Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic

The opening day of the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic saw current ASP World No. 5 Melanie Bartels (HAW), 27, and reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, lead the world’s best women’s surfers through Round 1 in two-to-three foot (1 metre) surf at Dee Why.

Gilmore stayed busy throughout her entire Round 1 heat today and emerged victorious in a tough battle over defending Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic champion Tyler Wright (AUS), 15, who eliminated Gilmore in Round 3 of last year’s competition, and 2005 ASP Women’s World Champion Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 25, to advance directly through to Round 3 with a solid 14.00 out of 20 heat total.

“I wasn’t really focusing on redemption over Wright, but it was more about shaking off the first heat nerves,” Gilmore said. “Chelsea (Hedges) and Tyler are a couple of my favorite surfers and Tyler did so well here last year, so I guess it felt good to come back with a win after a long break. It’s a bit disappointing that we’re not surfing at the point this morning, but it’s (Dee Why) a great wave and who knows what’s going to happen later in the week, maybe we’ll be up at the point for the Final, that’d be awesome.”

Although the talented regular-footer felt pressure entering the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic after a long mid-year break, Gilmore showed no sign of nerves and the poise shown by the defending ASP Women’s World Champion carried her directly through to Round 3.

“I think there is pressure after such a long break,” Gilmore said. “There’s sort of that safety net of Round 2, but I wanted to go out there and surf hard and my equipment is amazing at the moment and I’m stoked to be through to Round 3.”

Aside from the pressure of returning to contest mode after a long break, Gilmore also expressed the weight of entering an ASP Women’s World Tour event as the top seed.

Read more ...

Parrish Byrne

The 2009 ASP WQS 4-Star Billabong Tsurigasaki Pro recommenced this morning for the final day at Tsurugasaki Beach with the Quarterfinals kicking things off this morning.

The local weather at Tsurigasaki Beach, Ichinomiya was fair this morning. The surf conditions were two-to-four feet (1 to 1.5 metre) with onshore winds. Event director Toshiyuki Tanaka called this morning at 8am to get the final day’s action underway.

Two Japanese, one Hawaiian, and one Australian: Parrish Byrne (AUS), Izuki Tanaka (JPN), Teppei Tajima (JPN), and Joel Centeio (HAW) made it to the Semifinals.

In Semifinal 1, Byrne overcame Tanaka to move to the Final. In Semifinal 2, Tajima overcomes Centeio to move to Final.

Teppei Tajima held the lead for the majority of the Final with Parrish Byrne. With only a few minutes remaining, Byrne fights back strong with an excellent 9.33 to take the lead over Tajima. Tajima strikes hard back with an excellent 9.00, but not enough to take the lead once again. With a total point of 16.83 to 16.50 for Tajima, Parrish Byrne of Australia is crowned the 2009 Billabong Tsurigasaki Pro Champion.

Read more ...

Jamie Mitchell

Jamie Mitchell, big wave surfer and winner of the 32-mile Molokai to Oahu paddle race, in Hawaii, had a close encounter with a pod of whales.

Eight-time World Paddleboarding champion saw the huge mammals surfacing close to his paddleboard. Mitchell was filming off the Northern NSW coast for his new television project “Living in Liquid”.

According to scientists, up to 13,000 humpbacks make the journey along the eastern seaboard each year. The pro surfer has already ridden 60 foot waves off the coast of California, will attempt to dive without oxygen to 100 foot and will also try to stand-up paddleboard a 50-foot wave.