SURFING: Mooloolaba's Keely Andrew looms as the next big thing on the world tour after shocking a multiple world champion and claiming a career-best result at Hawaii, where she was crowned rookie of the year.
In the final event of her maiden campaign on the big stage, the 22-year-old reached the semi-finals of the Women's Maui Pro, beating six-time world title holder Stephanie Gilmore in the process.
Andrew toppled her compatriot 14.50 to 8.44 in round four on her birthday before beating Hawaii's Coco Ho 13.33 to 11.23 in the quarter finals.
She then fell to tour juggernaut Tyler Wright in the last four of the 10th and final stop on this year's Championship Tour, 14.67 to 11.77.
"I'm super happy with how that went," she said.
"I couldn't have asked for a better event really. To take down some of the girls that I did and to show my best surfing yet, it's a pretty good way to end the year.
"I proved to myself that I belong here (on tour).
"It was a pretty tough year results-wise for me, being a rookie, and it's nice to know that I am capable of getting a semi-final finish here and I'm looking to take that through to Snapper (the first event) next year,"
Andrew finished the season in 14th place on the standings, the best of first-year world tour surfers.
"It's pretty special. It's a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity and I'm grateful I've put my name on that list," she said.
As for the win over Gilmore:
"I've always grown up idolising Steph's style, her personality, everything about her and I'm happy with that birthday present," Andrew said.
Australian Wright won the event and finished the year as world number one.
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