Hawaii's Bartels second to Gilmore in Roxy Pro
A new and improved Melanie Bartels placed second at the Roxy Pro women's surfing contest yesterday at Australia.
The final day of the contest was run in 1- to 3-foot waves at Snapper Rocks, Coolangatta, Australia.
Bartels, who is from Wai'anae, advanced to the final before losing to three-time defending world champion Stephanie Gilmore of Australia.
"I'm very stoked," said Bartels, 27. "I tried to stay focused and did my best, but couldn't get there for the final. My surfing is feeling really good, but I couldn't really find the waves to let me open up there for the final."
It was the opening contest of the 2010 ASP Women's World Tour.
Gilmore defeated Bartels, 12.4-10.35, in the 30-minute final. Bartels needed a score of 6.08 to take the lead in the closing minutes, but she fell on her final wave.
Bartels, who finished 2009 ranked No. 6 in the world, is working with a new coach in Nancy Emerson this year.
"It's not my surfing that I need help with," Bartels said. "It's more mentally, so she is helping me keep positive and surrounding me with positive vibes ... I'm beginning to believe in myself now, so you will see a different Mel on tour this year."
Earlier in the contest, Bartels defeated former world champions Sofia Mulanovich in the quarterfinals, and Chelsea Hedges in the semifinals.
Gilmore received $15,000 for the victory and maintained her No. 1 world ranking. Bartels received $9,000 and is now ranked No. 2.
Coco Ho of Sunset Beach was eliminated in the semifinals. Ho, who was the 2009 Rookie of the Year, was also eliminated by Gilmore and finished tied for third.
"Good start to the year, so I'm definitely stoked," Ho said. "To be out at Snapper Rocks with Steph (Gilmore) is really special for me. She's a big inspiration to me and I'm happy with my performance at this event."
The next event, the Rip Curl Women's Pro, is scheduled to start later this month at Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia.