Australians Troy Brooks and Yvonne Byron Win Margaret River WQS Events

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

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) www.aspworldtour.com 2005 World Qualifying Series (WQS)

Australian Brooks Wins Prime Rated Event

Sunday, March 20, 2005 (Margaret River, Western Australia) Australian Troy Brooks (Gold Coast, QLD) today won the Prime rated 6-Star Salomon Masters. Following a week of average conditions, perfect 4-5ft (1.5m) surf greeted the final day of this year’s most important World Qualifying Series (WQS) event, with pods of dolphins again gracing the lineup.

Brooks, the lone Aussie to reach today’s quarterfinals, carried the hopes of a nation and huge beach crowd support with each of his rides. The World Championship Tour (WCT) ‘rookie’ trailed throughout the 35-minute against Hawaiian Roy Powers, and appeared destined for defeat until a wave surfaced within the dying minutes. Displaying complete confidence he launched a massive aerial, and after landing it, continued to execute critical forehand snaps for a near-perfect 9.67 score and dramatic victory.

Having turned 26 this week, today’s win generated real reason to celebrate, along with US$15,000 prizemoney and 2,750 crucial ratings points. It’s his third major qualifying series victory, and a dream start to the 2005 season.

“Oh my God, this is unbelievable, began Brooks, after being carried from the water’s edge all the way up to the presentation area. “It was so nerve-racking out there, and I knew I only had one shot at it. I sat and waited, and finally the wave came at the end. I saw a punt section and just went for it, and nailed it. I was just hoping it would go flat and he wouldn’t be able to catch anything else (laughs). Roy’s been ripping all day, dropping eights and nines every heat.

“How awesome is this? he continued. “My first WQS of the year, and to win is a dream start.

Powers proved menacing throughout the prestigious tournament, overcoming some of the toughest opponents to reach his second ever final. Once there he immediately applied pressure to Brooks, creating a commanding lead from the outset with an 8.0 in his tally. The 24-year-old came close to qualifying for this year’s elite tour in 27th position, but is now definitely on track for 2006, currently sitting in fourth on the ratings.

“I’ve had a great contest, but at the end of the final I was basically a spectator, acknowledged Powers. “There was nothing I could have done, and I’m so stoked to have gotten second. He definitely deserved to win with that aerial. He put it on the line, and that’s what surfing should be about now. I was clapping from behind as he did it (laughs). It was a sick air. I’m just stoked to have such a strong start at the beginning of the year.

Equal third in the Salomon Masters were defending event champion Neco Padaratz (BRA) and Gabe Kling (FL, USA). Both received 2,008 valuable ratings points.

Padaratz, the reigning two-time World Qualifying Series winner, stormed through this year’s tournament determined to back up his title, but against Powers in the second semifinal was unable to secure an 8.6 score required toward the end. The passionate 28-year-old cites this event as his favourite of the year, and following a win, runner-up finish and now an equal third at Margaret’s, his results support the sentiment.

“It’s another semifinal, but really hard to swallow, said Padaratz. “Everything felt good. My board, physically, mental… I just chose the wrong waves at the end. Nothing to complain about, as Margaret River is a place that lives in my heart. I have so much passion about it, and feel like a man over here in this nature. There are so many sharks around, the waves are powerful, rocks everywhere… I feel like I did a good job and am so hungry to be back here again soon (laughs).

Kling, who proved a dark horse throughout the tournament and took out many of the top seeds, was ultimately stopped by Brooks. The 24-year-old continued his strong form in the semifinalsbut his opponent earned a couple of eight plus scores to seal victory. Nonetheless, the result is still his best to date and pushes him to the top of the current ratings.

“I’m so amped to do well in a contest of this calibre, as it’s the best I’ve ever gone, said Kling. “The waves weren’t so good at the beginning of the week, but luckily I made it this far and they were great today. I’m really happy and can’t complain at all. The points help a lot, so I’ll just have to keep truckin’ and try to qualify.

Finishing equal fifth after being eliminated in the man-on-man quarterfinals were Great Britain’s Russell Winter, Brazilians 2000 World Junior Champion Pedro Henrique and Armando Daltro, together with South Africa’s Travis Logie.

Despite posting the highest combined scores of this year’s tournament yesterday, Logie was unable to match Powers in their clash today.

“It’s been a really good event and I was stoked to get big scores in all the different conditions this week, said Logie. “I was upset to lose in the quarters, but this is a big result still and gives me a lot of confidence.

A Tooheys Extra Dry Expression Session took place between the semis and event finale, with 10 international surfers vying for the bonus cash on offer. Trent Munro (Scott’s Head, AUS), who placed equal ninth this morning, ended up winning the spectacle after landing a big forehand aerial.

“I was just trying to have fun and make amends for the mistakes I made in my heat today, said Munro. “It was fun, and stoked to win.

Local surfer Yadin Nicol received the ‘Highest Placed Regional Men’s Trophy’ in equal 25th position, after losing yesterday afternoon.

For the first time this year’s Salomon Masters introduced a man-on-man competitive format, as distinct to regular four-man heats, from quarterfinals onwards. Besides reducing the amount of hassling and luck involved with catching rides, the format mirrors the World Championship Tour (WCT) and therefore provides qualifying surfers the opportunity to gain experience before reaching the elite ranks.

Byron Defeats Beachley for Massive Win

Saturday, March 19, 2005 (Margaret River, Western Australia) Australian Yvonne Byron (Wollongong, NSW) today created a major upset by defeating six-time world champion Layne Beachley (Manly, NSW) to win the Prime rated 6-Star women’s Bico Classic. Difficult 3ft (1m) conditions hosted the year’s most important qualifying series event, with the Prime rated 6-Star Salomon Masters also completing its round of 48 this afternoon.

The 35-minute final began slowly for Byron, but the reigning Australian champion then picked off the decider’s best ride for an 8-point score and surged ahead with another 6.93 midway through. A former World Championship Tour (WCT) surfer, Byron (then Rogencamp) has been absent from the scene since 1999 when she gave birth to the first of two children. The 28-year-old mother continued surfing however, and today proved her talent hasn’t diminished any. The result pushes her to fifth on the current qualifying series ratings and has inspired a new campaign in hopes of rejoining the elite ranks.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet, began Byron afterwards. “I won the Aussie titles last year, but I haven’t really been competing much since 1999 when I was on the WCT. I haven’t been talking about it, but my goal if I won today was to follow the rest of he tour this year, so I guess I’ll be travelling again.

“I feel like my surfing in the past 12-months has actually been better than while I was on tour, she continued. “I sort of lost the passion for surfing before, but having it taken away from me while I was pregnant really made me really enjoy it again. I’m probably a more mature competitor now too.

“I knew that 8.0 wouldn’t be enough, as you can never underestimate Layne, she added, in praise of her final opponent. “Until the hooter went I never thought I’d won it for a second.

For Beachley, the result marks her second runner-up finish at Margaret River from as many starts. Having charged into the final with a near-perfect 9.63 score in the semifinals, the 32-year-old was definitely odds on favourite. Unfortunately difficult conditions worked against her, and she was left needing a 7.94 score.

“The conditions were difficult to read in the final, and obviously it came down to whoever got the better waves, reasoned Beachley. “I started strong, but couldn’t capitalize on the lead, while Yvonne got lucky and ripped the bag out of the wave she got. That’s what won it for her.

“I’m the Western Australian bridesmaid, she joked, of her repeat result. “I’ve got to get over that eventually, so I guess it enforces the fact I have to come back next year and try again. It’s been a great event and I’m really thrilled Bico have stepped up and provided so much support for women’s surfing.

Equal third in the Bico Classic were Australians Serena Brooke (Gold Coast, QLD) and Rebecca Woods (Copacabana, NSW). Brooke, a former world #2, has been plagued by injuries the past few seasons – including a serious cut to her eye while free-surfing prior to last year’s event at Margaret River — but has turned her fortune around in the past 12-months. First she re-qualified for the elite ranks and today ensured another great result.

“I was basically out of rhythm, reasoned Brooke. “I didn’t find any waves I could surf well on, and Layne caught that 9.63, so there wasn’t much I could do. I’m a bit disappointed, but really happy to finish third too. After what happened with my eye last year I was a bit hesitant to come back here, but I’m the type of person who always tries to jump back on the horse. This is the only 6-Star in Australia, and Bico put on a really good event, so it’s all good.

Finishing equal fifth this morning were Caroline Sarran (FRA), Kim Wooldridge (AUS), former world #2 Keala Kennelly (Kauai, HAW), and current World Championship Tour (WCT) ratings leader Megan Abubo (HAW). While international surfers flew from all corners of the globe, Australians ultimately dominated the final day of competition.

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.

Further information: www.salomonmasters.com or www.bicoclassic.com er-up finish at Margaret River from as many starts. Having charged into the final with a near-perfect 9.63 score in the semifinals, the 32-year-old was definitely odds on favourite. Unfortunately difficult conditions worked against her, and she was left needing a 7.94 score.

“The conditions were difficult to read in the final, and obviously it came down to whoever got the better waves, reasoned Beachley. “I started strong, but couldn’t capitalize on the lead, while Yvonne got lucky and ripped the bag out of the wave she got. That’s what won it for her.

“I’m the Western Australian bridesmaid, she joked, of her repeat result. “I’ve got to get over that eventually, so I guess it enforces the fact I have to come back next year and try again. It’s been a great event and I’m really thrilled Bico have stepped up and provided so much support for women’s surfing.

Equal third in the Bico Classic were Australians Serena Brooke (Gold Coast, QLD) and Rebecca Woods (Copacabana, NSW). Brooke, a former world #2, has been plagued by injuries the past few seasons – including a serious cut to her eye while free-surfing prior to last year’s event at Margaret River — but has turned her fortune around in the past 12-months. First she re-qualified for the elite ranks and today ensured another great result.

“I was basically out of rhythm, reasoned Brooke. “I didn’t find any waves I could surf well on, and Layne caught that 9.63, so there wasn’t much I could do. I’m a bit disappointed, but really happy to finish third too. After what happened with my eye last year I was a bit hesitant to come back here, but I’m the type of person who always tries to jump back on the horse. This is the only 6-Star in Australia, and Bico put on a really good event, so it’s all good.

Finishing equal fifth this morning were Caroline Sarran (FRA), Kim Wooldridge (AUS), former world #2 Keala Kennelly (Kauai, HAW), and current World Championship Tour (WCT) ratings leader Megan Abubo (HAW). While international surfers flew from all corners of the globe, Australians ultimately dominated the final day of competition.

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.

Further information: www.salomonmasters.com or www.bicoclassic.com