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Aussies Send Internationals Packing at Roxy Surf Festival

rebecca oakley

jessica hickson Left: Rebecca Oakley was the days second highest scoring heat winner. Photo: ASP Robertson © Covered Images. Above: Jessica Hickson opened with a strong 7.5 ride to take an easy round two heat win. Photo: ASP Robertson © Covered Images.


Aussies Send Internationals Packing at Roxy Surf Festival

PHILLIP ISLAND, Australia (Tuesday, January 22, 2008) - Australian surfers sent many of their international counterparts packing after just one day of competition at the Roxy Surf Festival at Phillip Island, Victoria.

Elite ASP Women’s World Tour hopefuls representing nine countries commenced their 2008 World Qualifying Series (WQS) campaigns in clean one-metre waves of Woolamai Beach.

A strong showing by the Australian contingent kept the out-of-towners at bay in the top level 6 star WQS event that has attracted big name surfers to the 7th annual event.

“The Australians have a strong surfing background and we’ve got a lot of young talented girls competing at this event,” top seed and current World No. 4 Samantha Cornish (Crescent Heads, NSW, AUS) said after watching the early morning heats.

“It’s got to be pretty disappointing for the internationals who got knocked in their first heats today,” added Cornish.

Sunshine Coast’s Rebecca Oakley (Sunshine Beach) and Jessica Hickson (Boomerang Beach, NSW) served up one of the harshest lessons to their Hawaiian opponents Coco Ho (Sunset Beach) and Gabi Cope (Kauai, Haw).

Ho was one of the day’s biggest casualties as the 2007 Triple Crown of Surfing Rookie of the Year and daughter to legendary Hawaiian big wave specialist Michael Ho.

“The wind was really strong and it was tricky to stay on your board,” lamented WQS debutee Ho.

“I definitely don’t have the best contest results, so I am trying to focus on that this year, I’m a very competitive person but it just hasn’t fallen into place yet.”

“Dad is just one of my best supporters, he is not like a soccer dad pushing you around,” added Ho.

Ho, bounced back in the Roxy Junior with a brilliant showing that caused the elimination of Oliver and Phoebe Miley-Dyer (Bronte, NSW), the younger twin sisters of world ranked competitor Jessi.

Relatively unknown Brittani Nicholl (Cabarita Beach, NSW, Aus) emerged as the day’s standout WQS performer. The 17-year-old overcame a slow start to post the day’s top heat score of 15.75 (out of a possible 20.00) with her two waves scores of 7.00 and 8.75

With just ten minutes remaining in her round, two heat Nicholl was lagging in fourth place and looking at certain elimination before finding her form for the win.

“I was stressing halfway through that heat because I hadn’t had a good wave and I was in fourth,” said Nicholl.

“But then I got one good one and it all changed for me,” added Nicholl.

The future star will next meet Nikita Robb (Sth Afr), Erica Hosseini (USA) and Angela Keighran when the WQS resumes with round three.

Oakley was another too impress amassing scores of 8.50 and 6.50 to now find herself in one of the toughest Round 3 match-ups.

The 20 year-old is pitted against ASP World Junior Champion Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW, AUS), Australia’s U/18’s champion Laura Enever (Narrabeen, NSW, AUS) and South American sensation Tais Almeida (BRA) in Heat 3 of Round 3.

“It’s always good to get a win in the early rounds, it gives you confidence going forward,” Oakley said.

“This is my first year on the WQS so I’m really excited to see how I go and I’m not going to be thinking too much about who I’m up against,” added Oakley.

Other Australians to advance today were Kristie Jones (Ulludulla, NSW, AUS), Dara Penfold (Tas, AUS)) and Ashley Smith (Cabarita, NSW, AUS)

Advancing international surfers included Paige Hareb (NZL), Tarryn Chudleigh (ZAF), Stacey Guy (ZAF), Wini Paul (NZL) and Paige Alms (HAW).

Rounds 1 and 2 of the 6-Star WQS division were completed by lunchtime, followed by the first Round of the Pro Junior division and a few heats of the Amateur divisions later in the afternoon.

Top seeds will take to the water in Round 3 of the premier WQS division tomorrow, including elite ASP Women’s World Tour surfers Cornish, World No. 6 Amee Donohoe (Copacabana, NSW, AUS), World No. 8 Jessi Miley-Dyer (Bronte, AUS) and World No. 9 Rebecca Woods (Copacabana, NSW, AUS).

The Roxy Surf Festival runs from Jan. 21- 27, 2008 and has a ‘mobile option’, meaning surfers will compete in the best possible surf on offer, at any of surfing beaches around Phillip Island.



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