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World’s Top Female Surfers Land in Bells Beach for Rip Curl Women’s Pro

What: Rip Curl Women’s Pro, ASP Women’s World Tour Event #2
Where: Bells Beach Torquay, Australia
When: 19 – 24 March 2008

Event No. 2 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour will see the world’s best female surfers converge upon Victoria for the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach running from March 19-24, 2008. Coming just weeks after the season-opener on the Gold Coast, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will see the ASP Top 17 battle it out to determine who will come out on top and ring the bell.

Sofia Mulanovich (PER), current ratings leader on the tour, is riding a high after her recent victory at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and will be the woman to beat heading into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. “I feel great and winning on the Gold Coast was really amazing for me,” Mulanovich said. “I have never done well there before, so to win was one of my best victories. I feel confident and ready to go compete in all kinds of waves.”

Mulanovich, who won the ASP Women’s World Tour event at Bells Beach in 2005, has always been a threat at the venue and will look to consolidate on her early lead this season. “I love Bells as it reminds me a lot to the waves of Punta Hermosa where I live,” Mulanovich said. “I always have a good vibe when I am there. I’m not thinking about the world title yet as it is still early in the season, but I am hoping for a strong result at Bells.”

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning ASP Women’s World Champion, surfed brilliantly in the opening rounds on the Gold Coast, but stumbled when ousted by trials winner Carissa Moore (HAW). Gilmore will hope to improve upon her equal 9th place finish in the opening event and defend her title at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. “There are a lot of girls on tour this season that can be considered threats,” Gilmore said. “It’s not going to be an easy season, but I’m just taking things one heat at a time, one event at a time.”

Megan Abubo (HAW), who took out the ASP Women’s World Tour event at Bells Beach in 2000, had a banner end to 2007, and took her incredible level of surfing to the Gold Coast, where she netted some of the highest scores throughout the opening round of competition. “I worked with my trainer and did core training when my got my ribs finally healed which is the most important thing for me.” Abubo said. “I did lots of cardio and have been eating well. I was surfing a lot at home during the off season and working on my boards with my shaper Eric Arakawa.”

Abubo finished an equal 9th on the Gold Coast, but will look to use her years of competitive experience to post a solid result at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. “The big advantage of being a veteran is that you’ve been there, done that,” Abubo said. “You know what to expect and you’re comfortable in your own shoes and nothing really fazes you. Girls start asking you for advice and you see rookies make hideous mistakes in and out of the water. I love the knowledge that is stored in my head right now. As long as I can physically keep up with the younger girls, which I can honestly say is fine because I am fitter than I have ever been.”

Claire Bevilacqua (AUS), who narrowly missed out on requalifying for this season’s Dream Tour, will don the singlet once again in Bells, this time competing for Melanie Bartels (HAW) who has withdrawn from the event. Bevilacqua managed an equal 9th place finish at last month’s Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast as a replacement for Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS), and will look to improve upon her year so far in Victoria.

The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach begins its waiting period on March 19, 2008. The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be webcast LIVE on the ASP website.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Layne Beachley (AUS), Julia De La Rosa (PER), Nicola Atherton (AUS)
Heat 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), TBD
Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (AUS), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Karina Petroni (USA)
Heat 5: Silvana Lima (BRA), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS)
Heat 6: Amee Donohoe (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Serena Brooke (AUS)

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