ROXY PRO HAWAII: FINAL DAY
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Chelsea Georgeson wins and takes world ratings lead
Australian Chelsea Georgeson, 22, surfed undefeated through four rounds of competition and posted a perfect 10 wave score in the final to win the $65,000 Roxy Pro Hawaii and climb to number one in the world today. The dramatic loss of reigning world champion Sofia Mulanovich in the quarterfinals opened the door to her good pal Georgeson, who worked the opportunity for all it was worth. Chelsea is now exactly where she wanted to be on her approach to the final stop at Honolua Bay, Maui, next month, where she is defending event champion. Chelsea's win earned her $10,000 and has given her a jump on the bonus $10,000 winner-takes-all Vans Triple Crown of Surfing ratings.
Excellent waves in the four- to eight-foot range set a perfect stage for today's competition, with pristine, off-shore conditions putting the icing on the cake for the four-woman final. Georgeson was joined by a pair of West Australian chargers, Claire Bevilacqua and Melanie Redman-Carr, and lone Hawaii surfer Megan Abubo in the final. Chelsea commanded the 25-minute, best of two waves final and shut the door with a perfect 10-point ride around the midpoint of the heat. It was a solid five-footer with 50 yards of peeling, open face that saw Chelsea crank out a bottom turn into snapping re-entry, back to bottom turn, then a vertical re-entry that dropped her out of the lip, through the air, and back down for a closing maneuver. Her top two scores were the 10 and a 7.83 for a 17.83 total.
"I took the opportunity this time and really used it," said Georgeson. "It's the best feeling to be able to really give everything when you really need to and to come out on top. It's the best thing ever. I'm sick of being in second, so it feels good to be first for once. I'm just going to go into Maui like I came into this event - just try to be really focused and have fun out there.
"For sure I feel pressure. There's still one more contest left and it's not over, so anything can happen. There's probably less pressure now because I'm ahead of Sofia a little bit and I feel really comfortable in Maui. But at the same time, now she's going to be chasing me, so it's going to be really exciting either way."
In contrast to this time last year when Mulanovich claimed her maiden world crown at Haleiwa, her emotions visited the opposite end of the spectrum today. Torn between wanting to be happy for her friend and feeling the crown slipping from her grasp, Mulanovich was not on hand to witness her friends win. Having sat in second place in for almost her entire quarter final clash, it was a last ditch effort from Australian Laurina McGrath, earning 8.23 points, that saw the rug ripped from under Sofia on the closing horn. She struggled to put words to her feelings.
"I don't know, I guess I didn't get the waves, I guess I didn't surf good enough," said a bewildered Mulanovich. "The one who surfs best is the one who's going to win.
"There's more pressure on a world champion, for sure and I think I respect Chelsea too much. I think she's just too good. We always knew that we were going to be up there together, but things happened quick. I will just have to think out everything. I'm really depressed right now. I pretty much think I'm losing the world title right now, but maybe tomorrow will be better."
Just 612 ratings points now separate Georgeson and Mulanovich. To have any chance at all of retaining the world title, Sofia must place first or second in Maui. Anything less and the title is Georgeson's. But there are many different scenarios. Even with a first for Sofia, a second for Chelsea would be enough to take the crown. If Sofia finishes second in Maui, even a third place for Georgeson would give the Australian enough ratings points for the crown. If Sofia gets second in Maui, and Chelsea places fifth, it would result in a count-back on 2005 event results for the wor
ld title and Chelsea would win. However, if Sofia gets second in Maui and Chelsea places ninth, it would result in a count-back that would swin in the Peruvian's favor. Both surfers have now posted three victories this year. Georgeson has also had a second, a third, two fifths, and a ninth. Other than wins, Sofia has had a third, two fifths and two ninths.
Second place in the final today went to an in-form Bevilacqua, 22, who earlier in the day accounted for Mulanovich by winning their quarter final. In her maiden year on the World Championship Tour, and in her first WCT final appearance, Bevilacqua posted a total of 11.23 and won $6,000. Third place and $4,400 went to Redman-Carr (9.9 points), and fourth place was Abubo, who earned $4,100 (8.44 points). It was a disappointing day for Abubo, who needed to win here to stay in the running for the world title.
"I didn't have that much pressure coming into this event," said Abubo, 27. "I mean, come on, I was 1200 points behind them. A lot really had to happen. But I'm disappointed because I just wanted to win out at Haleiwa more than anything and it didn't happen. I was glad to be out there and I got to surf four times on my most favorite wave in the world, so it's good to be home."
The women's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing will next move to Sunset Beach, November 26 to December 6, followed by Maui, December 8-20.
The men's Op Pro Hawaii will resume at Haleiwa on the next day of good waves. Heats nine to 12 of round two were held this-morning and saw the advancement of Australia's Phillip MacDonald, Leigh Sedley, Dean Morrison and Jarrad Howse; Hawaii's Ian Walsh and Pancho Sullivan, New Zealander Maz Quinn, and Mainland American Brett Simpson.