HAWAII'S COCO HO has won the Association of Surfing Professionals ASP) 6 Star Women's World Tour Legendary Pacific Coast Pro in association with Commonwealth Bank held in excellent 1.5m (4 to 5 feet) surf at Merewether Beach today.
The 19 year-old Hawaiian took control in the final early when she opened with a strong scoring 7.33 ride which was the finals top scoring and decisive winning ride.
Final scores for their top two scoring rides saw Coco Ho on 11.83 to Courtney Conlogue on 10.00.
"Fantastic to win here and the waves have been awesome for the girls- a six star event is really important to all of us and it feels like we've been treated to the best conditions all week" said Ho after her win.
"I focused on trying to select a good wave early - the waves shift about out there and you need to be selective - the strategy worked as my first wave was easily my best and I think that won the final for me"
"It's a good start the year for me - 5th on the Gold Coast was OK and winning here is a bonus - I'll go back to Hawaii now and really freshen up before I return for Bells - I'll go home feeling good after today's win!"
Ho surfed great all day and took out current world number two ranked surfer Sally Fitzgibbons in the semi finals earlier today.
Conlogue (18 years/California/Santa Ana) was also in spectacular form today - her quarter final heat win over Australian young gun Tyler Wright included an almost perfect 9.97 ride, the events highest scoring ride to date.
"I've had a great day, could have been better in the final but I didn't quite get the waves needed to win but overall I'm feeling great - It's been an enjoyable event and the waves have been good to us!"
The Burton Toyota Pro Men's number one seed Taj Burrow put on a display for the large Newcastle crowd who are turned out to see the current world number 2 ranked surfer in action.
Burrow flared with some of his typically critical above the lip turns along with his fast and super fluid style to easily dispose of Indonesia's top ranked surfer Dede Suryana.
"I felt great out there, the waves are really good providing you chose the right wave - I can't remember surfing Merewether before - I think I have once but it was a long time ago and it felt really good out there" said Burrow.
Burrow's final turn in the heat was so committed it snapped his board in two and with seven minutes remaining he had established such a lead he elected not to paddle back out and left Suryana in the line-up along chasing a 9.33 to try and beat him.
"My boards feel great at the moment - that board that snapped was the one I won the Breaka Pro on at Burleigh - my back up board here is the one I finished second to Slater on at the Quiksilver Pro - that's a special board that I'm sort of saving for Bells - it's wrapped in cotton wool and I don't want to ride it just yet so I'll source a few back up boards over night for tomorrow's finals here."
In tomorrow's round of 16 Taj will face exciting Gold Coast youngster Thomas Woods who earlier today shut down the last of the local hopes in Jake Sylvester who resides at near-by Bar Beach in Newcastle.
A full day of action tomorrow in the Burton Toyota Pro and to win the event the champion will be required to surf through four gruelling heats.
The action will begin at 8:00am at Merewether and the waves are again forecast to be really good.
Legendary Pacific Coast Pro Women's Results -
Final: 1st Coco Ho (Hawaii) 2nd Courtney Conlogue (USA)
Semi Final 1: 1st Coco Ho (HAW), 2nd Sally Fitzgibbons (AUST)
Semi Final 2: 1st Courtney Conlogue (USA), 2nd Sofia Mulanovich (Peru)