Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
2005 Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT)
EPIC SWELL FORECAST FOR ROXY PRO IN FIJI
April 14, 2005 (ASP Int’l, QLD, Australia) In just a few short days, the world’s best female surfers will descend upon Fiji’s majestic Tavarua and Namotu islands eager to find their rhythm in the world-renowned reef breaks.
According to event surf forecasters, there is a likelihood that ideal swell conditions will materialize Saturday through Monday and that the main event action could unfold as early as the first day of the Roxy Pro waiting period—Sunday April 17.
“If the forecasters are correct, we could be looking at a solid two metre-plus (six foot-plus) swell at the beginning of our competition window, says contest director Rod Brooks. “As well as being one of the best quality waves in the world, Cloudbreak is a swell magnet and very often outperforms the expectations of our forecasters.
“We have been hoping for epic conditions for the Roxy Pro since we started the event in 2001. We have had some very good waves in that time but not to the level that Cloudbreak is renowned for.
With a waiting period running from Sunday April 17 – Friday April 22, just two full days are needed to run the competition in its entirety.
According to Brooks, the girls will arrive on Saturday and be given an opportunity surf the breaks before attending the traditional welcoming Kava ceremony performed by the local islanders. “Then if conditions are good for Sunday, we will start the Roxy Trials, followed by the main event.
Acclaimed as much for the quintessential surf experience it embodies as for its role as one of nine events that will decide this year’s World Champion, the Roxy Pro in Fiji is a favorite for many on tour.
“It’s the isolation of Fiji that makes it so special. It’s relaxing and fun and there just happens to be a contest happening at the same time, explains former six-time world champion Layne Beachley. “It’s sort of like real-life Survivor—only one of us goes home a winner… but they get the bar tab!
Five years ago the Roxy Pro in Fiji was the first-ever women’s stand-alone competition on the World Championship Tour (WCT), this year it’s the first of six such contests sanctioned by the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP). An English addition to the 2005 tour, the Roxy Jam UK, will precede Rip Curl’s girl-only events in France and Malibu, followed by the Roxy Pro Oahu and Billabong Pro Maui at the season’s end. The Roxy Pro in Fiji also ups the ante financially with its US$75,800 prizemoney—the biggest purse on this year’s women’s professional tour.
The reefs surrounding Tavarua and Namotu islands offer a selection of world-class waves which translate into a variable playground for the pros. If preferred venue ‘Cloudbreak’, a powerful open-ocean reef break about a mile south of Tavarua Island, isn’t contestable, the competition can be moved to the nearby breaks of ‘Restaurants’ or ‘Namotu Lefts.’
Failing to produce a repeat winner in the four previous events, a clear dominance over the islands’ lefts has yet to be asserted. Current ratings leader Megan Abubo grabbed the maiden Roxy Pro title in 2001, Melanie Redmann-Carr clinched it in 2002 and Keala Kennelly took it in 2003. In 2004, Sofia Mulanovich used her first-ever WCT win at the Roxy Pro to propel herself into a ratings lead and ultimately a world championship. Mulanovich will meet the previous year’s winner, Kennelly, in round one along with the event wildcard.
Following an amazing Australian leg of the tour-where Wildcard Stephanie Gilmore went all the way on the Gold Coast and reigning World Champ, Sofia Mulanovich, rang a bell that tolled, not only her own triumphant return, but also that of a girls’ WCT event at Bells Beach—the Roxy Pro in Fiji is ripe to reveal the next chapter in what’s fast becoming a pivotal and page-turning 2005 tour.