Gilmore rides towards world title
FOUR-time women's world champ Stephanie Gilmore is on a steady march to recapture the title.
So far on the ASP world tour, Steph has had two wins (Snapper and New Zealand) and a second at Bells and yesterday easily requalified for the quarter-finals of the Commonwealth Bank Beachely Classic held at Dee Why Point on Sydney's northern beaches.
Gilmore has won this event three times and is on track for another commanding performance.
If she gets away with another win in tomorrow's final she will have opened an unassailable lead over her rivals.
After Dee Why there are only three events remaining to decide this year's women's world title.
A win tomorrow will put Steph in an almost unbeatable position.
In other words, with three wins on the board Gilmore would have to be a second-round loser and either Sally Fitzgibbons or Hawaii's defending world champ Carissa Moore would have to win the three remaining events to deny Steph.
It's not over yet but Steph is looking good to win back the number one ranking and a fifth world title.
At Playa Venao, Panama for the World ISA championships, the Surfing Australia junior team is sharing top honours with Peru, Hawaii, United States and France leading into the semi-finals.
Eleven of the 12 Australian team members are still in contention for the U18 boys, U18 girls and U16 boys.
Coolangatta's Ellie-Jean Coffey is one of those competitors only two rounds away from a final showing, after some stressful heats on the way through.
"I was trying to keep calm, but at the same time I had all this adrenaline. I just wanted to get a wave and smash it," Coffey said.
"I thought for sure I was knocked out. I think I fainted at one point, I was so happy. I was trying to do the Ring of Fire (the Australian team post-heat celebration), but I was crying," Coffey said, describing the emotion of wearing the green and gold.
"It's a big deal representing your country. I'm really patriotic and I really love my country. I'm proud to be an Australian, so coming here where everyone is supporting you and you've got the best team behind you, it means a real lot to me."
Good luck to the Aussies.