Stephanie Gilmore of Tweed Heads, Australia, claimed her fifth ASP women's world title over the weekend when she defeated Tyler Wright, also of Australia, in a thrilling final at the Roxy Pro Biarritz. The Roxy Pro was Gilmore's third women's world tour victory of the 2012 season and she seemed especially focused at the Biarritz event. She was able to gut out some heats -- she outlasted Malia Manuel in the quarters -- and put up big scores in other rounds.
Red Bull surfer Sally Fitzgibbons was upset in the quarters, while 2011 world champion Carissa Moore bowed out in the semi-final to Gilmore. Fitzgibbons was among the first to congratulate Gilmore on Twitter, writing, “Big congrats to @Steph_Gilmore on winning the world title. #aussiepride.”
Gilmore's match-up against Wright in the final was thrilling. Wright is one of the tour's most powerful surfers; her approach blends big, carving cutbacks and power hacks with more progressive maneuvers like airs and throw tail reverses. Her entire arsenal was on display in the final, and yet she was out gunned by Gilmore's signature power and fluidity. Gilmore defeated Wright in the final round with a comined two-wave score of 18.53 to 13.10.
Gilmore was not favored to regain her title in 2012, especially with the way that Moore captured last year's title. After the final horn was blown, Gilmore donned a crown constructed of pink roses and celebrated on the platform while Wright sprayed her with champagne.
"Today was an incredible day," Gilmore said. "I wasn't getting the highest heat totals, I was just progressing, getting decent scores, enough to get me through. I saved the best for last. Oh my goodness! Such a cool day! I'm shaking -- I have so much energy! It's just incredible! I could dance my way back to Australia."