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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa
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Fri, 13 July 2018

Huge pods of dolphins and pumping Supers delivered a sublime Friday 13 today to welcome the women back to J-Bay after 18 long years, with Stephanie Gilmore emerging triumphant.


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CORONA VS CHAMPAGNE? Lakey Peterson shoots some spray Gilmore's way. Photo WSL / Cestari


There was limited luck and all-round skill in the Corona Open J-Bay, where conditions were perfect, with consistent 6 foot sets pouring down the point, with some 8ft bombs, as the women battled through a long day: Round 3, quarters, semis and the final. Californian Lakey Peterson was the form surfer, but she came unstuck against six time champion Gilmore of Australia in the final.

In her first visit to compete in South Africa, Gilmore, the six-time WSL Champion, made herself at home at Jeffreys Bay with fluid forehand performances, and like Peterson said, they both like righthand pointbreaks.

“I just do not know why I never came here until now,” said Gilmore. “I always felt I’d have some special connection with J-Bay. It is just so much fun and it is just a magical place. The waves are just so powerful and perfect. The sunrises, sunsets, dolphins - it is just never-ending. Thanks to everyone. To wait a week and to make sure we were in great conditions is so important for all of us girls.”

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GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU? Gilmore's power carves were filled with flow. Photo WSL / Tostee


The win marks Gilmore’s record-extending 29th CT victory and her third in the 2018 season (Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, Oi Rio Pro). Ahead of today, the finalists each had two CT wins in their 2018 title campaigns. J-Bay would determine who would take the lead in the World Title race heading into the back half of the season.

Rumour has it she had excruiting pain in her back and almost pulled out“This is what sport is all about,” said Gilmore. “This is what I love about competing - you find yourself in these moments where you are challenged and under pressure. You think, ‘Okay, can I compose myself? Can I rise to the occasion and make it happen?’ That is what the magic of sport and rivalry is. It is nice to be up front again. I’ve been doing the Tour for quite a while and I’ve had a lot of wins, but I just love it. I love performing and seeing if I can do my best. Lakey (Peterson) is getting better and better every single event, so this is definitely not the end by any means.”

Although she fell short in the Final, Peterson dropped some massive scores. In the second heat of the morning, Peterson earned a 9.00 and went on to eliminate wildcard and local favourite Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in the Semifinals. Buitendag went to-to-toe with Peterson, and the South African had the crowd on their feet with attempts at big manoeuvres but could not get the scores. Rumour has it she had excruiting pain in her back and almost pulled out, so it was a brave attempt. She eliminated Coco Ho (HAW) in the Quarterfinals for a 3rd place finish overall.

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DOPHLINATELY! Huge pods of dolphins welcomed the women back to J-Bay. Photo Spike


"I am going straight to do some work on by back,” said Buitendag. “It locked up a lot and I am going to focus on it for the next three-to-four weeks. It has been a struggle for me for a really long time and it seems to be getting worse and worse, so I want to go figure it out.”

"Thank you to the local community for letting us have these waves at your beautiful break."Peterson now sits at World #2 heading to into the Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch. “Today was a great day,” said Peterson. “I am so stoked the WSL waited so we could get these waves and thank you to the local community for letting us have these waves at your beautiful break. I know it is not easy sitting on the beach all day watching us. This year has just felt super fun for me and I am just enjoying myself. To make the podium here is a dream. Steph (Gilmore) and I are so back and forth this year and it is just making the second half of the year that much more exciting.”

The second Semifinal featured WSL Title contenders Gilmore and Weston-Webb with Gilmore locking in a series of big turns to open with an 8.17 and a 7.50. Weston-Webb lost her rhythm and was unable to complete her rides. Having scored a near-perfect 9.77 in her previous heat, the Brazilian could get the 8.84 she needed. She finishes with her 5th Top 3 result this year to maintain a ranking of #3.

Visit www.WorldSurfLeague.com .

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OUT ON THE DAY: Bianca was imperious at times in cooking Supertubes. Photo WSL / Cestari


Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Final Results
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.24
2 - Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.50

Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Semifinal Results
SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.66 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 9.33
SF 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.67 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.33

Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Quarterfinal Results
QF 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.33 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 8.90
QF 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.83 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.30
QF 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.00 def. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 15.00
QF 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 18.54 def. Sage Erickson (AUS) 10.60

Women’s Corona Open J-Bay Round 3 Results
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 14.40, Johanne Defay (FRA) 14.30, Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.36
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.83, Coco Ho (HAW) 15.10, Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.07
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.50, Sage Erickson (USA) 11.57, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.04
Heat 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 15.40, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 13.34, Caroline Marks (USA) 12.76

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