MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Sunday, April 5, 2009) – Australia's Daniel Ross (AUS/NSW/Yamba) has won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME Drug Aware Pro today, defeating fellow North Coast NSW Australian surfer Adam Melling in clean three-to-four foot (1.25 metre) surf at Margaret River in Western Australia.
It was Ross's biggest career victory and could not have come at a better time for the powerfully-built surfer, who fell short of requalifying on the ASP Dream Tour last season and also recently lost his major sponsorship deals.
"I was so pumped to win this event and I can't believe how good I feel right now,” Ross said. "I've made the Semifinals the last two years here and I knew coming here I was a really good chance to win. I've trained hard leading into this event and it has really paid off for me in a big way."
"Without a major sponsor, the cash that comes with winning ($US 20,000) will make my year of competing that much easier and I wanted to prove to everyone out there right now that I am worth sponsoring and capable of big results!"
Ross surfed the ASP Dream Tour last year but failed to requalify. Today's result has him exceptionally well placed for requalification this year.
"That's my aim for sure and now I'm winning I want to get on a roll and string together a lot more excellent results," Ross said.
With the lead see-sawing in a high-scoring, quality Final, Melling opened with an excellent 8.67 ride and looked to have control when he backed that ride up shortly after with a strong 6.07 ride.
Ross opened with a 6.77 score, remained patient and found the Final's best ride when he scored an outstanding 9.43 at the 20-minute stage of the 30-minute Final.
Ross unleashed all his power on this ride, combining two massive bottom-to-top turns, sending fans of spray high off the wave and it was immediately clear to the large crowd on the hills of Margaret River that he had taken the lead with that ride.
While Melling searched for an achievable 7.54 to regain the lead, he fell on a few critical turns late in the Final and was forced to settle for second on a score line for each surfers top two scoring rides of 16.20 (out of a possible 20) for Ross and 14.74 to Melling.
Melling's second place today is the second time he has finished runner-up in an ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME event.
"It's disappointing not to win but Rossy is a great guy and I'm really stoked for him today," Melling said. "Having made the Finals twice, I now really want to win one of these events. My start to the season has been great but there's still a lot of work ahead to qualify for next year's ASP Dream Tour – that's my goal and I have to remain focused because the season has really just started."
Despite being disappointed at not winning, Melling's good early season form see's him as the No. 1 rated surfer on the ASP WQS Ratings ahead of Brett Simpson (USA), Dion Atkinson (AUS) with Ross in fourth place.
In what turned out to be a dominating day for the Australian surfers, with all Australian Semifinalists, Luke Munro (AUS/Gold Coast) and Dion Atkinson (AUS/SA) placed equal 3rd both picking up valuable 2625 rating points along with $US2950.
Both Atkinson and Munro have firm goals to qualify for the ASP Dream Tour for next year.
"I'm really happy with my start to the season,” Atkinson said. “5th last week in Tasmania and 3rd here is a great start to my season. That's two 'keepers' already to the season in my aim to qualify and that is a lot better than most other surfers this early in the season so I'm feeling great"
For most of today's finalists, their next stop on the ASP World Qualifying Series will be South Africa in mid-April for the Quiksilver Pro presented by Virgin Mobile in Durban, another ASP WQS 6-Star PRIME event.