HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Sunday, October 17, 2004 – Successfully battling stormy three to five foot waves and a very strong current, Australia's Claire Bevilacqua today won the $20,000 Hello Kitty Boardfest held at the Huntington Beach Pier. Bevilacqua (9.85 points) overcame Hawaiian Melanie Bartels (8.80), Florida's Karina Petroni (8.30) and Australia's Rebecca Woods (7.35) to win $3,500 and 1500 valuable World Qualifying Series (WQS) points. The contest site received several inches of hard, driving rain overnight, but the skies cleared partially in the morning. Although threatening throughout the day, further rains never materialized.
The fitness levels of the four finalists were tested across four heats today, and Bevilacqua rose to the challenge. Scoring a solid 7.50 wave early on in the heat, the final outcome was never really in doubt. "I'm totally stoked to win and thank you very much to Hello Kitty for a great event. Bevilacqua also won a super cool Hello Kitty television something Claire said that she, "very much needed.
Heading into the 30 minute final, Bartels looked like the odds-on favorite, scoring the event's highest wave, a 9.80, during the second semi-final. Bartels dropped into a giant right-hander out back and nailed several huge turns to tally a near perfect score. The score was even more remarkable given the difficult conditions. Ironically, she finished ahead of Bevilacqua in that heat.
Twelve year-old Courtney Conlogue's amazing run ended during the second semi, when she finished fourth behind Bartels, Bevilacqua and Prue Jeffries (AUS). The youngster was elated with her finish and went on to anchor one of the clinic Tag Teams at day's end. After winning her first heat of the day on a tie breaking count-back, Carlsbad's Julia Christian finished third in a tough quarter-final heat behind Bartels and Jeffries.
Even with the critical four-star WQS points on the line a stormy conditions throughout the day, a major highlight of Hello Kitty Boardfest was the learn-to-surf-better clinics. Fifty girls participated in the daylong long clinics headined by Beck. Following the WQS final, the girls competed in their very own competition using the same judges, announcers, contest site and jerseys. Hundreds of parents and family members lined the shoreline to route the girls on.
Several thousand spectators also took part in the Hello Kitty Boardfest family-oriented beach exposition that showcased free attractions and games, face painting and appearances by Hello Kitty herself. For "Hello Kitty Boardfest consumer information please visit www.boardfest.com or call (714) 375-1132.