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Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile - Kennelly Eliminated by Newcomer McGrath in Round Three

Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP)
Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile (2-14 March)

Kennelly Eliminated by Newcomer McGrath In Round Three

Wednesday, March 3, 2004 (Gold Coast, QLD Australia) The first event of the 2004 women's World Championship Tour (WCT), The Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile, commenced today in excellent 3-4 ft (1-1.5m) waves at world famous Snapper Rocks. The US$62,500 event, featuring the world's top 17 rated women, plus one wildcard, ran right through from round one to the completion of the third this afternoon.

A predicted southerly swell increased slowly throughout the morning, with long walling waves exploding behind Snapper's infamous take off rock and peeling through to Rainbow Bay. A strong current also swept through the lineup making conditions as much a physical battle for contestants as they were mentally and tactically.

The shock elimination of 2003 world title runner-up Keala Kennelly (Haw) was today's biggest upset. Kennelly lost a nail-biting round three battle with tour newcomer Laurina McGrath (NSW, Aus), who had only qualified for the 2004 WCT earlier this year, after winning an intense four-way surf off for the ASP Injury Wildcard position.

Kennelly, the hot favorite, was obviously disappointed. "My biggest problem here is wave selection and I just picked a bunch of stupid waves in that heat," explained Kennelly. "Obviously people that live here and surf here all the time, surfers like Laurina, have a better idea. We've surfed against each other in the WQS (World Qualifying Series) and both beat each other a couple times, but I think I need to study this wave a bit more. Now I gotta wait 'til next year."

McGrath's father was the first to congratulate her as she left the water, having driven up from her hometown of Byron Bay to see his daughter surf.

"My parents are my number one fans," explained a delighted McGrath. "I was a bit worried at the start of my heat when I caught a couple of waves that closed out but then I re-focused and just tried to wait for the better waves and it paid off."

McGrath will now face another former world #2, Jacqueline Silva (Brz), in the quarterfinals, after the Brazilian eliminated Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich today.

The most highly anticipated clash of the day featured a grudge match between six-time world champion and defending Roxy Pro winner Layne Beachley (NSW, Aus), and former four time world champion and event wildcard Lisa Andersen (FL, USA).

The pair met in this morning's first round with Beachley getting the upper hand in the dying moments, but in round three it was the six-time champion all the way. While Andersen surfed well, she simply chose waves that were too small, allowing Beachley full command of the higher scoring sets.

"Wave selection is absolutely crucial out there," explained Beachley. "I just kept putting the pressure on Lisa by paddling outside her and she seemed to slowly give up. She's always a tough a competitor, you can never relax against her, even if she needs a nine, but I think towards the end I just broke her."

The day's highest combined two-wave score belonged to Melanie Redman-Carr (WA, Aus) with a total of 18.6, which included a near perfect 9.9 in round one. Despite some awesome barrel rides on offer, Carr's ride was earned "the hard way", repeatedly smashing a perfectly walling wave the length of the point. Her awesome form continued in round three, where she eliminated last year's event runner-up, Trudy Todd (QLD, Aus) on her do-or-die last wave.

"It's been a really, really hard day," explained Redman-Carr. "My legs feel like jelly. At the end of a couple waves I nearly fell off and with the wind the way it is, it's hard to hear the scores being called out. Lucky for me I got the score I needed on my last wave. I only had a few seconds to go so I just made sure I gave it all I had."

Maria Tita Tavares (Brz) was another round three stand out, defeating world #3 Heather Clark (SAfr). Despite her reputation as one of the world's most explosive female surfers, Tavares was absent from last year's elite tour due to financial hardship, but her performance today proved beyond doubt she's lost nothing during the break.

"Snapper is so good, the contest today was so much fun. I love being back on the WCT and I just try to smash it every wave. I love the barrels here too but so far I can't get any. The swell looks good for the week so I can't wait. We'll see!"

Along with the US$10,000 first place prize, all competitors are vying for an added incentive with Torquay Natural Mineral Water offering an additional AUD$5,000 prize purse for the "Torquay Time Tunnel" - for the longest recorded tube ride during the event.

Although eliminated, Kennelly holds the record for the longest recorded barrel thus far, from round one. The Hawaiian free fell from the take off on her backhand into a dredging tube and "backdoored" a cascading section. She emerged 4.5 seconds later to hoots from the crowd.

Roxy Pro presented by Boost Mobile - Round One (1st, 2nd>Rnd3; 3rd>Rnd2)
H1: Samantha Cornish (Aus) 15.3; Lynette MacKenzie (Aus) 11.5; Prue Jeffries (Aus) 11.3
H2: Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 13.77; Melanie Bartels (Haw) 13.74; Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 12.17
H3: Layne Beachley (Aus) 15.7; Lisa Andersen (USA) 14.07; Pauline Menczer (Aus) 13.4
H4: Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 18.6; Keala Kennelly (Haw) 16.77; Laurina McGrath (Aus) 15.84
H5: Maria Tavares (Brz) 13.83; Heather Clark (SAfr) 10.67; Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 5.03
H6: Trudy Todd (Aus) 14.24; Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 14.17; Megan Abubo (Haw) 12.83

Round Two (1st, 2nd>Rnd3; 3rd=17th receives US$2,250)
H1: Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 13.73; Laurina McGrath (Aus) 13.33; Megan Abubo (Haw) 10.83
H2: Pauline Menczer (Aus) 15.66; Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 13.34; Prue Jeffries (Aus) 11.17

Round Three (1st>1/4 Finals; 2nd=9th receives US$2,750)
H1:Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 14.67 def. Melanie Bartels (Haw) 8.5
H2: Samantha Cornish (Aus) 16.6 def. Pauline Menczer (Aus) 11.13
H3: Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 16.67 def. Lynette MacKenzie (Aus) 11.33
H4: Layne Beachley (Aus) 15.5 def. Lisa Andersen (USA) 12.47
H5: Laurina McGrath (Aus) 14.77 def. Keala Kennelly (Haw) 10.23
H6: Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 15.84 def. Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 14.6
H7: Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 14.84 def. Trudy Todd (Aus) 14.83
H8: Maria Tavares (Brz) 13.06 def. Heather Clark (SAfr) 7.33

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