Chelsea new surfing queen
SYDNEY (AAP): Australia's Chelsea Georgeson is the new queen of women's surfing after wrapping up the world title on a dramatic final day at the Billabong Pro Maui in Hawaii.
The Gold Coast-based 22-year-old clinched the world crown while sitting on the beach at Honolua Bay as she watched her only rival for the world title, best friend and reigning world champion Sofia Mulanovich, bow out in the quarter-finals.
The Peruvian was eliminated by Brazilian Jacqueline Silva in the dying stages of their heat, Silva latching onto a wave with 28 seconds remaining to post a score of 5.8, which was enough to pip Mulanovich by 0.3 points and hand Georgeson the world title.
"I couldn't believe Jacqueline got that last wave. I wasn't really expecting it," Georgeson said.
"I knew Sof was surfing so good and I thought it was going to come down to the final for sure."
And how did Georgeson thank the Brazilian for helping her claim the world crown? She wiped the floor with the Brazilian in the final, defending the Maui Pro title she also won last year.
In doing so Georgeson also wrapped up the Triple Crown of Surfing, awarded to the best performed surfer over the Hawaiian leg of contests. She also became the first woman ever to win the Triple Crown, Billabong Pro Maui and the world title in one year.
"I'm so happy, it's been one of the best days of my life and to have all of my friends and family here is just amazing," Georgeson said.
Georgeson's triumph means the the world title is back in Australian hands, after Mulanovich last year ended Manly surfer Layne Beachley's six-year stranglehold.
Georgeson admitted she had been hoping for a world title shootout with the Peruvian in the final.
"We kept saying to each other, 'Keep going, keep going, lets take it all the way through to the end," Georgeson said.
"It would have been a really good end to the year if we both got through to the final."
Mulanovich, while disappointed, was gracious in defeat.
"I'm stoked for Chels. I tried not to think about (the world title), but I thought about it a lot after (the penultimate WCT event in) Haleiwa and I was kind of prepared for it.
"I'm just stoked for her that she made it because she's the most amazing surfer ever and she deserves this a lot."
In the final WCT event on the men's tour, newly crown world champion Kelly Slater put on a show with the day's highest score in perfect conditions at the Pipeline Masters.
Consistent two to three metres barrels were on offer throughout the day and the cream rose to the top as Slater pulled out a combined total of 18.67 to move into the fourth round.
Veteran Australian Luke Egan, who will retire after the event, also had a high scoring combination of 17.73 in his second round win.
Of the Australians, Egan will be joined in the quarter finals by Mick Fanning, Lee Winkler, Trent Munro, Nathan Hedge and Mark Occhilupo.