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Brazilian Jacqueline Silva Wins the Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) www.aspworldtour.com
Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile (2-14 March) www.roxy.com

Brazilian Jacqueline Silva Wins Event

Thursday, March 11, 2004 (Gold Coast, QLD, Australia) Brazilian Jacqueline Silva today defeated Hawaiian Rochelle Ballard to win the Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile. The result signifies the first international champion of the event's six-year history and catapults Silva to the front of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Championship Tour (WCT) ratings.

Pods of dolphins surfed alongside the world's best in clean 3ft (1m) waves at Rainbow Bay. A huge storm earlier in the week altered the normally perfect sand formation at the famous "Superbank" and many competitors struggled for positioning in the shifty lineup.

Silva though, a former Roxy Pro runner-up (2002), was unstoppable. Consistently picking the best waves throughout the 30-minute decider and surfing smoothly and confidently to out-point Ballard. Silva's opening ride of 8.67 included two powerful forehand re-entries and was the final's highest. She later backed it up for an eventual combined two-wave heat score of 14.94.

"I am so happy!" beamed Silva post final. "I've been trying to keep my focus all day and wait for the good sets. I came third last year and second the year before, so to win is perfect. I feel like my preparation has been good, lots of training, surfing, going to the gym, running on the beach - I just made sure I did the best surfing I could. I don't have point breaks like this at home, only beach breaks. I love this type of wave."

Silva's coach of 15 years, Bira Schauffert, was on hand to watch every heat and offer advice. Together they hope Silva will become Brazil's first surfing world champion.

"He gave me my first surfboard 15 years ago and we have such a good relationship," explained Silva. "He's like my brother. Always giving me moral support and encouragement before and after my heats. In Brazil we have really good surfers but few have sponsors to help them get on tour. I'm one of the lucky ones though. I'll be trying hard the rest of the year to win the world title. I want to be Brazil's first world champion."

Ballard survived two tough heats this morning. Defeating six time world champion and defending event champion Layne Beachley (Manly, Aus) in her quarter-final, and highly favored local and world #4 Chelsea Georgeson (Gold Coast, Aus) in the semis. In the final however, the best waves eluded her.

"I felt really confident going into the final," said Ballard. "It was always going to come down to the surfer who had the best waves and I actually had the wave, but I kind of out-positioned myself. I was a little far out and it gave Jacqueline the edge to get into it. I had priority and she ended up getting the wave that won her the contest. I'm happy though. Mentally and physically I feel good."

The final was Ballard's first since Tahiti in June of 2003, where she finished second to Keala Kennelly (Kauai, Haw). Her last WCT win was in the USA in 1999.

Melanie Redman-Carr (Dunsborough, West Aus) finished third to Silva, scoring the day's single best wave score of 9.5 in her quarterfinal. Despite the loss, the result is Redman's best placing on the Gold Coast.

"My quarter was great but the semis seemed like the complete opposite," said Redman. "I felt more confident against Jacqueline but she just seemed to be in the best position every time. I was either sitting too wide or too deep. I just couldn't make it work, but I've got to be happy."

Also finishing third today was world #4 Chelsea Georgeson. In her semi-final clash against Ballard, Georgeson was forced to wait an agonizing nine minutes for a measly 2.33. Despite obvious disappointment, she has secured a great position for another strong world title campaign in 2004.

"I had no option but to wait," reasoned Georgeson. "I knew she only had two low scores and I needed a 2.33, so I was trying to be patient, but far out, I don't what happened? I would really have liked to make the final. It's annoying to get so close, but Rochelle's a great competitor. She's got all the moves. You can never underestimate her."

Six-time world champ and defending Roxy Pro winner Layne Beachley (Manly, Aus) was a shock elimination in this morning's quarter-final versus Ballard.

At the pre-event press conference she hinted at "taking it a bit easier" in 2004, yet was clearly disappointed with her loss today.

"My wave selection and lack of game-plan let me down," explained Beachley.

"I panicked and was not as prepared for that heat as what I like to be. Obviously I'm bitterly disappointed, but as Kirk (Pengilly - Beachley's boyfriend and INXS guitar player) told me, I can't win everything. It's the only event in Australia and I always like to win here. It's also the first event of the year, but there's nobody to blame but myself really. If anything I was more anxious and nervous than usual."

Beachley's next event will be the men's World Qualifying Series (WQS) event at Newcastle in two weeks time, where she will compete as a wildcard against six-time world champion Kelly Slater. Tonight she will attend an awards ceremony in Sydney as a nominee for Australian Athlete of the Year.

Keala Kennelly (Kauai, Haw) won AUD$5,000 in the Torquay Mineral Water "Torquay Time Tunnel" for the longest tube ride of the event. In round one Kennelly paddled late for a wave, free fell on her backhand and "backdoored" a cascading section. She emerged 4.5 seconds later to hoots from the crowd.

"I was sure I wasn't going to come out because it closed down in front of me," explained Kennelly. "I couldn't even see and I almost fell off my board. But I made it out and I was so astonished I fell off on my next maneuver!"

The next event on the 2004 women's ASP WCT tour is The Roxy Pro, Fiji. Home of two of the world's most exciting and challenging left-hand reef breaks - "Tavarua" and "Restaurants".

Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile Final Results
1st - Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 14.94 - US$10,000
2nd- Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 11.9 - US$6,000

Semi-finals (1st>final; 2nd=US$4,000)
SF1: Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 8.5 def. Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 8.4
SF2: Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 16.27 def. Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 8.6

Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$3000)
QF1: Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 14.0 def. Samantha Cornish (Aus) 10.5
QF2: Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 10.16 def. Layne Beachley (Aus) 9.46
QF3: Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 12.67 def. Laurina McGrath (Aus) 11.1
QF4: Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 14.83 def. Maria Tavares (Brz) 11.43

Official Ratings after The Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile, WCT #1/9
1. Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 1200-points
2. Rochelle Ballard (Haw) - 972
=3. Chelsea Georgeson (Aus); Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) - 756
=5. Layne Beachley (Aus); Samantha Cornish (Aus); Maria Tavares (Brz); Laurina McGrath (Aus) - 552

Live vision, webcast, results, scores, photos and updates are available on: www.roxy.com

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