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Were you watching the Maui Women’s Pro? If not, you missed out. Sure, the title was decided in the semifinals (congratulations, Tyler!), but that didn’t mean the excitement was done and dusted. Not when Steph Gilmore’s involved, anyway. Gilmore, everyone’s favorite smiliest, shreddiest beauty, won the event with the same certain-something that only Stephanie Gilmore possesses. It’s that thing that won her six world titles. You know it. You love it.

Honolua Bay, when it’s well and truly working, may just be the best place for Gilmore to showcase exactly what she can do. And that’s what she did in her semifinal heat against Tyler Wright–the new owner of a second world title–in the very first heat of the day. Of course, Wright would be excused for possibly having her head in a different place (she just became the world champion again, after all). In any case, Gilmore smashed her way through the heat as gracefully as a feather. With a 9.77 as her highest wave in the heat, she was in the finest of forms. “The was one of the funnest, most enjoyable heats I’ve ever had,” Wright said afterward. “There was definitely some heckling back and forth. … It was a nice way to end the year for me.”

The two world champions both respect what each other can do. “Just for the confidence and everything,” said Gilmore. “I always have such great surfs against Tyler. She always pushes me and makes me feel so nervous…I had to win that one.”

Next on the docket for Gilmore was Malia Manuel in the final. Manuel was looking for a win after a season marred by injury, and she pushed Gilmore to her limits until the dying seconds of the heat. Unfortunately, she fell on her last wave, and it looked as though it might be the one that could have won the event. “When I came back [from injury], I tried to not have too high of expectations so I would not be disappointed,” Manuel said. “But, this is a great stepping stone. I wish this year wasn’t over already.”

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Maui Women’s Pro Final Results:

1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2 – Malia Manuel (HAW)

Maui Women’s Pro Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.87 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 14.43
SF 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 16.10 def. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 10.00

Top 5 on the WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard (after Maui Women’s Pro):
1: Tyler Wright (AUS)
2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
4: Courtney Conlogue (USA)
5: Carissa Moore (HAW)



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