The 2008 Beachley Classic, stop No. 5 of 8 on the ASP Women’s World Tour, kicks off its waiting period tomorrow and the ASP Top 17 are geared up to do battle for the biggest prize purse of the year on Manly Beach, Australia.
In addition to the increased prize purse, the Beachley Classic also offers a 20% increase in ratings points compared with other events this season, making it all the more valuable for surfers looking to contest the 2008 ASP Women’s World Title, crack the Top 5 or requalify for next season’s Dream Tour.
Melanie Bartels, 26, current No. 6 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, is coming into Manly hot on the heels of her maiden Dream Tour victory in Brazil last month, and the powerful Hawaiian’s confidence is through the roof: “I feel good – I feel confident and I'm focused and ready to go!" Bartels said. “I don't really know much about the break at Manly because it was pretty flat last year, but I'm sure it could get good so I'm just going to be ready for anything." After a slow start to the season, Bartels has since rebounded in stunning fashion and finds herself in contention for Top 5 positioning pending a result in Manly.
"Steph Gilmore is a major threat at the Beachley Classic because she's won it two times in a row," Bartels said. “Layne Beachley will be dangerous too because she's really consistent and Sofia (Mulanovich) because she's very focused and also Silvana (Lima) because she just kills it. I’m just going to go out and do my thing and surf it heat-by-heat."
Bartels will face Silvana Lima (BRA), 23, and Julia De La Rosa Toro (PER), 26, in Round 1 when Beachley Classic competition commences.
Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 22, current No. 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour ratings, missed the opening event of the season due to injury, but has since racked up three 5th place finishes. The young goofy-footer will look to improve near home turf in Manly this week. “I’m really happy with how I’ve gone this year," Miley-Dyer said. “In previous years, I’ve had 9ths and this year, I’ve had straight fifths so I’m stoked with my consistency. Being injured made me realize how much I love competing and how much it sucks to be on the sidelines for ASP Women’s World tour events so I’m looking to improve on my 8th ranking right now and cement my place on tour for 2009 and to move into the Top 6."
Having grown up in Sydney, Miley-Dyer is appreciative to have an event close to home and will look to use her years of experience at the break to her advantage: "I love having an event in Sydney," she said. “I’m always going to be a Sydney girl and I love coming home to this city! It’s definitely special for me to be able to have my family at the event and I’ve been surfing at Manly since I was a grommet. Last year, this event was critical to my end rating after I made the Semis so I’m looking to do well again."
Miley-Dyer squares off against Amee Donohoe (AUS), 27, and Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS), 33, in the opening heat of Round 1 when Beachley Classic competition kicks off.
Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22, 2008 Dream Tour rookie and current No. 14 on the ASP Women’s World Tour, hasn’t had the best start to her maiden year amongst the world’s elite, but hopes to remedy that with the increased ratings points purse at this week’s Beachley Classic. “I think I’m close to last on the ratings," Atherton said. “My results so far this year have been really average, but I need to forget about that and take the positive aspects from my heats so far on tour and put my experiences to good use. The Beachley Classic is worth more points, so if I could get a good result here, it would really improve my position."
Atherton will do battle with former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion and event organizer Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, and Rebecca Woods (AUS), 24, in Round 1 of the Beachley Classic.
The Beachley Classic begins its waiting period tomorrow, Thursday, October 9, 2008 and runs through October 14th, 2008.
Beachley Classic Round 1 Match-Ups: Heat 1: Amee Donohoe (AUS), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) Heat 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), Karina Petroni (USA) Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), TBA Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Megan Abubo (HAW), Serena Brooke (AUS) Heat 5: Layne Beachley (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Nicola Atherton (AUS) Heat 6: Silvana Lima (BRA), Melanie Bartels (HAW), Julia De La Rosa Toro (PER)