Vans Triple Crown

Stop 2: Rip Curl Cup & Turtle Bay Resort Women’s Pro, Nov.24-Dec.7

Women: AUSTRALIAN SERENA BROOKE SURVIVES ANOTHER DAY Men: Slater, Surfing’s Reluctant Millionaire

Monday, November 24, 2003 – (Sunset Beach, Oahu, HAWAII) — Former world No.2 Serena Brooke (Australia) survived another day of attempting to requalify for surfing’s elite Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour (WCT) today, winning her opening heat in the Turtle Bay Resort Women’s Pro to advance to tomorrow’s round four. Brooke needs to reach the final of the $20,000 4-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event at the Turtle Bay Resort this week to have any chance of requlifying for the WCT tour.

It was another anxious day for Brooke today, trailing for much of her heat in tricky 2-4 foot surf. It was only in the final stages of her heat that she bounced back with a strong ride to jump from fourth to first and advance.

“It’s been one of those years,” said Brooke, 27. “I broke my hand earlier in the year and was out of the water for a while after having surgery to pin it together. I came back with a win in the WQS in South Africa, but the 6-star events are what have hurt me. I just haven’t been able to get out of my heats in the 6-stars. Like in the Roxy Pro last week, I had the highest scoring wave of the heat but couldn’t get a second ride and lost. It feels like the waves have eluded me every time.

“I know I’ve got to make the final now, but I don’t want to get into looking at all the possibilities. I’m just trying to relax and take it heat by heat, because I know I’ve got to make it through a few more.”

Last week’s Roxy Pro champion Melanie Bartels made her first appearance in the Turtle Bay Resort Women’s Pro today in the third round, encountering little opposition from her rivals. She won the heat and eliminated last week’s fellow finalist Maria Tita Tavares (Brazil) on the way. Bartels posted one of the highest heat scores of the day in her heat, with a two-wave total of 15.1 out of a possible 20 points.

“It’s a really hard wave to surf,” said Bartels of the soft, right-hander that runs along the poolside grounds of the 5-star resort. “Good surfers do well in good waves, but when you get a wave like this that’s hard to read, it’s not so easy. You never know where the wave is going to break. It kind of peaks all over the place. It’s definitely a tough spot.”

Bartels will meet with world champion Layne Beachley in round four tomorrow, also joined in the four-woman heat by Erica Hosseini (USA) and Rebecca Woods (Aus).

The top score of the day came from Australian Laurina McGrath in the third round. Laurina posted high scores of 9.1 and 8.43 for a total of 17.53. Brazilian Maria Tita Tavares had the top scores of rounds one and two – 15.5 and 16.83 respectively, before suffering a shock elimination in round three.

MEN’S RIP CURL CUP, SUNSET BEACH:

The men’s Rip Curl Cup at Sunset Beach also entered the first day of its official holding period today, but with only a dying swell on hand, organizers opted to hold out for the opening day of trials competition. A full day of trials competition will take place when competition does get underway, to determine the six wildcard slots for the main event.

Current world number one Kelly Slater will be competing this week for crucial world title points, hoping to increase his ratings lead over number two Andy Irons (Hawaii). Slater is yet to officially become surfing’s first millionaire prize-money earner following his semi-final finish in the Vans Hawaiian Pro last week. Slater earned enough money last week to break the $1,000,000 mark, but apparently is in no rush to officially claim the record as he has not yet collected his prize money from the event.

The Rip Curl Cup at Sunset Beach, Nov.24-Dec.7. and the Turtle Bay Resort Women’s Pro are the second stop of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The third and final stop is Pipeline, for the Xbox Gerry Lopez Pipeline Masters (Dec. 8-20) for the men, and Honolua Bay, Maui, for the women’s Billabong Pro (Dec. 8-20)

The Vans Triple Crown Series features the world’s top athletes competing in three championship events in each of the following sports: Skateboarding, Wakeboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, BMX and Freestyle Motocross. The Series is made possible through the support of Vans, the Xbox video game system from Microsoft, Roxy, Rip Curl, The Turtle Bay Resort, Billabong, Mountain Dew, Ford Trucks, Right Guard Xtreme Sport, Fox Sports Net, Surfing Magazine, NBC Sports, Road Runner and Pictures Plus.