SPC Fruit Pro Update From Bells Beach, Australia

SPC Fruit Pro
Rip Curl Pro
Rip Curl GromSearch International Final
Bells Beach, Victoria, Australia
March 21-April 1

LIVE WEBCAST & LIVE RIP CURL PRO WEBSITE: www.ripcurl.com and www.aspworldtour.com

Six-Time World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) continued her quest to claim an unrivalled seventh world title today with a blitzing performance in the opening rounds of the SPC Fruit Pro at Bells Beach. With impressive wave selection and high-speed commitment to maneuvers in testing onshore 2-4′ conditions, the sport’s most visible and accomplished ambassador went on with her winning ways.

Competition finally got underway this morning after three days of postponements due to tiny swell and ugly east to southerly winds. With the SPC event needing to finish by Easter Sunday, organisers wisely opted to make the best of today’s bumped up swell.

Beachley comfortably won her three-woman opening round heat with young Australians Laurina McGrath and wildcard Rebecca Woods, progressing directly to round three, but admitted to the lineup being difficult to judge.

“It’s anyone’s game out there today, said Beachley this morning of the challenging round one conditions, representing the outlook of all and sundry. The ocean was the decider all day long.

“There is a lineup out there, but because it’s so windy it tends to shift a little bit. It’s not really the sets that are the good ones, because the sets break too wide and fatten up really quick. It’s all about wave selection and positioning, and patience, said Beachley.

Paddling out for her third round heat against rookie Rebecca Woods this afternoon, Beachley admitted to feeling somewhat lackadaisical.

“It wasn’t a very good mind frame to be in, especially when you’ve worked so hard in the off-season to comeback and contend for a seventh world title, so I gave myself quite a strong pep talk. After giving myself a good kick in the butt, I went out there and really focused on my wave selection and, fortunately, surfed strongly on the waves I got.

In that first heat of round three, Layne opened with an 8.67 and backed it up with a 9.17 incorporating serious snaps and critical floaters into long runs from outside Rincon, which was an improved scenario to this morning’s round one conditions wider around the Bells Bowl.

Woods surfed well, logging a solid 7.17 on her final wave, but Beachley was simply a cut above, as would be expected of a six-times world champion dealing with a rookie.

“I can only be happy that I am learning from one of the best. It was a learning experience, and I’m going to take away lessons to learn. There’s so much to learn, and a long way to go, but I can only keep giving my best. One day…one day, I will beat her! lamented Woods, after her second ninth placing at the hands of Beachley in as many events.

“Poor Rebecca! When I first started out as a rookie I used to regularly get walloped by Wendy Botha, Pam Burridge, Lisa Andersen and Pauline Menzcer in the first few years. They were such strong world champions, said Beachley.

“Just to get one win over them helps your confidence, but to climb over them you’ve obviously got to keep beating them. In the meantime, you’ve got to pay your dues, and that’s what Rebecca and some of the young girls are doing now, commented Beachley.

Former Bells winner Megan Abubo (HAW) easily accounted for Brazil’s Maria Tita Tavares in the following third round heat and will draw Beachley in the first quarterfinal of the SPC Fruit Pro.

If Beachley gets by Abubo and goes on to win the event, she will match the record of Florida’s former four-times world champion Lisa Andersen who has won four WCT events at Bells.

A big upset in this morning’s round one schedule saw SPC Trials winner Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) defeat reigning and newly crowned world champ Sofia Mulanovich (PER).

South Africa’s Heather Clark was left thirin the same three-woman exchange, later bowing out third in round two as well, suffering from bruised ribs incurred in Western Australia last week.

Public and media attention was very much on the triallist/champ showdown from the start today. Earlier this month, Mulanovich was beaten twice by triallist Stephanie Gilmore to finish ninth in the first WCT of the year. Rip Curl team rider Gilmore went on to win that event.

Surfing strongly laying some big backhand snaps, Miley-Dyer was buoyed for the exchange after beating the world champion in the Copa Movistar WQS event in Peru in early February this year.

“It was a good confidence boost to have beaten Sofia before…just knowing you can actually beat the world’s best sometimes, admitted Miley-Dyer. “Being the world champion, she’s kind of on a bit of a pedestal, but it’s an error to think they’re unbeatable. Having beaten her before I knew I could get through a couple of heats here.

As it turned out, that would be Myler-Dyer’s only win today. The pair were re-matched, highest seed against lowest, in heat four of round three.

The powerful triallist got the better of their first wave exchange, throwing big fans of spray and netting a 7.17 compared to the world champion’s opening ride of 6.83, but her hopes slid from there.

Mulanovich then took a wave that amounted to little, giving Miley-Dyer priority, but unfortunately the less-experienced goofy footer squandered that advantage by also making an error in wave choice. The Peruvian ruled from that point on, later adding a 6.8 to her scoreline, using priority wisely, and leaving Miley-Dyer chasing 6.46 for the duration of their exchange.

“I am so relieved to get by Jessi then, sighed Mulanovich after her victory. “I was not thinking of tactics, priority or anything but just concentrating purely on my surfing. I’m glad I didn’t know she started better than me because I was nervous, but it worked out in the end. Please, no more wildcards!

When round one of the SPC Fruit Pro started this morning, the only girl who was not concerned about the heavy onshore winds was Western Australia’s Melanie Redman-Carr, who regularly endures such conditions at home. She convincingly won her first round heat and went on to beat Laurina McGrath in round three under low overcast skies, with a colourful deck spray underfoot.

“I’ve got a really good board at the moment, which holds in really well, remarked Redman-Carr. “It has perfect fin placement, and I think the spray helps too, making it look to the judges like you’re doing more than you actually are, especially in low light like we have today where white surfboards get lost in the whitewater.

Rip Curl webcast commentator Jodie Cooper, who finished in the women’s top 10 for ten years thru the mid-80s and 90s, labelled Gold Coast surfer Trudy Todd as ‘the most under-estimated surfer’ on the women’s tour, and the effervescent natural footer lived up to the praise today.

She finished a close third in her round one exchange behind Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) and rookie Claire Bevilacqua, but then got a reprieve to move to round three via a second placing in round two. She put in a strong snappy performance thereafter to defeat Sam Cornish (AUS) convincingly and move into the quarterfinals.

Now in her fourth year as a WCT surfer, but still somehow thought of as a grommet, Chelsea Georgeson put in a professional display this morning, scoring an 8.33 for one backhand assault on the way to winning her round one heat. In contrast his afternoon, she trailed rookie Bevilacqua needing an 8.0 for much of their third round exchange, and patience for the right wave, though a virtue, was not rewarding.

Another hot and cold performer today was Brazil’s Jacqueline Silva. She was a star in this morning’s round one conditions, banking an 8.17 on her first wave and then 9.33 on her third, to amass the highest heat score of the day. She comboed Samantha Cornish (AUS) and Melanie Bartels (HAW) in that heat, but round three was a different story for the quietly spoken performer.

In round three, Silva’s wave choice did not match her earlier brilliance and she was defeated wanting 6.17 against Hawaii’s Keala Kennelly in the increasingly confused lineup with the afternoon’s low tide. She had her chances but didn’t make any thing of them.

Despite having a heavy dose of the flu, Kennelly was Hawaii’s standout today. She easily won her first round heat, ironically getting one of her scores by heading left, an unusual thing at Bells. Her highest score against Silva was only a 5.17, but it proved enough.

Fellow islander Melanie Bartels was third in her first round heat and duplicated that result in the second round to be bundled out with a 17th. Megan Abubo smashed Tita Tavares in round three, but then Rochelle Ballard could only manage an equally low score against Australia’s Serena Brooke to cop the exit door as well.

“It’s great being back here at Bells and all of us are stoked that SPC have sponsored the event to make it happen, said Megan Abubo looking out over the Bells amphitheatre late today.

“I just love it here, especially when it’s pumping and AC/DC is blasting out on the speakers, referring to the event’s adopted ‘Hells Bells’ theme song.

We’ll all be looking forward to it pumping, or at least the surfers might hear AC/DC out in the lineup if the howling onshore winds drop tomorrow as predicted.

from Paul Sargeant

The Rip Curl Pro is Australia’s longest running professional surfing event and holds a proud place in surfing folklore, stretching back to 1973. The Rip Curl Pro’s status as one of six Victorian Government-designated Hallmark International Sporting Events each year, alongside the Melbourne Formula One and Phillip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Australian Tennis Open, the Melbourne Cup and the AFL Grand Final, is an acknowledgment of its contribution to the state’s rich sporting culture.

The Rip Curl Pro is proudly presented by Deakin University, associated with Surfing Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire Council, the Victorian Government Department of Tourism, Sport & The Commonwealth Games, the Association of Surfing Professionals, Foster’s, and supported by sponsors Telstra, Chupa Chups, National Australia Bank, Falls Creek, Schweppes, Four’n Twenty Pies and Tracks.

RESULTS

ROUND ONE (1st, 2nd>Rnd3; 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 15.17; Megan Abubo (HAW) 11.17; Maria Tita Tavares (BRZ) 10.73
H2: Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.83; Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.10; Laurina McGrath (AUS) 8.70
H3: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 12.00; Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.67; Heather Clark (ZAF) 4.10
H4: Keala Kennelly (HAW) 11.57; Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 8.60; Serena Brooke (AUS) 7.24
H5: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 13.53; Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 11.50; Trudy Todd (AUS) 11.17
H6: Jacqueline Silva (BRZ) 17.50; Samantha Cornish (AUS) 9.33; Melanie Bartels (HAW) 5.56

ROUND TWO (1st, 2nd>Rnd3; 3rd=17th place, USD$2250/180pts)
H1: Laurina McGrath (AUS) 10.60; Serena Brooke (AUS) 10.34; Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9.60
H2: Maria Tita Tavares (BRZ) 10.77; Trudy Todd (AUS) 9.50; Heather Clark (ZAF) 7.34

ROUND THREE (1st>QtrFinals; 2nd=9th place, USD$2800/360pts)
H1: Layne Beachley (AUS) 17.84 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 13.50
H2: Megan Abubo (HAW) 10.34 def. Maria Tita Tavares (BRZ) 4.24
H3: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 12.17 def. Laurina McGrath (AUS) 8.56
H5: Serena Brooke (AUS) 10.77 def. Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 7.50
H6: Trudy Todd (AUS) 14.50 def. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 11.34
H7: Keala Kennelly (HAW) 8.67 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRZ) 4.93
H8: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 12.83 def. Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 9.06els (HAW) in that heat, but round three was a different story for the quietly spoken performer.

In round three, Silva’s wave choice did not match her earlier brilliance and she was defeated wanting 6.17 against Hawaii’s Keala Kennelly in the increasingly confused lineup with the afternoon’s low tide. She had her chances but didn’t make any thing of them.

Despite having a heavy dose of the flu, Kennelly was Hawaii’s standout today. She easily won her first round heat, ironically getting one of her scores by heading left, an unusual thing at Bells. Her highest score against Silva was only a 5.17, but it proved enough.

Fellow islander Melanie Bartels was third in her first round heat and duplicated that result in the second round to be bundled out with a 17th. Megan Abubo smashed Tita Tavares in round three, but then Rochelle Ballard could only manage an equally low score against Australia’s Serena Brooke to cop the exit door as well.

“It’s great being back here at Bells and all of us are stoked that SPC have sponsored the event to make it happen, said Megan Abubo looking out over the Bells amphitheatre late today.

“I just love it here, especially when it’s pumping and AC/DC is blasting out on the speakers, referring to the event’s adopted ‘Hells Bells’ theme song.

We’ll all be looking forward to it pumping, or at least the surfers might hear AC/DC out in the lineup if the howling onshore winds drop tomorrow as predicted.

from Paul Sargeant

The Rip Curl Pro is Australia’s longest running professional surfing event and holds a proud place in surfing folklore, stretching back to 1973. The Rip Curl Pro’s status as one of six Victorian Government-designated Hallmark International Sporting Events each year, alongside the Melbourne Formula One and Phillip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix, the Australian Tennis Open, the Melbourne Cup and the AFL Grand Final, is an acknowledgment of its contribution to the state’s rich sporting culture.

The Rip Curl Pro is proudly presented by Deakin University, associated with Surfing Victoria, the Surf Coast Shire Council, the Victorian Government Department of Tourism, Sport & The Commonwealth Games, the Association of Surfing Professionals, Foster’s, and supported by sponsors Telstra, Chupa Chups, National Australia Bank, Falls Creek, Schweppes, Four’n Twenty Pies and Tracks.

RESULTS

ROUND ONE (1st, 2nd>Rnd3; 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 15.17; Megan Abubo (HAW) 11.17; Maria Tita Tavares (BRZ) 10.73
H2: Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.83; Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.10; Laurina McGrath (AUS) 8.70
H3: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 12.00; Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.67; Heather Clark (ZAF) 4.10
H4: Keala Kennelly (HAW) 11.57; Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 8.60; Serena Brooke (AUS) 7.24
H5: Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 13.53; Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 11.50; Trudy Todd (AUS) 11.17
H6: Jacqueline Silva (BRZ) 17.50; Samantha Cornish (AUS) 9.33; Melanie Bartels (HAW) 5.56

ROUND TWO (1st, 2nd>Rnd3; 3rd=17th place, USD$2250/180pts)
H1: Laurina McGrath (AUS) 10.60; Serena Brooke (AUS) 10.34; Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9.60
H2: Maria Tita Tavares (BRZ) 10.77; Trudy Todd (AUS) 9.50; Heather Clark (ZAF) 7.34

ROUND THREE (1st>QtrFinals; 2nd=9th place, USD$2800/360pts)
H1: Layne Beachley (AUS) 17.84 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 13.50
H2: Megan Abubo (HAW) 10.34 def. Maria Tita Tavares (BRZ) 4.24
H3: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 12.17 def. Laurina McGrath (AUS) 8.56
H5: Serena Brooke (AUS) 10.77 def. Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 7.50
H6: Trudy Todd (AUS) 14.50 def. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 11.34
H7: Keala Kennelly (HAW) 8.67 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRZ) 4.93
H8: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 12.83 def. Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 9.06