6-Star WQS Salomon Masters Update From West Oz

Salomon Masters (March 14-20) www.salomonmasters.com
Bico Classic www.bicoclassic.com

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) www.aspworldtour.com

*As 6-Star prime rated events, the Salomon Masters and Bico Classic are two of the most important Qualifying Series (QS) events on the 2005 calendar and play a significant part in determining World Championship Tour (WCT) positions for 2006.*

Quarterfinalists Decided in Women’s Division

Wednesday, March 16, 2005 (Margaret River, Western Australia) Quarterfinalists were today decided in the first ever Prime rated 6-Star women’s Bico Classic. A decreasing, yet clean 3-4ft (1-1.3m) swell was on offer at Surfer’s Point, and massive pods of dolphins even graced the lineup during competition. Only four heats of the Prime rated 6-Star Salomon Masters were run, completing the round of 144.

A world first for women’s surfing, Australian surf jewellery company Bico Designs upgraded the qualifying tournament to a 6-Star at the prime location — providing the biggest event of the year. Organizers split rounds this afternoon, using both Margaret’s main break, as well as Southside to utilize available surf.

Six-time world champion Layne Beachley (Manly, AUS) dominated the early rounds today with the highest combined scores during her first showing, and backed this up with another couple of victories to storm into the quarterfinals. Fellow Australian Serena Brooke (QLD) advanced alongside Beachley from the round of 12.

“This is the biggest ‘QS event on tour and it’s supported by an out of industry sponsor, explained Beachley. “It’s fantastic that Bico have stepped up and given us a 6-Star in a Prime location.

“The last time I came here was in 2002 and I just missed out on winning the event, which really frustrated me, she continued. “I really wanted it then, and of course I want it now. I play to win, and that’s why I’m here.

Current World Championship Tour (WCT) ratings leader Megan Abubo (HAW) also progressed with some strong showings at Margaret’s. Together with fellow Hawaiian Keala Kennelly, the pair eliminated Brazil’s Jacqueline Silva.

“It’s always good to come over here, said Abubo. “Unfortunately the swell isn’t great, but it’s nice to see a 6-Star in Australia as there is so much talent and good surfers here. I’m just taking it heat by heat and trying to surf well.

Kim Woolridge (NSW, AUS) survived the earlier rounds and then sealed her quarterfinal berth with a great win over France’s rising talent Caroline Sarran this afternoon. While former WCT surfer Yvonne Byron (Wollongong, NSW) proved she hasn’t lost any form, despite taking time off the past few years to raise her two children, and held off a strong challenge by Rebecca Woods (NSW, AUS). Both advanced over fellow Australian Samantha Cornish in their decider.

Defending event winner Dara Penfold (Tas, AUS) was unfortunately eliminated in the round of 24 today, together with three-time event winner Melanie Redman-Carr and fellow local West Australian talent Claire Bevilacqua.

In the Salomon Masters this morning, Hawaiian Tom Dosland enjoyed a dream heat in testing conditions, locking in the highest combined scores of this year’s event with a 9.5 and another 8.0 in his tally. Reigning World Junior Champion Pablo Paulino (BRA) also secured a 9.0 to finish runner-up to Dosland, and the pair both advanced to meet top seeded surfers tomorrow.

“I’m really happy to make it through, began Paulino. “This is my second time to Western Australia, but the first in the contest. This wave is very good, and I hope to do well. I am trying my best on the QS this year.

2004 Pipeline Masters champion Jamie O’Brien (HAW) survived his match, placing second to South Africa’s Royden Bryson. The Hawaiian only managed to secure one decent ride, but it proved enough in their wave-starved exchangee.

“I like Margaret River and there are a lot of good waves around this area, said O’Brien. “I enjoy hanging out here, and the quality of waves is kind of like Hawaii. There’s a lot of power and this contest is one we can look at with the hopes of doing well. Unfortunately today the swell was pretty small, but I just tried to stay calm and not to lose focus. When the waves came I tried to be in the right spot and fortunately I caught one to make it.

The Sunshine Coast’s Ryan Campbell (AUS) caused an upset by eliminating Hawaiian powerhouse Pancho Sullivan. Californian Benji Weatherly dominated the heat with a total of 16.9 points, but 20-year-old Campbell held onto his slender advantage over Sullivan — who recently won a 4-Star QS event at home in Hawaii.

“It was a hard heat for sure, with Benji and Pancho, acknowledged Campbell. “I was nervous, just hoping a set wouldn’t come through for Pancho at the end. This event is really important, as I want to get off to a good start to the year.

Germany’s Marlon Lipke continued his run, advancing with former WCT surfer Beau Emerton (QLD, AUS) in the day’s opening clash.

The 2005 Salomon Masters and Bico Classic is proudly sponsored by Salomon, westernaustralia.com, Bico Australia, Department of Sport & Recreation, Tooheys Extra Dry, Coca-Cola, SunSmart, Odyssey 2020, Telstra Country Wide, Jim Beam, 92.9 ninety two.nine, Fin Control Systems (FCS), Evans & Tate, Margarets Beach Resort, Margaret River Law and Tracks.