Keely Andrew lines up for Oi Rio Pro as Stephanie Gilmore’s Alternate
1st May 2015
As the news came through 2 weeks ago about 6 times World Champ Stephanie Gilmore fracturing her Fibular in her leg we were saddened for Steph and the disappointment that comes with being out of the water, let alone World Tour events.
It was with a heavy heart that Steph made the announcement as the girls took to the water for round 3 at the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro. The Injury happened during a free surf on the lay day previous and despite Steph’s hopes the fracture was identified by X-ray putting her out for the event and recently for the upcoming Oi Rio Pro.
For one girl on the World Qualifying Series, this news wasn’t all bad. 20 year old Keely Andrew from the Sunshine Coast in Australia finished up 9th in 2014 and was next in line to join the top 17 girls and although you never know what’s going to happen on tour you can only hope that your number will come up.
Keely said “I’m pretty lucky to get this opportunity, placing 9th ultimately placed me one spot out of qualifying for the tour and put me in the position for the wild card for any injuries at any world tour events this year.”
Keely has been on fire with results nationally and in the QS with her first big win of the year coming at the Port Taranaki Pro in New Zealand earlier this year where she defeated Coco Ho in the final. This QS win puts her in a great position with QS points to qualify for the Championship Tour in 2016 but she now gets a taste of what is to come for her.
Rio is a beach break that can work but averages 3 foot and Silvana Lima is picked to dominate with her fast moving style and epic air game. These waves could play to Keely’s advantage, growing up in and around similar breaks herself. She said “I’m very fortunate to have grown up surfing beach breaks so I have the general understanding of those types of waves. Before it was officially confirmed that Steph wouldn’t be surfing I was just training and preparing for the Mexico WQS, and then when I got the message my training in the gym was altered slightly to accommodate for Brazil. I have been trying to surf waves similar to what Baja Tijuca is like. But my main focus is still on the WQS circuit as I want to qualify and have a permanent spot on the tour next year. I am not exhausting all of my energy into this event but it’s definitely one I want to do well at.”
“Silvana is definitely progressing the sport and is one of my favourites to watch. I think she will continue to make a big statement on the tour especially in her own country with the local support. I have been working on my air game but at the same time I enjoy rail surfing. Usually the biggest risk receives the biggest reward, so if it comes to that I will definitely take it on.”
We asked Keely what would be going through her head in a one-on-one final against Silvana…”Silvana is one of those surfers that can make any wave into a big score and I think that her air game would definitely work in her favour. For me personally I would probably stick to what I know best which is rail and variety. However, it would be fun to try and match it with her in the air.”
Keely will be taking a JR Surfboards quiver with her ranging from 5’6 to 5’9. she says “Just so I cover all basis and am fully prepared for anything.”
Watch the Oi Rio Pro Live at www.worldsurfleague.com from 11th May 2015