DEE WHY, New South Wales/Australia (Monday, May 2, 2011) – The Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, Event No. 4 of 7 on the 2011 ASP Women's World Title season, is set to commence tomorrow, ushering in the latest installment of the red-hot ASP Women's World Title Race.
The richest event on the 2011 ASP Women's World Title season (boasting a mammoth US$40,000 first place prize), the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic will prove a pivotal juncture in this season's race for the ASP Women's World Title. With seven events confirmed on the 2011 schedule, the surfers will be keeping their six best results and there are some new faces in the hunt this season.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 20, current ASP Women's World No. 1, has been on a rampage as of late, collecting wins at the last two elite tour stops at Bells Beach and in Taranaki (New Zealand).
"At the start of each season I think everyone is thinking about the World Title," Fitzgibbons said.
"Everyone is training and that's definitely the goal. It's been a whirlwind two weeks for me. Winning Bells meant everything to me. It was something I had dreamed of as a kid and worked really hard to make happen. I went into New Zealand with the buzz of winning Bells and everything just fell into place for me. I'm just excited about surfing well and the winning and the points are just the bonus."
Fitzgibbons will take on Sydney rookie Laura Enever (AUS), 19, and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), 16, in the opening round of competition.
Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, current ASP Women's World No. 2, has made three Finals in three events this year, consistently pushing the boundaries women's surfing and sitting just a scant 500 points behind the frontrunner Fitzgibbons.
"I'm just having a lot of fun this season," Moore said. "My equipment feels good and I'm just trying to make the most out of every heat. All the girls are surfing so well this year that every heat is a challenge. I'm looking forward to the Beachley Classic."
Moorewill face Paige Hareb (NZL), 20, and Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), 28, in Round 1 of competition.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 23, reigning four-time ASP Women's World Champion and three-time past event winner (2006, 2007, 2010), has had an uncharacteristic start to the 2011 season, posting a 5th, a 3rd and a 9th in the opening three events. The less-than-stellar results have the Australian icon sitting at No. 5 on the rankings at the moment and staring down the barrel at a real challenge in this year's ASP Women's World Title defense.
"Not to belittle the past few years, but this year is definitely the first year that it's been a challenge for me," Gilmore said. "Every heat is tough. Everyone is so good and they all want to win."
The defending event winner, who suffered a traumatic attack at home on the Gold Coast, admits she's yet to fully recover from the wrist injury sustained.
"I guess it's been several months since the injury, and I'm sure people expect me to be fully recovered, but I wouldn't say I'm 100% yet," Gilmore said. "I feel like I'm still feeling my way through heats and trying to get back to full strength. I've had a lot of success in Sydney in the past and I'm excited about the potential for decent waves at the start of the event."
Gilmore will battle French rookie Pauline Ado (FRA), 20, and Alana Blanchard (HAW), 21, when Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic competition commences.
Silvana Lima (BRA), 26, current ASP World No. 5 and former event winner (2009), continues to lead the South American charge this year. The fleet-footed Brazilian is looking as sharp as ever and will be a major threat at this year's Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic.
"Everything is feeling good at the moment," Lima said. "I feel like I'm surfing good and I have some good boards under my feet. I'm very excited to get back to Sydney for the event and hope we get good waves this season."
Limawill face American rookie Courtney Conlogue (USA), 18, and Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 24, in Round 1 of competition.
Swellnet, the official forecaster for the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, are calling for today's very significant swell to ease throughout Tuesday, although large waves are likely early in the day. Winds will be favourably offshore from the S/SW for much of the day although they will probably become quite gusty into the afternoon.
The Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic will be webcast LIVE via http://www.beachleyclassic.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1:Coco Ho (HAW), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Rebecca Woods (AUS)
Heat 2:Silvana Lima (BRA), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
Heat 3:Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 4:Carissa Moore (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 5:Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 6:Tyler Wright (AUS), Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Melanie Bartels (HAW)
WHEN:10am, Tuesday May 3rd
WHERE:Dee Why SLSC.
INTERVIEW TALENT:Layne Beachley (Aus), Steph Gilmore (Aus), Carissa Moore (Haw) and current world No.1 Sally Fitzgibbons.