Monday, April 17, 2017: Courtney Conlogue (USA) wins Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach after a close finals match against six-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore.
Courtney set the pace early in the heat and got the first wave. She surfed it well with a series of turns and completed the ride with an 8.00. Steph took the next wave after that and answered back with a series of well-executed maneuvers and managed to earn an 8.33.
Gilmore got her next wave minutes later and made another 8.0 from the beautiful turn to start off her wave and charged down the line to finish up with a good layback snap. Conlogue answered back in this exchange and got good and powerful turns, earning a 7.27. A third exchange came on but both surfers mistimed their maneuvers and didn’t get good scores to increase their heat totals.
The final exchange between the two was a tough one. Stephanie Gilmore looked like she was going to bag another high-scoring wave but slipped right at the final maneuver and couldn’t finish it strong.
Conlogue took the opportunity to paddle into a nice wave and executed three solid turns before getting wiped out on her last maneuver. But despite the wipeout, she took a 9.00 and snatched the lead from Steph Gilmore.
With less than four minutes left in the heat, the pressure was on Gilmore to drop a bomb as she needed an 8.68 to win. But that kind of wave did not come through as time ran out. With this, Conlogue walks with a back-to-back Bells Beach trophy.
Here’s a replay of the final heat between Courtney Conlogue and Stephanie Gilmore:
This win pushed Conlogue up the Jeep leader board rankings by four places and she is now in fourth place, and back on track for World Title contention. Her huge comeback was a testament to her sheer determination to never give up and keep fighting.
Though finishing second, Gilmore remains on top of the Jeep rankings with 24,500 points; showing the world that she is not giving up the Yellow Jersey anytime soon as she amassed solid finishes in the Australian Leg.
The recent changes in the rankings have ignited more excitement as the Women’s tour moves to Brazil for the Oi Rio Women’s Pro. Who will dominate the Women’s world tour this year?
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