October 8, 2003 (Hossegor, France) Current ratings leader Keala Kennelly(Kauai, Haw) was today eliminated from the Roxy Pro France by local Frenchwildcard Emmanuelle Joly. The US$60,000 World Championship Tournament (WCT)relocated further south into the Basque country at Lafitenia this morning,where round three was completed.
Stormy 4-5 ft (1.5m) waves were on offer, though the long righthandersoffered plenty of room for the world’s best female surfers to performmaneuvers.
Kennelly trailed the entire heat against an in-form Joly. Needing acombination of scores for most the match, the Kauaian was able to claw herway back into the hunt toward the end with a 7.33-ride, but ultimatelyrequired another worth 8.84-points. Nonetheless, she still leads the chargeen-route to the season finale at Honolua Bay, Maui-Haw, this comingDecember.
“I tried to come back at the end, but it felt like they (the judges) weren’tscoring me as high, even though I was more on rail,” said a disappointedKennelly. “Emmanuelle is an unbelievable surfer though and could have easilybeen on the WCT for a long time, had she not had two kids and gone thatother route. I respect her surfing a lot.
“I didn’t want it to go down to Hawaii,” she added, of the world title race.”I wanted to be relaxed by then and celebrating already, but I’ve got somemore work to do I guess.”
Joly, on the other hand, dominated from the outset with a fantastic 8.5ride. The 32-year-old mother of two showed her knowledge of the break,picking off the better waves and executing a series of smooth carves andre-entries to the beach. Having won the Roxy Pro Trials and now eliminatedKennelly, she’s definitely a dark horse for the main event title.
“This is like my backyard,” said Joly of Lafitenia. “I surf here a lot andlike this place. I feel good after winning that heat, so I’m looking forwardto the rest of the contest.”
Five-time world champ Layne Beachley (Manly, Aus) out-classed JuliaChristian (CA, USA) the following heat, and by doing so moved one stepcloser to regaining the ratings top spot. After posting a 9.0, theAustralian went on to earn the highest combined tally so far with17.43-points and will now face fellow Australian Samantha Cornish in thequarterfinals. Should she go on to win the tournament, she will passKennelly in the race for this year’s title.
“Last year I came to France in the same position – I was over 600-pointsbehind Melanie (Redman-Carr), but she lost to the wildcard in the 9th placeround and I went on to win,” explained Beachley. “Obviously I’m hoping toget an action replay, and that’s what I’m working towards. I’m feelingreally confident as it comes down to the wire. I’m not gong to crack underthe pressure, I think I’m just going to get angry.”
South Africa Heather Clark – currently in third position on the ratings -helped her cause by eliminating Australian Kate Skarratt from round three.The goofy footer can also move into first spot if she wins the Roxy ProFrance, and is determined to give the frontrunners a serious challenge. Shefaces Peruvian dynamo Sofia Mulanovich in the quarterfinals.
“I’m really happy as I wanted to catch up some points on Keala,” said Clark.”Stoked to get through that heat. It wasn’t easy, as I knew Kate absolutelyripped in her first round heat, so I had to really try hard. I was lucky toget the waves I needed. Hopefully we get some better surf tomorrow.”
Megan Abubo (Haw) was the standout in this morning’s opening clash,defeating Jacqueline Silva (Brz) to now meet Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) in thequarterfinals. The powerful natural footer appeared at ease on the lumpyrighthanders, and is eager to secure her first big result of the season.
“It was tough being in the first heat as you don’t really know whatconditions are doing,” explained Abubo. “I tried to get some waves whichwould line up, as I was really lucky to get some to the beach. Going upagainst Chelsea next… she’s a real toough competitor and I’ve had some badruns against her the past year, so I’d really like to get one back.”
The Roxy Pro France is expected to climax tomorrow. A decision will be madeby 8:30am (local time), with Hossegor the likely venue.
Roxy Pro France Round Three (1st>Quarterfinals; 2nd=9th receives US$2,500)
H1: Megan Abubo (Haw) 13.66 def. Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 11.27
H2: Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 14.83 def. Marie Pierre Abgrall (Fra) 8.33
H3: Lynette Mackenzie (Aus) 13.16 def. Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 10.0
H4: Emmanuelle Joly (Fra) 16.17 def. Keala Kennelly (Haw) 13.5
H5: Layne Beachley (Aus) 17.43 def. Julia Christian (USA) 10.5
H6: Samantha Cornish (Aus) 12.5 def. Trudy Todd (Aus) 8.43
H7: Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 15.27 def. Pauline Menczer (Aus) 14.1
H8: Heather Clark (SAfr) 13.66 def. Kate Skarratt (Aus) 10.83
Upcoming Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$3,000)
QF1: Megan Abubo (Haw) vs. Chelsea Georgeson (Aus)
QF2: Lynette MacKenzie (Aus) vs. Emmanuelle Joly (Fra)
QF3: Layne Beachley (Aus) vs. Samantha Cornish (Aus)
QF4: Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) vs. Heather Clark (SAfr)