Opening ceremonies and traditional Hawaiian blessings have kicked things off in fine fashion here at the Roxy Pro Hawaii, stop eight of nine on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women's World Tour. From last evening's gala celebration honoring the ladies pivotal in women's professional surfing over the last 50 years, to this morning's blessing of the current crop of top female surfing talent, nostalgia and excitement surrounding the event are in full supply.
Shortly after crowds lining the beach at Ali'i Beach Park, Haleiwa participated in a blessing of the sea to conjure up waves, contest director Randy Rerrick announced that a solid swell has entered the forecast and is expected to arrive early in the week. Citing waves in the two to three foot range this morning and with a solid swell on the horizon, a lay day for day one of the Roxy Pro Hawaii has been called. With a twelve-day waiting period at our disposal, event officials will elect to run the competition in the best conditions available.
It was at this event last year that 2004 Roxy Pro Hawaii champion, Layne Beachley, passed the torch to Sofia Mulanovich (PER) making her the first South American to ever to lay claim to surfing's highest honor – the world title. Unfortunately Beachley, who is injured, will not be able to defend her Roxy Pro Hawaii title, though she was on hand to receive praise for her record six world championship titles and integral involvement in the sport last night.
Her absence will make it a little easier for top seeded surfers like current world champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) and world number two Chelsea Georgeson (HAW) to pursue their title aspirations. Though Megan Abubo (HAW) is also a long shot contender, much of the attention will be focused on the tight race between in-form friends Mulanovich and Georgeson.
When the event does get underway, the first heat to hit the water will feature young Hawaiian surfers Carissa Moore, Bethany Hamilton,Tory Titcomb and Chastity Baltazar, the winner of which will become the Roxy Pro Hawaii wild card.
Catch the action LIVE on www.aspworldtour.com and www.roxy.com/roxypro!