The forthcoming Merewether Midori Pro is set to become one of the hottest events on the women's surfing calendar. The ASP WQS 5 Star Womens Event will take place between 12-17 March in Newcastle, NSW, Australia, with the world's best female surfers signed up to take part.
The Midori Pro has secured 13 of the 17 women surfers that make up the 2007 elite World Championship Tour. Midori’s boost to prize money snared the long running Newcastle women’s event a 5-Star rating and has ensured the biggest and best ever field of competitors for any women’s contest held in Newcastle, New South Wales.
The women will be making their way to Merewether to contest the Midori Pro from March 12-17. For the first time in the events 22-year history, organisers have to consider running trials to determine the field’s final make up for the 60 places on offer. Runner-up on the 2006 WCT, Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) will be the number one seed, while Aussie compatriots Chelsea Georgeson and Jessi Miley-Dyer will hold second and third seedings respectively.
Other 2007 WCT surfers who will don the Midori Pro rashies at Merewether include Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), Rebecca Woods (AUST), Claire Bevilacqua (AUST), Samantha Cornish (AUS), Amy Donohue (AUS), Roseanne Hodge (ZAF), and Caroline Sarran (FRA).
Contest organiser Warren Smith said he was “blown away" when the final entries were locked in late Tuesday night. "It’s clear that Midori’s support of the event means what was a US$5,000 1 Star in 2006, has now jumped to a US$25,000 5 Star in 2007," he said. "This means Newcastle will get to see the vast majority of the best women surfers on the planet."
“I’m sure that the event being transferred to Merewether, as well as the timing of the event on the Australasian leg of the world tour has encouraged such a strong field of entries." Smith said the wildcard entries would be given to 36-year-old veteran Pauline Menczer from Ocean Shores on the New South Wales North Coast and 16-year-old Sally Fitzgibbons from Gerroa on the New South Wales South Coast.
“Pauline has made a fantastic contribution to the sport and she has had a long commitment to surfing in Newcastle events," Smith said. Fitzgibbons is the current ASP Australasian Ratings leader and many long-term observers predict she will be the next big thing in Australian women’s surfing.
“It’s a real privilege to get a wildcard into the Midori Pro and I can’t wait – especially if Merewether fires because it can be such a great wave," the pint-sized Fitzgibbons said.