Rookies Eliminate WSL Champions Gilmore, Moore and Wright
Following yesterday’s upsets during the men’s competition, the women’s Hurley Pro Sunset Beach presented by SHISEIDO also saw major shake-ups throughout the day. Rookie Gabriela Bryan (HAW) started things off by eliminating seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) after a close heat in the Round of 16. Both surfers scored waves in the 6-point range, but Gilmore’s combined total was short of 0.72 and Bryan took the win.
“I basically just had a shocker out there,” said Gilmore. “I couldn’t really find my feet out there. It was a battle with Gabriela. I could always see her doing well out here and, unluckily for me, I got her in an early round. You got to just shake losses like this one off and now look forward to heading to Europe and that’s really all you can do is keep pushing on and try to make the cut.”
“A lot of the Rookies this year are from Hawaii and they’re just so strong on their feet,” continued Gilmore. “I was thinking about my early career and starting the year at my home break and how much of an advantage that was. So for these young girls having the comfort of your home break is really great for them.”
Bryan moved on with confidence to the Quarterfinals where she faced rookie Luana Silva (HAW). Both Bryan and Silva scored excellent waves, but Bryan was able to close the heat combined score ahead of Silva and took the win, advancing to the Semifinals where she will face Malia Manuel (HAW).
“I’m so happy right now,” said Bryan. “Luana is such a good friend of mine, she is probably one of my best friends on tour. It always sucks to come up against your friend. Now it will be a super good match between Malia and I. I’ve looked up to Malia my whole life coming from Hawaii, she is one of my inspirations. So it should be really fun going out there and having a heat with her.”
Five-time World Champion Moore had to say goodbye to Sunset Beach after getting eliminated in Heat 5 of the Round of 16 by CT rookie Molly Picklum (AUS). Picklum advanced to the Quarterfinals to face Brisa Hennessy (CRI), but couldn’t stop the CT veteran from advancing to the Semifinals.
“It’s such an honor to be in the lineup with her,” said Picklum. “I think you have to give your all to beat someone like Carissa, so I’m super excited to come out on top. I think it’s great to be a rookie because we have nothing to lose. We deserve to be here, and to surf along with them. So it’s just exciting.”
Two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright (AUS) started off the day with a solid performance, winning her first heat against India Robinson (AUS) and Gilmore. She went on to face local charger Manuel in the Round of 16. Wright’s combined score of 11.77 (out of a possible 20) could not overcome Manuel’s 14.33.
“Sunset and Malia really suit,” said Wright. “I’m a really big fan of hers out here. I think she is one of the most underrated surfers on the tour. When she connects, she really does connect and get the biggest scores. Massive respect to Malia, she put on a good show.”