12 March 2014
South African surfing star Bianca Buitendag claimed a career-best runner-up finish in the Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Queensland, Australia on Tuesday, and then promptly pledged to give her prize money to charity.
“I’m so overwhelmed by this experience,” Buitendag said after the final. “It’s a first time for me and I didn’t quite know what to expect.
“It’s a bit like a dream for me. I’m giving my prize money to charity. We are so lucky and we have so much already. It goes a long way.”
The 20-year-old from Victoria Bay in the Western Cape posted a convincing victory over the USA’s Lakey Peterson in their semi-final match-up, which was held in excellent one-to-1.5 metre waves, to reach the final of a World Championship Tour (WCT) event for the first time in just her second year at the top level of women’s surfing.
Buitendag, who was crowned the 2013 ASP Women’s Rookie of the Year, had her hopes of fairy tale maiden victory dashed in the final by five-time ASP Women’s world champion and Snapper Rocks local Stephanie Gilmore, who won her fifth Roxy Pro title with a dominant showing.
‘The best feeling in the world’
“I haven’t felt this feeling in a while,” Gilmore said. “It’s the best feeling in the world to have all your friends and family around and high five everyone.
Buitendag’s confidence-boosting run to the final, during which she also defeated 2013 ASP number two Tyler Wright of Australia in the quarter-finals, Alessa Quizon of Hawaii in round four and Australia’s Laura Enever in round two, lifted the South African to number two in the 2014 Women’s WCT rankings going into the next event, the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in Western Australia, which starts on 2 April.
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by BOQ, stop number one on the Samsung Galaxy ASP WCT, which ran alongside the women’s competition, was won by Gabriel Medina, who became the first Brazilian winner of the event and the first goofy-footed surfer (rides with right foot in front) to clinch the title since 2004.
He scored a sensational come-from-behind victory over home-town favourite and 2012 ASP world champion Joel Parkinson, who had led throughout the 35-minute final after opening his account with a ride of 9.0 (out of 10).
As he had done against Australia’s Taj Burrow in the semi-finals and three-time ASP world champ Mick Fanning in the quarters, Medina kept his challenge going until the final seconds of each heat, scoring buzzer-beating victories on each occasion.
South African results
South Africa’s Travis Logie finished 13th overall after defeating Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence in round two before falling to Burrow in round three.
Jordy Smith, who ended 2013 ranked fourth in the world, was uncharacteristically eliminated early in the event and finished equal 25th.
- Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) 15.80 def. Bianca Buitendag (RSA) 10.47
- Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) 17.10 def. Carissa Moore (Haw) 13.40
- Bianca Buitendag (RSA) 15.90 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.50
- Gabriel Medina (Bra) 16.33 def. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 16.27
- Gabriel Medina (Bra) 14.13 def. Taj Burrow (Aus) 14.10
- Joel Parkinson (Aus) 18.70 def. Adriano de Souza (Bra) 9.67