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Upsets at Beachley Classic

What: Beachley Classic, ASP World Tour Women’s Event #5
Where: Manly, New South Wales Australia
When: 9 – 14 October 2008

Some of the biggest upsets of the season went down yesterday as Round 3 of the Beachley Classic was completed in clean 2-3 foot surf at Manly Beach, Australia.

The day’s competition saw the shock elimination of reigning ASP Women’s World Champion and two-time Beachley Classic Champ Stephanie Gilmore at the hands of Oakley wildcard winner Tyler Wright.

“I’m super stoked about taking Steph (Gilmore) down,” 14-year-old Wright said. “It’s very exciting and I never thought it would happen. I just did my best to be patient and pick off the best waves and that seemed to work.Steph is a hero to pretty much every grommet in Australia so to be beat her is just unbelievable.”

Wright displayed maturity and patience beyond her years in her Round 3 clash with the champ, waiting several minutes before collecting two solid scoring rides that put Gilmore on the back foot while the clock ticked down. Wright will now face tour veteran Jacqueline Silva (BRA), 29, in her opening quarterfinal heat.

“The heats are only going to get harder and harder from here on out,” Wright said. “Everything from here on out is a bonus so I’ll just be trying to catch the best waves and surf the best I can.” While Gilmore looked to be in form early in the heat, the phenomenal natural-footer was unable to find solid enough scores to overtake the young challenger, and will now have to resume her bid for the ASP Women’s World Title at the next stop in Peru.

“I struggled to produce any decent scores out there in those conditions,” Gilmore said. “Tyler is a very patient and mature competitor who deserved the win and I’m sure will keep causing upsets throughout the remainder of the event. This will obviously lower my place on the ratings, but I’ll throw this one away and start fresh in Peru.”

Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, former ASP Women’s World Champion, overtook the ratings lead on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour with her Round 3 victory over Karina Petroni (USA), 20. Prior to the Beachley Classic, Mulanovich was just a scant 12 points behind Gilmore in the race for the ASP Women’s World Title, and in making the quarterfinals, the Peruvian now sits atop the ratings.

“After seeing Steph eliminated just before my heat, I felt like the pressure was off a little bit and I had nothing to lose,” Mulanovich said. “I felt pretty free and I think this helped my surfing. You just have get the right waves, have the right board and surf the best you can”.

Rebecca Woods (AUS), 24, caused another major upset today, defeating winner of the last ASP Women’s World Tour event in Brazil, Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26, in Round 3 in stunning fashion: “Bartels is a scary competitor because she can bring anything out at any time,” Woods said. “She’s definitely tough competition. It’s a great result for me to crack the Quarterfinals and comes at a crucial point of the year.”

Competition has been called off for the day today, with only small one-foot waves on offer at the primary site at Manly Beach, Australia. With two days remaining in the waiting period, event organizers will look to run the last seven heats in the best conditions possible.

Beachley Classic Round 3 Results:
Heat 3: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 16.25 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 11.15
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.85 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.00
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 14.00 def. Karina Petroni (AUS) 6.70
Heat 6: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.75 def. Melanie Bartels (AUS) 12.00
Heat 7: Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.50 def. Megan Abubo (HAW) 10.75
Heat 8: Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.15 def. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 11.45

Beachley Classic Round 4 Match-Ups:
QF 1: Julia de La Rosa Toro (PER) vs. Amee Donohoe (AUS)
QF 2: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
QF 3: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) vs. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
QF 4: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Layne Beachley (AUS)

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