Auckland teenager Gaby Sansom has won the ITL New Zealand Women’s Open title at Fitzroy Beach, New Plymouth¬†with a stunning display of progressive surfing today.
The 15-year-old will now face kiwi favourite Sarah Mason and former world champion Steph Gilmore in the first round of the Dow AgroSciences Pro¬†ASP Women’s World Tour event tomorrow (April 11 NZT) .
Sansom 9.8, who¬†overcame¬†Gisborne’s Airini Mason, 8.5, Wini Paul, 9.3,¬†of Sandy Bay and Taranaki’s Thandi Durham-Tipene, 4.5,¬†to secure the Dream Tour wildcard, was overwhelmed¬†by her victory.
“It’s so amazing, so cool, I can’t believe it,” said Sansom who had only planned to to enter the under-16 and under-18 divisions of the Open.
“I tried to do as good as I can, it was fun. I just saw it as the opportunity to surf against the best girls in the world.”
In a tightly contested 30-minute final surfed in 3-5ft sea-breazy conditions, Sansom impressed with innovative, radical movements that had the “wow factor”, according to contest director Jarred Hancox.
Her closest competition came from Paul, who also pulled off some aggressive moves, while Mason enjoyed a high wave count but couldn’t nail a high-scoring ride.
Local favourite Durham-Tipene was hamstrung when she had interferance called against her after she “dropped in” on Mason.¬†
Sansom,¬†who also won¬†under-16 division at the Open, will now try and emulate her hero Paige Hareb in the tour event.
“I just want to follow in her footsteps,” said Sansom whose twin sister Bianca was third in the under-16 division.