Steph Gilmore has got the year rolling with a great win over Laura Enever, winning her fourth Roxy Pro Gold Coast title. Nothing like a win on your home turf, DH and Steph have been working closely on her equipment over the summer and it is really satisfying to see success in your testing ground and on tour. Steph’s surfing was on fire throughout the event and it was clear that in 2012 Steph is back, quickly snapping up 1st place on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour ratings, a spot she lost at this event last year after holding it for four years.
“The board Steph rode on the last day of the event for the semis and final, as well as in the quarters was a 5’10 by 18 1/2 by 2 1/4 with FCS and Mick Fanning small fins. It was a similar board to what Mick has been riding, called the ‘Ducks Nuts’,” said DH. “It had a lot of tail lift in it, about 2 1/2 inches and single to double concave. She rode it because it was fast and loose, and it did the job.”
“To be carried up the beach with your friends underneath you with thousands of people around has got to be one of the best feelings in the world,” Gilmore said. “It took me back to 2005 when I won here as a grom. Last year went so quickly and it felt like I didn’t even exist on the rankings and that fire wasn’t really there. This year it’s so good to have that back! My cheeks are so sore from smiling already.”
Steph wasn’t the only DHD team rider making their mark on this year’s opening event. An awesome result by Adriano De Souza, only just missing out on first place in the men’s Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Falling short to Taj Burrow’s by 0.27pts. In sloppy conditions Adriano was not holding back, with a great display of aerial surfing and the rhino power he is known for, definitely one to keep an eye on this year.
Adriano was riding his 5’10 x 18 1/8 x 2 1/8 DX1 with FCS and K3 fins for a lot of the event. “Adriano and I have been making small refinements. He has been loving all his DX1’s because they work in all types of waves from beachbreaks to points for high performance surfing,” DH said. The DX1 is part of the evolution of DH’s D-series of boards. All team riders on the D1 have made the switch.
“I’m really happy with my result here today,” De Souza said. “It was such an amazing Final. Last year Taj (Burrow) and I had such a great heat here as well. It was one of the best heats of my life and he beat me. It’s amazing to be on the podium here again. In 2009, it was me and Joel (Parkinson). It’s a great way to start the year and I’m happy to be back up here.”
Sally Fitzgibbons jumped out of the box swinging this year, going down to fellow team rider and winner Steph Gilmore in the semi finals. Sally was a standout the entire event, surfing well on her 5’8 x 17 5/8 x 2 1/8 DX1. Steph has been a great role model for Sally and it is great to see the two surfing so close to one another. We are certain to see some great clashes between the two this year.
Jordy Smith and DH have been working very closely on boards lately. Jordy was surfing very fast and loose on his 6’2 1/2″ x 19 1/4 x 2 9/16 Jordy model that DH had designed for him, and they have already begun working on getting Jordy’s quiver set for the Rip Curl Pro Bells.
Darren Handley (DH) really puts a lot of time into this event, getting all the equipment for the team to kick off the year feeling good under foot. He also spends a lot of time in the competitor’s tent working with the team and watching them surf.
“Watching your team riding the boards you have shaped them on your local wave is an awesome opportunity as a shaper. I know the wave, I know what I have shaped them, I get to see what is working for them and what isn’t first hand. That information is priceless, so is first hand feedback when they are fresh out of the water. The work we do prior to and throughout this event sets us up for the first half of the year.”DH.
All photos thanks to Swilly