Talk about a long slog. After waiting idly at Honolua Bay for the better part of two weeks Event Director Dino Andino, along with his dream team on Maui, made the call to jump over to the Ho'okipa for the conclusion of the Billabong Pro Maui. Like you might have guessed Kelly was going to win the Pipe Masters, if you guessed that Steph Gilmore was going to win on the Valley Isle you would have been dead on. And while it may not have been the epic Honolua that the girls (and guys) were hoping for, it did lock in Steph's reputation as the girl to beat.
After clinching her second world title at Sunset she's now locked in Triple Crown honors as wellthe first of her career. "It feels incredible to win the Vans Triple Crown Title," said Steph during an impromptu press conference in the beach park. "We had really fun waves at Haleiwa and then solid surf at Sunset Beach and we had a beautiful opening day of competition at Honolua Bay before finishing today at Ho'okipa. It's a real honor to be considered a good surfer in Hawaii and in such a variety of conditions."
"To win so much in my short career is incredible and it feels great, but I know there is so much more to accomplish," continued Steph. "I had that heat with Layne [Beachley] today, and to see what she's accomplished in her career makes me that much hungrier to continue to perform at my best."
And speaking of Layne, who surfed in her last contest as a full-time, full-on ASP pro, she had the same sentiments about Steph:
"I think it was a great way to go out," said Layne after Steph knocked her out in the quarters. "We all have to lose sometime and to go down to Steph, who I consider my protégé and the one I am passing the torch to, is probably the most fitting way."
As mentioned, after 19 years Layne's hanging it up…sort of. She still plans on doing a few select events next year.
"It's difficult reflecting on something like this (retirement)," she told the media. "Of course I would have liked to go out with a win and on-top, but I also feel like this past season and these past events haven't defined my career. I've won seven ASP Women's World Titles and have had an incredible journey of a career so I suppose the most rewarding part of this is that I'm leaving professional women's surfing in the hands of such capable and exciting young surfers."
So, there you go. Layne's done. Steph won, and the year's wrapped up nicely. Sorry for repurposing all the quotes from an ASP press release, but waiting out a two-week waiting period on windblown Maui is not how I wanted to spend the holidays. A huge pat on the back goes out to Dino who pulled all the right strings and actually got some good surf for the final day.
2008 ASP WOMEN'S WORLD TOUR FINAL RATINGS:
1. Stephanie Gilmore
2. Silvana Lima
3. Sofia Mulanovich
4. Layne Beachley
5. Amee Donohoe
6. Samantha Cornish
7. Melanie Bartels
8. Rebecca Woods
9. Jessi Miley Dyer
10. Jacqueline Silva
11. Megan Abubo
12. Rosanne Hodge
13. Nicola Atherton
14. Julia De La Rosa Toro
15. Karina Petroni
16. Melanie Redman-Carr
17. Serena Brooke