Day two of the Roxy Women’s Surf Festival witnessed some sensational surfing action with epic two metre waves pushing through all day at Flynn’s Reef on Phillip Island, Victoria. An international field of the sports future stars revelled in the classic conditions as they contested the opening rounds of the blue ribbon 5 star Roxy Pro WQS event.
No one was more impressive than Hawaii’s Bethany Hamilton who won her way through two rounds with convincing wins. The 16 year-old posted the highest wave and heat score of round two and the second highest scores for round three.
Using her stylish backhand attack and a seriously committed approach, Hamilton kicked off her WQS campaign with a 6.0 ride for an early heat lead and then backed up with the highest wave score of the round a 7.33. Slotting into the bigger set waves the goofy footer used a series of big swooping cut-backs and full top-to-bottom maneuvers to finish on heat total of 13.30 out of a possible 20.
“I love surfing at Phillip Island,” said Hamilton. “The waves today are similar to the big powerful waves they we get in Hawaii. I learnt to surf and compete in big waves and it just makes surfing more challenging and fun.” Hamilton then upped her own ante in round three by posting an 8.5 wave score to finish with a heat total of 15.50 out of possible 20. Runner-up Paige Hareb (NZ) finished over four points behind Hamilton on 11.20.
Three years ago Hamilton lost her left arm after being attacked by a Tiger Shark. European champion Alize Arnaud (Fra) also impressed posting the day’s top heat score of 16.16 including the day’s highest wave score of 8.83 to advance into the top seeded round four. Both Hamilton and Arnaud were also stand-outs in yesterday’s junior division of the Festival.
Defending WQS champion Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, Aus) is expected to enter along with other top seeds including Chelsea Georgeson (Gold Coast, Aus) this morning.
The world’s best female surfers also took time out from competition to jump on the wave of Australia Day celebrations early, taking Sports and Recreation Minister James Merlino along with them. Mr Merlino was on the sand getting some expert surfing tips today at Phillip Island, where 13 of the world’s top 17 ranked women are competing in an event that starts one of the most exciting years in female surfing.
“This year the addition of Australian teen-wonder Stephanie Gilmore, aerial-star Hawaiian Melanie Bartels and former Roxy Champion Chelsea Georgeson, means the Roxy Women’s Festival is a must-see event,” Mr Merlino said.
The Roxy Women’s Surfing Festival is Australia’s biggest celebration of women’s surfing bringing together a huge cross section of participants contesting seven divisions. The Roxy Pro Women’s Surf Festival Divisions include: World Qualifying Series (WQS) 5 star (US$25,000); 6-star Pro Junior Girls (AU$6,000) – 20 Years & under; 1-star Regional WLT/7A Australian Women’s Longboard ALC Pro Tour (AU$4,000); U/13’s, U/16’s, U/18’s and Over 35’s Amateur Divisions.
The Roxy Pro Women’s Surfing Festival will be based at Woolamai Beach but mobile for the best quality surf on the island. While the water may be colder for most, there is a choice of nearly 20 quality breaks, depending on conditions, with contestants ready to surf a variety of reef, point and beach breaks.
The 2007 Festival incorporates the Chill Island music festival with headline acts The Cat Empire, The Beautiful Girls, Ash Grunwald and more, on Saturday January 27th. Visit ChillisIsland.org for extra info and ticketing. Samsung will be offering a K5 MP3 player for the most impressive surfer of the week. Open to any surfer in any division, as chosen by the expert panel of event commentators.