Quiksilver Pro Update: Beachley Blazes As The Girls Push The Limits And Each Other

Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile
Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile
Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast
March 1st to 13th

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Quiksilver Pro Update: Beachley Blazes As The Girls Push The Limits And Each Other

FORMER six-times World Champion Layne Beachley (Australia) burst from the gates with a monstrous 19.2 out of a possible 20 in her round one heat of the Roxy Pro Presented by Boost Mobile at Snapper Rocks today. Beachley’s blistering form screamed a warning that she is seriously hunting and capable of a seventh world title, but her performance on behalf of the established ladies was countered by threatening standards from the new guard of rookies and wildcards contesting the clean 2-3′ (1m) conditions.

Foremost for the younger belles was trials winner Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) who won her heat three, taking out Peru’s reigning world champion Sofia Mulanovich in the process, as well as West Australian veteran Melanie Redman-Carr. Sofia suffered an interference call on Redman-Carr, but a highline score of 8.5 for Gilmore’s best wave, and a 5.67 back-up meant she would have won regardless.

“Sofia’s interference was so blatant that she obviously mustn’t have looked inside her. She just dropped down on top of Mel, observed former four-times world champion Wendy Botha (formerly South Africa/now Australia) who is one of eight former world champions on Quiksilver’s commentary team for these events.

“I didn’t surf well or smart, or catch the right waves, and I felt the pressure, lamented a disappointed Sofia after the heat, consoled only by the fact that she gets another chance in round two.

Third placed surfers in the six women’s first round three-person heats go into round two, whilst first and second go straight to round three. Third placed surfers in the two three-person second round heats are then eliminated, whilst the other four progress to be re-seeded with the other girls in round three. The remaining contenders then go into man-on-man WCT format. Stephanie Gilmore won her first-ever WCT heat, moving straight to round three with her clean and committed style.

“I’m stoked — it’s absolutely amazing! I’m not there yet though, said Gilmore being realistic. “It’s kind of nerve racking surfing against all my heroes, and I’m out to impress a few people, and yeah, I’m having fun enjoying Snapper without anyone out.

It was Beachley though who blew fuses on the judge’s computerised score-pads in the second heat of the day. First up she netted a 9.33 for producing a full repertoire of manoeuvres down the line, and then a 9.87 on her third wave, which was similar, but started with a massive crack off the lip on a vertical outside section.

“I’ve been surfing a lot on waves similar to this, and it was exciting to see that wave stand up, said Layne talking about her second wave. “When I saw that section stand up for me, I just stepped back, put my foot down and hit it, and it felt really good.

Layne had the spectators and peers alike talking as went about her trade. She left her adversaries Samantha Cornish and Claire Bevilacqua in her spray, though rookie Bevilacqua did pull off a rare pit.

“I guess that was my ‘here I am — I’m back!’ statement quipped Beachley of her impressive heat score. “I’ve been working really hard in the off-season, particularly on wave selection, which let me down badly last year. Actually, just a general lack of interest in my work really let me down last year.

“I’m committed again this year though, and excited to get back to work. This is my life, my passion, and it’s coming to a close soon — the way the young girls are surfing now, it’s getting really hard to beat them, said Beachley, stating the obvious after observing today’s lofty standards from the younger girls.

One of the girls who getting harder and harder to beat is former Avalon surfer, now Gold Coast resident Chelsea Georgeson. She finished with the day’s second highest heat score of 18.27, counting a 9.17 and 9.10 as her two counting waves.

Though 21 years old, and now in her fourth WCT season, Georgeson along with Mulanovich, is regarded as the leading edge of the hungry new emerging generation. On just her second year on the WCT tour, Hawaii’s Melanie Bartels is another inspiring all. Attacking the pocket squarely, and popping her tail out off the top, Bartels won her heat six from 2004 Rookie of the Year Laurina McGrath (Australia) and fellow-islander Keala Kennelly.

“Watching Sofia win the world title last year brought it home that there is a lot of young girls that are coming up and pushing things, “commented Georgeson after her heat. “With Melanie Bartels doing airs, and chop-hops and stuff everywhere, I guess we are trying to take women’s surfing to new levels.

Serena Brooke (Australia) returns to the WCT fold year this season after two years out in the WQS wilderness being sidelined as well with first a broken wrist, and then an eye injury last year. She finished second behind Georgeson this morning, but ahead of Trudy Todd (Australia), and was gracious enough to compare Chelsea’s backhand to that of stylish Californian Rob Machado.

“The standard is going to be sick this year. Everyone is ripping observed Brooke. “It’s way higher than it was two years ago, and it’s exciting to come back and push your surfing to new levels. There’s definitely a huge jump in performance levels. There will be no easy heats this season.

Last year’s Women’s WCT runner-up Rochelle Ballard (Hawaii) came in second in what was basically the only veteran’s heat today, ahead of Pauline Menzcer, but behind South Africa’s Heather Clark who was consistent and in good rhythm on her backhand.

Other round one heat results saw defending Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile champion Jacqueline Silva (Brasil) finish third in the opening heat of the day.

“The heat started slow because there were not many waves, and the current was strong. I never stopped paddling,said Jacqueline who rode a 5’9 board in her heat. “I tried to get the smaller ones because they more open, but couldn’t find any. Maybe the waves will be better at high tide.

Hot young Aussie surfer Rebecca Woods, a fresh rookie to this year’s Women’s crop, suffered a case of nerves and did not have a significant wave until five minutes from the end of the same heat. A last minute three-way flurry saw her jump over Silva into second spot, but Hawaii’s Megan Abubo retained her lead after having earlier opened with an 8.0 for a series of top-to-bottom combinations. Having turned 29 in January, Abubo’s win was one for the elder troupe. She too acknowledges that the times are changing.

“The rookies this year are so fit and focussed, and the level, even like that from little 12 year old Carissa (Moore) is amazing said Abubo. “Everyone wants to be on top of their game so that they’re looking like they’re up to standards. It’s good to see a new champion this year too, instead of the same thing – the last six years being Layne’s reign. Anyone can win the WCT world title this year because the standards are so good and even.

Layne Beachley’s outlook is that the young girls are actually pushing their elders, and vice-versa.

“I think you might find that the older girls are actually looking up to the younger girls because they’re so much more dynamic, and effervescent in the water, as opposed to how us older girls performed in the 90s, said Beachley with complimentary aplomb.

“The young girls are pushing us to perform better, so we’re drawing inspiration from them, while they are aspiring to be as competitively driven as we are, concluded Beachley.

Whilst our formerly established multiple world champ’ Layne Beachley strode confidently off the beach, the young woman who broke her reign was resigned to a do-or-die effort for survival in the second round early afternoon.

As it happened, Sofia Mulanovich wobbled in third place for most of the heat while Samantha Cornish ruled the roost and Pauline Menzcer struggled for higher scores.With just over a minute remaining, Sofia scrapped onto a face-saving wave and put four hooks into it to earn 7.43 and scramble into second place. It was a nerve-racking experience.

“I don’t know what I’m doing — really! I better start surfing better, bubbled an embarrassed but relieved Mulanovich back on the beach. “I’m panicking a little bit. I need to find myself again. I’m sure God sent me that wave. He saved me again.

After struggling in her round one heat this morning, Coolangatta’s Trudy Todd came out on heat in her second round exchange, sealing a commanding lead with an 8.0 and 9.17 in-hand for some fast and furious surfing. Defending event champion Jacqueline Silva also moved into round three whilst Keala Kennelly was eliminated.

The final competition for the day was the final of the Quiksilver CORE Store Surf Challenge, a team event supported by DC Shoes and Fin Systems that was contested over the past five months by surf shop teams both sides of the Tasman Sea. Over 30 stores put up five man teams (four guys/one girl) to battle for over $60,000 in prizes in tag team competition. We broke up the women’s competition this morning by staging two one-hour long semi-finals of four teams that were ferociously contended.

Aloha from Sydney, Ocean Graffix from South Australia, Island Surfboards from Philip Island Victoria, and All Above Board from Lennox Head were the teams to lineup for the final. After including a perfect 10 point ride in their semi-final scoreline this morning, and some seriously radical surfing, Island Surfboard’s five-man team brought home the points in the final to win a trip to an exotic surfing location onboard the Quiksilver Crossing. The lads from Vico were seriously stoked, as you’d expect they would be.

The Quiksilver Pro Presented by Boost Mobile, and the Roxy Pro Presented by Boost Mobile, are both made possible by the support of the Gold Coast City Council. Both tournaments will feature the specialty awards made possible by co-sponsor Evian. The Evian Longest Tube Ride is worth $5000 for the winning male and female surfer to slot into the longest Gold Coast barrel of the tournament. Timekeepers will be their eyes on their stopwatches.

From Paul Sargeant

RESULTS

ROXY PRO PRESENTED BY BOOST MOBILE PRO ROUND ONE

H1: Megan Abubo (Haw) 13.07; Rebecca Woods (Aus) 12.9; Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 12.83

H2: Layne Beachley )Aus) 19.20; Claire Bevilacqua (Aus) 12.67; Samantha Cornish (Aus) 8.10

H3: Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) 14.17; Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 13.00; Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 8.64

H4: Heather Clark (SthAf) 13.00; Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 12.93; Pauline Menzcer (Aus) 9.70

H5: Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 18.27; Serena Brooke (Aus) 12.13; Trudy Todd (Aus) 8.07

H6: Melanie Bartels (Haw) 14.67; Laurina McGrath (Aus) 13.43; Keala Kennelly (Haw) 11.33

ROUND TWO

H1: Samantha Cornish (Aus) 15.67; Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 13.93; Pauline Menzcer (Aus) 12.34

H2: Trudy Todd (Aus) 17.17; Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 15.76; Keala Kennelly (Haw) 9.66resigned to a do-or-die effort for survival in the second round early afternoon.

As it happened, Sofia Mulanovich wobbled in third place for most of the heat while Samantha Cornish ruled the roost and Pauline Menzcer struggled for higher scores.With just over a minute remaining, Sofia scrapped onto a face-saving wave and put four hooks into it to earn 7.43 and scramble into second place. It was a nerve-racking experience.

“I don’t know what I’m doing — really! I better start surfing better, bubbled an embarrassed but relieved Mulanovich back on the beach. “I’m panicking a little bit. I need to find myself again. I’m sure God sent me that wave. He saved me again.

After struggling in her round one heat this morning, Coolangatta’s Trudy Todd came out on heat in her second round exchange, sealing a commanding lead with an 8.0 and 9.17 in-hand for some fast and furious surfing. Defending event champion Jacqueline Silva also moved into round three whilst Keala Kennelly was eliminated.

The final competition for the day was the final of the Quiksilver CORE Store Surf Challenge, a team event supported by DC Shoes and Fin Systems that was contested over the past five months by surf shop teams both sides of the Tasman Sea. Over 30 stores put up five man teams (four guys/one girl) to battle for over $60,000 in prizes in tag team competition. We broke up the women’s competition this morning by staging two one-hour long semi-finals of four teams that were ferociously contended.

Aloha from Sydney, Ocean Graffix from South Australia, Island Surfboards from Philip Island Victoria, and All Above Board from Lennox Head were the teams to lineup for the final. After including a perfect 10 point ride in their semi-final scoreline this morning, and some seriously radical surfing, Island Surfboard’s five-man team brought home the points in the final to win a trip to an exotic surfing location onboard the Quiksilver Crossing. The lads from Vico were seriously stoked, as you’d expect they would be.

The Quiksilver Pro Presented by Boost Mobile, and the Roxy Pro Presented by Boost Mobile, are both made possible by the support of the Gold Coast City Council. Both tournaments will feature the specialty awards made possible by co-sponsor Evian. The Evian Longest Tube Ride is worth $5000 for the winning male and female surfer to slot into the longest Gold Coast barrel of the tournament. Timekeepers will be their eyes on their stopwatches.

From Paul Sargeant

RESULTS

ROXY PRO PRESENTED BY BOOST MOBILE PRO ROUND ONE

H1: Megan Abubo (Haw) 13.07; Rebecca Woods (Aus) 12.9; Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 12.83

H2: Layne Beachley )Aus) 19.20; Claire Bevilacqua (Aus) 12.67; Samantha Cornish (Aus) 8.10

H3: Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) 14.17; Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 13.00; Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 8.64

H4: Heather Clark (SthAf) 13.00; Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 12.93; Pauline Menzcer (Aus) 9.70

H5: Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 18.27; Serena Brooke (Aus) 12.13; Trudy Todd (Aus) 8.07

H6: Melanie Bartels (Haw) 14.67; Laurina McGrath (Aus) 13.43; Keala Kennelly (Haw) 11.33

ROUND TWO

H1: Samantha Cornish (Aus) 15.67; Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 13.93; Pauline Menzcer (Aus) 12.34

H2: Trudy Todd (Aus) 17.17; Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 15.76; Keala Kennelly (Haw) 9.66