MARGARET RIVER, Western Australia (Tuesday, April 5, 2011) – Defending Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star Telstra Drug Aware Pro women's champion Chelsea Hedges (AUS/Gold Coast) survived a very tight round three heat to advance through to the final 12 surfers.
Hedges was in third place in her heat with just a minute remaining but remained cool, caught a good wave in the final 30 seconds and posted the required 6 point wave score to jump to first and advance ahead of local surfer Claire Bevilacqua who advanced in 2nd while South Africa's Sarah Baum was the unlucky one to be eliminated.
"That was a close call," said Hedges after the heat.
"We were all getting good waves and I knew I needed a good score to advance and fortunately I found the right wave in the end - I don't want to leave it that close in future heats because the wave generally doesn't come to you in the final seconds."
While Hedges managed to survive a close heat, fellow Australian Jessi Miley-Dyer dominated by posting the event's top scoring heat to date after she attained two excellent scores of an 8.97 and an 8.33 for a tally of 17.30 to comprehensively thrash her opponents.
"It worked out well for me but that's not how I planned the heat," said Miley-Dyer.
"I actually paddled out looking to surf the lefts off the break but I caught an early right peeling wave and was surprised just how good that wave was - after that I stuck with the rights and had a great heat."
Round one of the ASP PRIME Rated Men's Telstra Drug Aware Pro began today with the opening eight heats completed in good 1.5m (4 to 5 feet) surf.
Queensland's Mitch Crews was the dominant surfer.
Mitch was celebrating his important 21st birthday today and he attacked the waves with his typically renowned aggression scoring an 8.83 excellent ride, backed up with a strong 7.33 to easily win the heat, defeating ASP world ranked number 12 surfer Jadson Andre who was lucky to advance in second place.
"It would have been so bad to get eliminated in the first round on my birthday, but I wasn't thinking about it too much - I don't care who I'm surfing against or anything - I just want to go out there and surf my best," said a fired up Crews after the win.
"The rights looked much better than the lefts and I also noticed that the second wave of the set looked the cleanest, so when I paddled out I just went for those ones - It must have worked because I got the scores."
Fellow Gold Coast youngster Jack Freestone also won through in the heat straight after Crews defeating Nat Young (USA) and highly rated world number 11 surfer Adriano De Souza who was eliminated from the event.
The final heat of the day saw the biggest upset so far with the elimination of world ranked number 7 surfer Owen Wright who's season this year has not begun how most would have expected for the young, powerful and highly touted Lennox Head goofy footer. He was defeated by internationals Marc Lacomare (France) and Wigolly Dantas (Brazil).
Everyone is awaiting the appearance of 10 time ASP world champion Kelly Slater at this event and the moment is not far away as he is positioned in heat 12 of the first round, just four heats in when the Men's resume and that is most likely to be tomorrow morning.
All going to plan and Slater should surf around 9:00am tomorrow although this schedule is not official and might alter.
The other element coming into this event is an approaching massive swell, expected to be in the 4m or 15 feet range on Thursday - certain to test even the greatest surfer of all time!
The event will recommence tomorrow morning.
Spectator entry to the Telstra Drug Aware Pro is free. For more information, visit www.telstradrugawarepro.com