Bianca Buitendag has finished second at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks. It’s the best result the Vic Bay local has registered during the nine events she has contested on the Dream Tour since qualifying as a rookie in 2013, and it ensures she heads to the next event at Margaret River ranked second in the world.
Starting the day with a solid win over Californian Lakey Peterson in the semi-finals, Bianca was looking to be the first backhand surfer since Chelsea Hedges in 2007 to win at Snappers. To do that she was going to need to beat one of the Gold Coast’s best, 5-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore.
To claim her spot in the final against Bianca, Steph surfed a tough semi-final battle with current world champ, Carissa Moore (HAW).
The two tallest competitors on the Women’s Dream Tour paddled out to do battle. Stephanie started strongly, while Bianca looked nervous and fell on some crucial turns – maneouvres she was executing with ease and style in the earlier rounds of competition. With the tide filling in fast, Steph used her local knowledge and forehand advantage to sit closer to the rocks, picking off the better waves in the heat and amassing a total of 15.80pts, which left Bianca in a combination situation as the final horn sounded.
Still, Bianca will be stoked with her result on the Gold Coast. She can file the result as ‘a lesson in Finals surfing learnt’ and will head to Margaret River, predominantly a powerful left-hander, ranked second in the world and with her right foot forward.
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* After claiming US$25,000 prize money for finishing runner-up, Bianca announced that she would be donating her winnings to charity. What a champ! See her post heat interview below.