Lay Day for Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, Beachley Potentially Faces Last Heat

Event officials have called Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic competition off today due to the lack of waves on offer this morning on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. With plenty of time remaining in the event waiting period, surfers and officials have decided to wait for the swell to increase before resuming competition.

“We’ve got deteriorating swell out there and it’s pretty much not rideable, so the contest is off today,” Matt Wilson, Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Contest Director, said. “There is some promising swell expected to fill in for this weekend, but we’ll make another call tomorrow morning.”

Yesterday’s action saw Hawaiian talent Melanie Bartels (HAW), 27, and reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, lead the opening round of competition, posting the day’s highest scores while seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion and female surfing icon Layne Beachley (AUS), 37, suffered a shock loss and was relegated to Round 2 by Rebecca Woods (AUS), 25, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, in what will be her last professional surf contest.

“At first I was really relaxed and didn’t have a really clear strategy, which is unlike me,” Beachley said. “Then when I went in to the lead I started to feel nervous. It had been such a long time since I’d felt nervous. Then, when I was put in to third place, I was thinking if I wanted to battle back, or just got to Round 2 and see what happens.”

Beachley is not ready to bow out of her final event early, however, and is prepared to battle her way out of the sudden-death elimination round.

“I’ve never really spent much time in Round 2, certainly not at this event, I’ve always been on a mission to win it,” Beachley said. “I’d like to fight my way out of this one and get a decent result. I’d like to get a good result at my last event.”

After nearly two decades on the ASP Women’s World Tour, Beachley is now ready to move on to the next stage in her life by contributing to women’s professional surfing in a different light.

“I was trying to balance that the last few years on tour,” Beachley said. “Four years ago, when I started this event I would have spent most of my time surfing and less time working on the event and now it’s the opposite. My passion has changed and even though it may be my last heat forever, it still doesn’t dictate how I feel about my career. It’s an opportunity for me to go out and compete, but it’s not going to define the 20 years I’ve been on tour. It’s a sentimental journey for sure, but it no longer carries that weight or burden that I’ve carried for the last 20 years.”

Conditions will be reassessed tomorrow morning at 7am for a potential 8am start. The Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic holds a waiting period of September 30 through October 5, 2009 and is webcast LIVE via

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Upcoming Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Round 2 Heats:
Heat 1: Amee Donohoe (AUS), Layne Beachley (AUS), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
Heat 2: Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Bruna Schmitz (BRA), Alana Blanchard (HAW)