What: Roxy Surf Festival, ASP Women’s 6 Star WQS and Pro Junior Event
Where: Phillip Island Victoria Australia
When: 21 – 28 January 2007
2005 world surfing champion and expectant mother Chelsea Hedges (Gold Coast, Aus) says she can’t stop smiling even though she will miss being in the line-up at the upcoming Roxy Surf Festival at Philip Island, Victoria, Australia.
The blue ribbon 6 Star ASP women’s world qualifying tournament promises to be the most exciting in the festival’s seven-year history, despite Hedges and world champion Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, NSW, Aus) not competing in the 2008 season-opener.
Two-time defending champion Stephanie Gilmore (Kingscliff, NSW, Aus) has also withdrawn due to sponsor commitments. The, talented pair have won four of the past six Phillip Island Roxy WQS tournaments between them. Hedges who is expecting her first child with board shaper/husband Jason this June, has always relished the quality waves of Phillip Island.
“I will miss competing at Phillip Island and surfing the fun waves. It’s the opening event of the year which is always special,” said Hedges. “Jason and I are so excited and I am enjoying being pregnant right now. Words cannot describe my feelings. I can’t stop smiling when I think about it,” she added.
The 24-year-old is currently on a surfing photo shoot in the Caroline Islands along with Gilmore and fellow world ranked competitor Jessi Miley-Dyer (Bronte, NSW, Aus). “This will be my last surfing trip for a while so I and lapping it up and taking it easy here,” said Hedges from the surf camp last night. “I’m surfing my regular board the best I can and playing around on a surf mat which I am finding a lot more comfortable under the belly.”
Gilmore is aware of how important a good result at the Roxy WQS can be to a surfer’s competitive year. “Winning this event the last two years, really boosted my confidence for the rest of the year and the international field gave me a taste of the fiery competition that lies ahead both on the ASP women’s world tour and the Qualifying series,” said Gilmore.
“This year as a 6 star, it’s an enormous points boost and with some other consistent results, the winner is almost guaranteed a spot on the ASP women’s world tour,” added Gilmore. Recently-crowned ASP world junior champion Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, NSW, Aus) is just one of the nations talented young guns who will get to test themselves against the worlds best.
The phenomenal 17-year-old will be up against the likes of world No.2 Sofia Mulanovich (Peru), world No.4 Sam Cornish (Crescent Head, NSW, AUS) world No.6 Amee Donohoe (Copacabana, NSW, AUS) and world No.8 Miey-Dyer. “Phillip Island will definitely be a tough event,” said Fitzgibbons. “The world title win was a confidence booster but a 6 star WQS is a real step up, so I will see how I go. Despite Steph not being in the line-up, the standard won’t be any less as most of the worlds best will be competing.”
The 2008 Roxy Surf Festival will kick-start a watershed year of women’s professional surfing at Phillip Island on January 21st. For the first time ever, the prize-money on the ASP women’s world tour and World Qualifying Series (WQS) has exceeded the million-dollar mark with an unprecedented $1,110,000 on offer this year. The Roxy Surf Festival will also feature an ASP Longboard contest, a 6 star Roxy Pro Junior and amateur divisions. The upgrading of the Roxy Longboard event to a 3 star has attracted the best international field ever seen on Australia’s shores.
Reigning ASP World Longboard Champion Jennifer Smith (San Diego, CA, USA) and stylish Kassia Meador (Oceanside, CA, USA) are just two of the big names heading down under. The pair will face a huge Australian contingent including defending Roxy Longboard champion Chelsea Williams (Tweed Heads) in the nations richest longboard event.
The 2 top placed riders will receive a top round seed to the Roxy ASP World Championship from July 9–14th 2008, which will decide the ASP Women’s World Championship at Cote des Basques, Biarritz, France. The Roxy Surf Festival is the worlds biggest celebration of women’s surfing bringing together a huge cross section of participants and carries a total of $45,000 in prize money.
The Roxy Surf Festival is proudly supported by the Victorian State Government “Play it Safe by the Water”, ASP Australasia, Surfing Victoria, Bass Coast Shire Council and Phillip Island Nature Park.