MANLY BEACH, Australia (Wednesday, October 1, 2008) - The ASP Top 17 are returning to Australia for the richest female event in professional surfing, the Beachley Classic at Sydney's Northern Beaches, running from October 9 - 14, 2008.
Event No. 5 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, the Beachley Classic is into its third season on the Dream Tour and the increased prize money increases the ratings points on offer by 20%, making the event crucial to both the ASP Women's World Title race and the requalification campaigns of those wishing to remain on the Dream Tour in 2009.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 20, reigning ASP Women's World Champion and current No. 1 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, has won the event the past two seasons and will look to three-peat this year in hopes of strengthening her ASP Women's World Title campaign.
"Manly has definitely been kind to me since it was established in 2006," Gilmore said. "This year will be totally different because I'll be heading into it as the top seed and the wildcards at this event especially are hard to beat. However, I feel at home in Sydney and I'm keen to be just as dangerous."
With a slender 12-point leader over the rest of the field, Gilmore understands that the race for the 2008 ASP Women's World Title is tighter than ever.
"I thought all the Top 4 girls on the ratings were surfing the best throughout the last event in Brazil," Gilmore said. "Then to see Melanie (Bartels) come into the equation and really produce the best surfing of the event and keep my name in the ratings lead with her win over Sofia (Mulanovich), it's added some spice. It's not exactly how I imagined this year unfolding but we're really only halfway."
Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, former ASP Women's World Champion and current No. 2 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, has been incredibly consistent in 2009 with a win, two runner-up finishes and an equal 9th,
"I have had a good year so far," Mulanovich said. "I have been having lots of fun and enjoying competing and traveling a lot and I think that has helped me a lot with my results. Being happy and enjoying the tour is the motivation you need to get results. I am not expecting anything this year. I am just surfing each heat the best that I can and let the rest evolve itself. I am having fun."
Mulanovich has enjoyed good results in Sydney throughout her career, and the Peruvian natural-footer will look to continue her momentum when the Beachley Classic commences.
"I have always made the Semis in Manly," Mulanovich said. "I really like the vibe there. I love Sydney and the waves get fun."
Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, former seven-time ASP Women's World Champion and current No. 3 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, has been in sterling form this season and sits well within striking distance of regaining the ASP Women's World Title.
"This has been my most consistent season since winning my 7th ASP Women's World Title back in 2006," Beachley said. "I feel like I'm surfing the best I have my whole career so it feels great to be keeping up with these 20-year-olds. To stay at the top, you have to continue to find ways to reinvent yourself and these youngsters are motivating me to do so."
Although remaining a fixture in the race for the ASP Women's World Title the past two years, Beachley hasn't won an elite tour event since Brazil in 2006, a statistic she is looking to remedy in Sydney.
"I'm so close to a win I can just taste it!" Beachley said. "More importantly though is the fact that I'm surfing well and after 19 years on tour, that means more to me than winning events. But to win world titles, you have to win events and with only 4 events remaining, I need to notch up a win or two if I'm any chance of challenging Steph and Sofia for the ASP Women's World Title. 8 in '08 has such a great ring to it!"
The Beachley Classic begins its waiting period on October 9, 2008 and runs through October 14th, 2008.
The event will be webcast LIVE via www.aspworldtour.com
Current ASP Women's World Tour Ratings:
1 - Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 3516 points
2 - Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 3504 points
3 - Layne Beachley (AUS) 3036 points
4 - Samantha Cornish (AUS) 2628 points
5 - Amee Donohoe (AUS) 2424 points
6 - Melanie Bartels (HAW) 2112 points
7 - Silvana Lima (BRA) 2028 points
8 - Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 1836 points
9 - Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 1824 points
10 - Rebecca Woods (AUS) 1632 points
11 - Megan Abubo (HAW) 1452 points
11 - Julia De La Rosa (PER) 1452 points
13 - Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 1440 points
14 - Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 1260 points
14 - Karina Petroni (USA) 1260 points
14 - Nicola Atherton (AUS) 1260 points
17 - Serena Brooke (AUS) 1080 points
18 - Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 912 points*
* First replacement on ASP Women's World Tour