Salomon Masters Update From West Oz.

Salomon Masters (March 14-20) www.salomonmasters.comBico Classic

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 2006 World Qualifying Series (WQS)

*As 6-Star prime rated events, the Salomon Masters and Bico Classic are two of the most important World Qualifying Series (WQS) events on the 2006 calendar – The WQS determines the World Championship Tour positions for 2006. Total men’s prizemoney is $US125,000 while the women’s is $US30,000*

Local WA Surfers Blitz Internationals Day One

Monday, March 14, 2005 (Margaret River, Western Australia) Young West Australians Yadin Nicol (19) and Ry Craike (also 19) were the standouts in good 4-5ft (1.5m) waves at Margaret River today. Both surfers, rated outside the required top 250 on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and therefore ineligible to start in this event under normal circumstances, gained entry via the trials yesterday and demonstrated potential to cause some serious upsets as they mix with the high quality international field.

Nicol posted both the day’s highest wave and heat score (16.33 out of a possible 20) – his final ride rewarded a 9.5 following a series of explosive critical turns and he comprehensively defeated Hawaii’s Ola Eleogram, with Spain’s Gonzalo Zubizareta and USA’s Dane Johnson eliminated in third and fourth place, respectively.

It was Nicol’s second outstanding performance at this year’s event, following his perfect 10 point ride in yesterday’s trials. The local Margaret River surfer is certainly living up to his reputation as one of Australia’s most promising emerging professionals.

Clearly excited to be a part of West Australia’s premier surfing event, Nicol was confident of his chances here after his heat win and said, “I’ve grown up watching the world’s best compete here and to be part of it feels almost unreal! I know that I’m quite capable of surfing right up to the levels of most of these guys and I sort of figure my knowledge of the wave will give me an advantage. There’s no real pressure on me. I’m here to do my best and get a feel for surfing at this level, but I sort of figure I can go a fair way in this event if things go right for me!”

Kalbarri surfer Ry Craike was also impressive, defeating highly rated USA surfer Nathaniel Curran. Craike is particularly suited to Margaret River and like Nicol, he will not be treated lightly by any of the 192 field in this event.

Others to impress today included Spanish surfer Aritz Aranburu, Hawaiian Sean Moody along with a throng of talented young Australians lead by Queensland’s Samba Mann and Jay Thompson (both Gold Coast).

Late in the day, USA sensation Dane Reynolds was also impressive scoring an excellent opening 8.5 ride.

The official press conference was also held today with West Australia’s highest rated surfer Taj Burrow heading up the five international surfers present.

This year’s event, for the first time, introduces the man on man competitive format, as distinct to the regular 4 man heats, where two progress and two are eliminated. Man on Man surfing adds a quality control to the competition by reducing the impact of wave hassling and luck in catching the “right” waves. The man on man format will be introduced at the quarter final stage – Burrow’s is clearly excited about the man on man situation at Margaret River, saying: “The contest back at home is always amazing, and especially to try man-on-man heats at Margaret’s excites me the most. I damn well hope I make it to those rounds, as the hardest thing about Margaret’s is fighting for waves. It’s a peak situation, obviously, and man-on-man will be a dream. I can’t wait.

The 2005 Salomon Masters and Bico Classic is proudly sponsored by Salomon,, Bico Australia, Department of Sport & Recreation, Tooheys Extra Dry, Coca-Cola, SunSmmart, Odyssey 2020, Telstra Country Wide, Jim Beam, 92.9 ninety two.nine, Fin Control Systems (FCS), Evans & Tate, Margarets Beach Resort, Margaret River Law and Tracks.

Daily Press Releases will be dispersed mid afternoon along with high quality complimentary Digital Images, Radio News Feeds and on select days will include Video News Feeds.