Alana Blanchard Wins Vans Hawaiian Pro

Alana has been been having an okay rookie year—equal 9ths in every event. But the Women’s Tour is a lot smaller than the Men’s Tour, so staying on means putting up a few big results. Sitting at 13th at the moment, she’s in need of a few solid results in these last two events. Well, today she stamped her authority all over the Women’s Vans Triple Crown of Surfing by taking the Vans Hawaiian Pro, giving her an early lead for the Triple Crown. Though the win won’t help her up her ratings to stay on Tour for next year (no ‘QS points), it will give her a huge boost of confidence heading into the rest of the Triple Crown.

The lone Hawaiian in the final, Alana faced two World Champs (Steph Gilmore and Sofia Mulanovich) and an Australian veteran (Becca Woods). The mentality we thought she would be taking was the “Hey I’ve made it to the final. That’s a great result.” But that wasn’t what Alana had in mind.

Though Haleiwa wasn’t anywhere near perfect, Alana was controlling the sporadic lefts all day long and getting some of the biggest scores on them. Trailing the current 2x Women’s World Champ Steph Gilmore with about five minutes left, Alana picked off another one of those lefts. The runner allowed her multiple fluid swoops on her good-looking backside resulting in a 7.83. She had snatched the lead from the woman hailed as the best women’s surfer, giving Alana the biggest victory of her career.

If Alana can carry this momentum throughout the rest of the Triple Crown, she’ll be surfing with them best of them. And to stay with the best of them she’s going to have to keep it up. Congrats Alana!

Alana made a big statement today, and looks to keep the momentum going. Photo courtesy CI/ASP Scholtz via Getty Images

Alana made a big statement today, and looks to keep the momentum going. Photo courtesy CI/ASP Scholtz via Getty Images

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

HALEIWA, Oahu/Hawaii (Thursday, November 19, 2009) – Hawaii’s Alana Blanchard (Kauai) hit a career high today, defeating reigning world champion Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) to post a win in the Vans Hawaiian Pro, the first stop of the $1,000,000 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Blanchard won $2,500 today but now leads the Vans Triple Crown series ratings that will pay $25,000 to the women’s winner at the end of the three events.

It was a hard-fought final between Gilmore and Blanchard, with little separating the two who were equally as impressive on their backhand attack on the lefts. In the end, just 1.12 points was the difference.

Blanchard, 19, is a rookie on the ASP Women’s World Tour this year and this is her first full crack at the Vans Triple Crown series of events. The women surfed through all four rounds of the event today in head-high surf.

It was a hard-fought final between Gilmore and Blanchard, with little separating the two who were equally as impressive on their backhand attack on the lefts. In the end, just 1.12 points was the difference. Blanchard with a two-wave total of 14.16, and Gilmore ($1,750) with 13.04. Third place in the 30-minute, four-woman final went to Sofia Mulanovich (Peru, $1,500), and fourth was Australian Rebecca Woods ($1,250).

The finals started off with a bang with all four ladies taking advantage of a set of waves that rolled through right at the horn. Gilmore, 21, got the best of the exchange. She held the lead for the majority of the heat until Alana answered back with four minutes remaining. On one of the larger waves of the heat, Alana put everything into her backhand attack, sticking a floater over an inside closeout section to lock in a 7.83, the highest score of the heat.

“It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my career,” said Blanchard on her win.

Gilmore wasn’t going to give up without a fight though and answered back with only seconds on the clock, cranking five turns on a smaller right. The 6.37 was not enough to pull back into first, leaving Blanchard surfing a victory lap to the beach.

“It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done in my career,” said Blanchard on her win.

“I haven’t won a lot and it’s special to win in Hawai’i because I live here and it’s part of the Triple Crown. I was just trying to have fun and stayed relaxed the whole time. I didn’t care if I won or lost.”

Gilmore plans to take advantage of her second place finish to boost her momentum going into the next event, the Gidget Pro at Sunset Beach that is critical to her world title campaign.

“I was really relaxed in this event. Although it’s Triple Crown, it’s just a specialty event for us. It was a good warm up and I feel good to make the final. The world title race is really tight at the moment and this is a good confidence booster heading into Sunset, which is a great event for the (WCT) girls. Its good to push ourselves.”

Find out the call for the day, each day, as soon as it’s made by Director Randy Rarick by signing up for mobile text alerts at triplecrownofsurfing.com. All the action will be broad live on the web at triplecrownofsurfing.com, as well as on Hawaii television on Oceanic channel 250.