ASP Women’s Top 17 Descend Upon Victoria For Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach
Event No. 2 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour
Bells Beach, Australia
Mar. 19 – 24, 2008

COOLANGATTA, Australia Wednesday, Mar. 12, 2008 ­ Event No. 2 of 8 on the2008 ASP Women’s World Tour will see the best surfers in the world converge upon Victoria for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach running from Mar. 19 ­-24, 2008.

Coming just weeks after the season-opener on the Gold Coast, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will see the ASP Top 17 battle it out in the idyllic settingof Torquay, determining who will come out on top and ring the bell.

Sofia Mulanovich (PER), current ratings leader on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, is riding a high after her recent victory at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and will be the woman to beat heading into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

“I feel great and winning on the Gold Coast was really amazing for me,” Mulanovich said. “I have never done well there before, so to win was one of my best victories. I feel confident and ready to go compete in all kinds of waves.”

Mulanovich, who won the ASP Women’s World Tour event at Bells Beach in 2005,has always been a threat at the venue and will look to consolidate on her early lead this season.

“I love Bells as it reminds me a lot to the waves of Punta Hermosa where I live,” Mulanovich said. “I always have a good vibe when I am there. I’m not thinking about the world title yet as it is still early in the season, but I am hoping for a strong result at Bells.”

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning ASP Women’s World Champion, surfed brilliantly in the opening rounds on the Gold Coast, but stumbled when ousted by Trials Winner Carissa Moore (HAW). Gilmore will hope to improve upon her equal 9th place finish in the opening event and defend her title atthe Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.

“There are a lot of girls on tour this season that can be considered threats,” Gilmore said. “It’s not going to be an easy season, but I’m just taking things one heat at a time, one event at a time.”

Megan Abubo (HAW), who took out the ASP Women’s World Tour event at BellsBeach in 2000, had a banner end to 2007, and took her incredible level ofsurfing to the Gold Coast, where she netted some of the highest scores throughout the opening round of competition.

“I worked with my trainer and did core training when my got my ribs finallyhealed which is the most important thing for me.” Abubo said. “I did lots of cardio and have been eating well. I was surfing a lot at home during the off season and working on my boards with my shaper Eric Arakawa.”

Abubo finished an equal 9th on the Gold Coast, but will look to use heryears of competitive experience to post a solid result at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.”The big advantage of being a veteran is that you’ve been there, done that,”Abubo said. “You know what to expect and you’re comfortable in your ownshoes and nothing really fazes you. Girls start asking you for advice and you see rookies make hideous mistakes in and out of the water. I love theknowledge that is stored in my head right now. As long as I can physically keep up with the younger girls, which I can honestly say is fine because Iam fitter than I have ever been.”

Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), who narrowly missed out on requalifying for this season’s Dream Tour, will don the singlet once again in Bells, this time competing for Melanie Bartels (HAW) who has withdrawn from the event. Bevilacqua managed an equal 9th place finish at last month’s Quiksilver ProGold Coast as a replacement for Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS), and will look toimprove upon her year thus far in Victoria.

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach begins its holding period on Mar. 19, 2008.

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be webcast LIVE via ASP World

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Layne Beachley (AUS), Julia De Laa Rosa (PER), Nicola Atherton (AUS)
Heat 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), TBD
Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (AUS), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Karina Petroni (USA)
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS)
Heat 6: Amee Donohoe (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Serena Brooke (AUS)

NOTE: Draw Subject To Change

Current Ratings for 2008 ASP Women¹s World Tour:
1. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 1200 points
2. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 972 points
3. Amee Donohoe (AUS) 756 points
4. Layne Beachley (AUS) 552 points
4. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 552 points
4. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 552 points
4. Julia De La Rosa (PER) 552 points
8. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 360 points
8. Silvana Lima (BRA) 360 points
8. Megan Abubo (HAW) 360 points
8. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 360 points
8. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 360 points
8. Serena Brooke (AUS) 360 points
8. Nicola Atherton (AUS) 360 points
8. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 360 points
16. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 180 points
16. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 180 points
16. Karina Petroni (USA) 180 points