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Chelsea Hedges takes early lead at Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach

March 30, 2010 | 11:18 am

Chelsea Hedges proved the form surfer on Day 1 of the Rip Curl Women’s Pro.

Australia's Chelsea Hedges took the early lead of the Rip Curl Women's Pro on 2- to 3-foot waves breaking through the "Rincon" section at Bells Beach, Australia.

Hedges, 26, collected the day’s high heat total, scoring 17.20 out of a possible 20 at the second of nine stops on the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour.

"It was good fun," Hedges, the 2005 tour champion, said. "Rincon, when the tide comes off a bit, it can be pretty fun. I just watched Silvana’s [Lima] heat before, and she helped me out you know. She surfed so fast, so it was good to watch her before I went out."

Lima, 25, the defending event champion and last year's Women's World Tour runner-up, was in sensational form, scoring 16.50 out of a possible 20 with a series of blistering forehand turns.

"It’s an amazing result for me for sure," Lima, from Brazil, said. "I’m defending champion here this year, and I have a lot to live up to. I’m going to the next round and hoping that things continue to go well for me."

Australia's Stephanie Gilmore, 22, reigning three-time ASP Women’s World champion and currently ranked No. 1, also came away with a victory in the early rounds despite the challenging conditions.

"We went on hold right before my heat, and when we restarted it was still a bit inconsistent," Gilmore said. "I didn’t really put up a decent score until halfway through the heat, and I was hunting a backup until the last few minutes. It’s a good start for me, and I’m just focusing on one heat at a time."
Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach Round 3 match-ups:

-- Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Lee Ann Curren (FRA)
-- Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Carissa Moore (HAW)
-- Heat 3: Rebecca Woods (AUS) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)
-- Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
-- Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Nikita Robb (ZAF)
-- Heat 6: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) vs. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)
-- Heat 7: Melanie Bartels (HAW) vs. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
-- Heat 8: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) vs. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)

-- Kelly Burgess

Photo: Chelsea Hedges proved the form surfer on Day 1 of the Rip Curl Women’s Pro. Credit: Scholtz / ASP

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