O’Neill Team rider Melanie Bartels officially re-qualified for the Association of Surfing Professional’s World Championship Tour on Friday with the 2006 World Qualifying Series concluding at the OP Pro Hawaii at Alii Beach, Haleiwa. Bartels quarterfinal finish in the unusually small Hawaiian surf preserved her third position overall on the WQS and top five rating to qualify for the ’07 WCT.
Bartels is known as one of the most explosive women surfers in the world and her failure to re-qualify for the WCT in ’06 was just as much as a surprise as a disappointment. Bartels used the bad taste in her mouth as motivation to get back to the WCT in ’07. Bartels sites falling off the tour as a useful time to regroup and focus on her goals, “I was really frustrated losing all the time last year (on the WCT.) Falling off tour made me hungrier though. It gave me a goal, I wanted to be on the WCT once again and challenging for a World Championship.”
With a win at the first WQS event of the year, the Gallaz Surf Pro at Sebastian Inlet, Florida, and strong results in Brazil, Australia, South Africa, and Huntington Beach Bartels’ qualification was inevitable. After her quarterfinal finish guaranteed her a spot on next year’s tour, Bartels was more in the mood to look forward to next year then celebrate: “It was a relief for me to make it and I’m stoked to qualify, but I didn’t even go out and party with the girls last night. I am just looking forward to next year, I want to at least finish in the top five and I really want to win it (a World Championship Title.) Everyone (on tour) is surfing really well, the surfing is unreal, but I think next year will be different for me than it was in ’05.”