful, charges, and boosts!!!" - Shea Hodges "Silvana Lima just plain rips and surfs with so much risk and aggression. Sick to watch." - Sara Taylor
5. Tyler Wright (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: Rookie - www.ripcurl.com.au
Tyler Wright. Photo © ASP / Kirstin A stellar 2010 Hawaiian season put the world on notice that Tyler Wright is a very well-rounded surfer. Photo © ASP / Kirstin "Tyler Wright, the best surfer I've seen." - Rochelle Ballard "Tyler has it I think. She's going to be a big threat. She's young, talented, athletic, driven and froths to surf and push her level of surfing more then most. She's not the least bit fazed about any of her rivals and knows how to win consistently. As we have all seen before its only a matter of time before she jumps a spot." - Amee Donohoe "Tyler's fresh, aggressive, focused and rides for Powerbase fins like her bro Owen (I work for them too so I gotta support the team!)." - Jessica Grimwood "Tyler's my "bolter" depends on which high seed she catches in the 3rd round, and if she can handle everything that comes along being so young and on tour." - Kim Wooldridge "It's only Tyler's first year on the tour and she's only 16 but that's why I think she'll do well. After watching her at the Triple Crown this year she's shown that she has the drive to succeed." - Emily Wratschko
6. Coco Ho (Hawaii) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 7
Coco Ho. Photo © ASP / Robertson"Always a strong surfer in all conditions. Coco's throw tails on her forehand and backhand are mind boggling even for some of the boys. I see Coco doing well this year from the start at Snapper... Pull those airs Cokes 'n you'd be unstoppable!" - Paige Alms
7. Courtney Conlogue (United States) - 2010 ASP Ranking: Rookie
Courtney Conlogue. Photo © ASP / Robertson"Courtney Conlogue is definitely making a statement slowly but surely. If you're paying attention you cant miss her exciting backhand snap 360s or getting spit out of a nuts heaving barrel in Indo somewhere. Again... if politics weren't involved we would see a lot more of her smooth reverses and spitting barrels in some hipsteresqe, sepia colored, techno filled surf segment. Instead she's training all day to pull into bigger barrels than you!" - Shea Hodges
8. Melanie Bartels (Hawaii) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 8
Melanie Bartels. Photo © ASP / Rowland"#1 stunna in my eyes is Bartels! Ya Mel may not be as good of a contest surfer as Steph or Silvana, but when she's got a travel fund, the politics aren't involved, and that bag of tricks opens up she'll wax everyone! 96792!" - Shea Hodges
9. Chelsea Hedges (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: 6
Chelsea Hedges. Photo © ASP / Morris"Chelsea is my pick for number 3 ...if she does the whole tour. She has no sponsor or cash, and is totally ripping in everything, would love to see it big and barrelling for her. Damn, where's Chopes for the girls?" - Kim Wooldridge
10. Laura Enever (Australia) - 2010 ASP Ranking: Rookie
Laura Enever. Photo © ASP / Kirstin"In my humble opinion, a wild card pick for Top 5." - Nicole Grodesky

Special thanks to the following surfers for participating in our 2011 ASP Women's World Tour Preview: Paige Alms, Jamie Baittinger, Rochelle Ballard, Wendy Botha, Serena Brooke, Chloe Buckley, Meah Collins, Shelby Detmers, Amee Donohoe, Jessica Grimwood, Nicole Grodesky, Bethany Hamilton, Shea Hodges, Alexia Jeri, Di Mattison, Kim Mearig, Wini Paul, Lakey Peterson, Marissa Shaw, Jolene Smith, Valeria Sole', Bo Stanley, Lauren Sweeney, Sara Taylor, Valentina Vitale, Kim Wooldridge, and Emily Wratschko. *Click the link to check out the Complete List of Our Top 5 ASP Picks as chosen by all of the surfers named above.

A Little North of Absurd

Melanie Bartels surf photo by Chris Grant, JettyGirl.com

Melanie Bartels in Huntington Beach, California. Photo: Chris Grant / JettyGirl.com

[ An opinion piece originally written in March of 2010 but sadly still relevant one year later. ] I'm a big fan of pro surfing, always have been. I know it's not always cool to like the professional aspect of surfing but since I enjoy watching other paid athletes competing in their chosen fields, it's a natural fit for me to sit on the sand and view the best of the best pushing the limits in surf contests as well. Enter the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour which kicked off a week or so ago at the Roxy Pro held at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast... This isn't a contest review so let's just fast forward to the Finals where Hawaii's Melanie Bartels met up with World Champ Stephanie Gilmore. Despite the exciting lead-up to the Final, the waves were lackluster at best and Stephanie Gilmore started off where she left off last year, atop the winner's podium with a well-deserved victory. Surfing aside, what caught my eye (and ear) most about the day was a live interview with Melanie Bartels as she left the water after the Semifinals. Following the joyous acknowledgement of making the Final and after graciously thanking her shaper and accessory sponsor, Mel looked into the camera and speaking directly to the "Surf Industry" (i.e. the surf apparel industry) asked something to the effect of, "Can someone sponsor me please?" There was a bit of uncomfortable silence, some half-laughter and a quick conversation change by the commentators but the question was hung out there and now deserves an answer. The ball is now in your court "Surf Industry." How will you answer Mel's inquiry? I ask as well ...how is one of the most talented females to ever ride a surfboard not sponsored by one of you? Is she not blonde enough, too Hawaiian for your taste or does she simply not kiss enough corporate behinds? If she donned a tiny bikini and extended out her bottom turns, would that help her case? One of the world's most progressive female surfers is sponsorless and that is simply absurd. -Chris Grant
One final note: The 2011 ASP Women's World Tour is set to kick-off in less than three weeks. As of this moment nearly 30% of the female surfers on the World Tour don't have a major sponsor.

ASP Top 17 Determined for 2011 Season

For Immediate Release Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) International - ASP Women’s World Tour 2011 Tyler Wright (AUS), 16, one of the new faces you’ll be seeing on the 2011 ASP Women’s World Tour. Credit: © ASP / CESTARI Pictured: Tyler Wright (AUS), 16, one of the new faces you’ll be seeing on the 2011 ASP Women’s World Tour. Credit:© ASP / CESTARI ASP Top 17 Determined for 2011 ASP Women’s World Tour Season HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Sunday, January 2, 2011) –The 2011 ASP Top 17 have been determined, ushering in one of the most exciting fields of women surfers in the history of the sport. With the allocation of the ASP Wildcard (going to Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 24), the ASP Top 17 has been set, comprised of the Top 10 finishers from the 2010 ASP World Tour, the top six finishers on the ASP Women’s World Rankings and the ASP wildcard. “With the allocation of the ASP Wildcard, the 2011 ASP Top 17 have been finalized with the seed list below,” Renato Hickel, ASP World Tour Manager, said. “We have an excellent field of girls on tour and a solid schedule. We’re excited for a big year in 2011.” 1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 2. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 4. Silvana Lima (BRA) 5. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 6. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 7. Coco Ho (HAW) 8. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9. Paige Hareb (NZL) 10. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) * ASP Wildcard 12. Laura Enever (AUS) 13. Tyler Wright (AUS) 14. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 16. Pauline Ado (FRA) 17. Alana Blanchard (HAW) The first stop on the 2011 ASP Women’s World Tour will be the Roxy Pro Gold Coast from February 26 through March 9, 2011. For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com