6-Star Salomon Masters
(March 29 - April 4) www.salomonmasters.com
& 4-Star SunSmart Womenís Classic
Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) www.aspworldtour.com
2004 World Qualifying Series (WQS)
Friday, April 2, 2004
(Margaret River, Western Australia) The Prime
rated 6-Star Salomon Masters - Australia's premiere
World Qualifying Series (WQS) event - today
entered the business end of the draw with top
seeded surfers in action. Quarterfinals of the
women's 4-Star SunSmart Classic were also decided,
running simultaneously to the menís tournament
in ideal conditions at nearby Southsides.
Perfect 6ft (2m) waves
continued at Surferís Point, Margaret
River. Strong offshore winds subsided throughout
the day, creating an ideal West Australian day
for the international visitors and hordes of
South African David Weare
top scored this morning in what proved a fiercely
competitive clash. Ahead of Hawaiian Joel Centeio,
he locked in a brilliant 9.43 and another 8.0.
Meanwhile, former South African resident Shaun
Gossman (Gold Coast, AUS) and World Grommet
Champion Ben Dunn (NSW, Aus) became entangled
in a paddling hassle for a peaking wave, with
Dunn ultimately incurring an interference call
after blocking Gossman from the superior lefthander.
"I guess the other
guys got into a bit of a hassle, and weren't
lucky to get enough of their own waves,"
reasoned Weare. "I'm stoked to advance
though, as the (ratings) points begin to really
count towards qualifying for next yearís
Brazilian Yuri Sodre
opened his account with a couple of great scores,
including a 9.0 to seal victory ahead of Tyler
Fox (USA), Hawaiian Dustin Barca and Ben Bourgeois
(USA). The former WCT surfer is determined to
claw his way back into the upper echelon of
the sport, with every heat making the difference.
"I was nervous at
the start and wiped out my first wave, but told
myself to stay calm," recalled Sodre. "I'm
focused, as I've been training to get back on
the WCT. My family is supporting me, and I miss
them while I'm on tour, but I've learned so
much about life from traveling. Iím from
a third world country, so it's hard. You've
got to have faith, and I'm really happy to make
Manly's Matt Bemrose
(NSW) posted the day's first win over fellow
Australians Shane Bevan (Gold Coast) and Shaun
Cansdell (Mullaway, NSW), as well as the USA's
Gavin Beschen. The goofy footer overcame a slow
start, picking off an 8.0 to progress.
"It was super windy
out there, and kind of hard," explained
Bemrose. "I just lucked out and picked
off an 8.0 set wave, which got me through. This
is the business end now, where you have to do
well. There's a lot of (ratings) points and
money on offer."
Adrian Buchan (Avoca,
NSW) continued his recent form - having finished
runner-up to six-time world champ Kelly Slater
(FL, USA) last week in the qualifying event
at Newcastle. The 22-year-old overcame fellow
Australian Joel Fitzgerald (Narrabeen, NSW),
and together accounted for Jonathan Gonzalez
(CNY) and Sean Moody (HAW).
"It's not often
we get to surf in competition in waves like
this," said Buchan. "I was a little
bit nervous to surf my first heat, but also
really excited. I got off to a good start with
a nice barrel. I've definitely got some added
confidence out in the water, which has carried
through from the event at Newcastle. Hopefully
I can string a couple more heats together, but
I'm not putting any added pressure on myself."
Other standouts today
included Australians Dayyan Nev (Manly, NSW),
Bede Durbidge (Gold Coast, QLD), Hawaiians Fred
Patacchia, Jamie O'Brien and Pancho Sullivan,
as well as the USA's Tim Reyes and Chris Ward.
Unfortunately Luke Hitchings
(Bronte, AUS) - who yesterday afternoon posted
the only perfect 10-point ride of the Salomon
Masters - was forced to withdraw this morning
due to personal family matters. Defending event
champion Mick Campbell (Port Macquarie, NSW)
also missed the same heat, after becoming sick.
The women's SunSmart
Classic quarterfinals were decided at Southsides,
with the event climax scheduled to unfold tomorrow
1993 world champion Pauline
Menczer and fellow Byron Bay surfer Laurina
McGrath dominated the first quarterfinal, edging
out yesterday's standout Lynette MacKenzie (Maroubra,
AUS) and the USA's Jodi Nelson. Menczer was
especially eager to advance, given the opportunity
to compete at Margaret River main break.
"I'm so excited,"
began Menczer. "When I realized I had a
chance to advance, I really concentrated on
getting the good waves cause I just love surfing
at Margaret's. Iím so stoked to make
the semis. Conditions should be great."
(2000-02) SunSmart Classic winner and local
West Australian Melanie Redman-Carr moved one
step closer to a record eighth finals appearance
at Margarets. The former world #2 advanced with
runner-up Amanda Clegg, while Australians Kate
Skarratt (Gold Coast) and Amee Donahoe were
eliminated. Clegg, who was born in Western Australia
and still has family in the area, was surprised
to reach the final day of competition in such
an important event.
"I only caught two
waves, but luckily both were good ones,"
explained Clegg. "It's a bit intimidating
being up against the main girls, and I didn't
think I was going to get through that heat,
but Iím really happy and it should be
great surfing at Main Break. I've got family
who live down here and it's my favorite place
Defending SunSmart Classic
champion Heather Clark (ZAF) posted a convincing
win, again defeating Jessica Matthews, as well
as fellow South African Sarah Johnston and local
girl Phillipa Tugwood. The world #3 earned a
near-perfect 9.5 and another 7.1 to advance.
"I think that was
the first time ever three South Africans have
been against each other in a heat overseas,"
reasoned Clark. "I was lucky to get a good
wave which kept reforming through the inside
section. I'm really happy to have made it, and
am stoked Jessica did also."
Rebecca Woods (Copacabana,
NSW) continued her winning form with the highest
combined scores (17.25-points) of the SunSmart
Classic, progressing with runner-up Dara Penfold
(Hobart, TAS) into tomorrow's second semifinal.
Having won the previous 1-Star WQS event last
week in Newcastle, Woods is eager to repeat
the result here where the points have more significance.
"I actually smashed
my face on my board at the start and had a bleeding
mouth and nose," explained Woods. "I
was a bit shaken up, but then settled down and
got some good waves. It's great to be here and
enjoy good waves for a contest. I've never surfed
out at main break before, but can't wait for
A live webcast is available
on www.salomonmasters.com during competition
hours throughout the event's waiting period
(March 29 - April 4).
The Salomon Masters is
proudly sponsored by Salomon, "Perth"
Western Australia, SunSmart, Department of Sport
& Recreation, Wet Dreams International,
Tooheys Extra Dry, Coca-Cola, SAAB, 92.9 ninety
two. nine, Bacardi & Cola, Evans & Tate,
Margarets Beach Resort, Corporate Traveller,
Telstra Country Wide, Margaret River Law, Tracks,
Bico Australia and Odyssey 2020.