Without a doubt, I’m more excited than ever for the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour. Why, you might ask? One word: Rookies. This year is sure to see its share of fireworks as the mix of seasoned veterans and fresh faces will be nothing less than spectacular. The tour has added five innovative surfers to the lineup, who all share the distinction of being under 20 years old. The roster includes Sally Fitzgibbons, Bruna Shmidz (who just happens to be the girlfriend of 2007’s men’s rookie of the year and WCT top 10 finisher, Jeremy Flores), Paige Hareb, Alana Blanchard and Coco Ho. They may be young, but they’ve been preparing for this debut for years and are ready to show off their bag of tricks.
I don’t want to sound like I’m all about the rookies, because I’m definitely not overlooking the women who have mastered life on the tour. I have major respect and admiration for these ladies who have spent their lives dedicated to the sport and its progression. The veterans’ list is stock full of fierce competitors and world champions; their experience on the tour alone could put them on top. But then again, Miss Steph Gilmore won her first world title in her rookie year—and the year after for that matter.
I just can’t wait to see this group of girls compete. I feel like the varying generations and styles will push each surfer to become more innovative: to try new things and new strategies. That’s how I’ll justify my bias opinion toward the rookies…for now.
And as for keeping things in the now, The Roxy Pro Gold Coast is underway and has already giving us a taste for what’s to come. And as of now, the rookies have proven they’re a force to be reckoned with. After the first day of competition, the young guns have silenced any doubt of their ability to excel on tour. Four out of the younger five won their first round heats, with Coco Ho finishing a respectable second place to Chelsea Hedges. And I must add, it seems Silvana Lima has already stepped up her game, “I am so happy with my heat and to get a 10.00 point ride is awesome,” Lima said. “I keep thinking all the time about making an air in a contest and I got it finally in that heat so I’m feeling good.”
It’s too soon to make any predictions or draw any conclusions, but I’m sure of one thing: Whether it be a veteran or a rookie that takes the title, this year is all about the new.
Check back for further contest reporting and visit Surfline’s coverage (with awesome images) of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast.