Phil MacDonald 

Phillip MacDonald (Sydney, AUS), 29, claimed the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Buondi Billabong Pro today in tricky two foot (0.5 meter) waves at the event’s back-up venue of Piedra Blanca clinching 2500 ratings’ points after defeating Patrick Gudauskas (Ca, USA) in a nerve testing final where ten  waves only were surfed. MacDonald, who jumps from No. 31 to 14 on the ASP WQS international ratings, will now be looking forward to requalifying for the ASP World Tour.

MacDonald, a renowned big wave surfer, impressed today in the small conditions defeating Brett Simpson (USA), Che Stang (USA) and Eneko Acero (EUK) to make the final, before securing his first main WQS victory against new ratings’ No. 4 Gudauskas.

"I placed 2nd many times in my career but to eventually win a big event is just amazing," MacDonald said. "It was one of the smallest contests in a long time but a win is always a win and I am stoked I finally got the boys to hold me up in the air and get that feeling at last. It was a tough contest, kind of nerving testing with the tricky waves all weekend."

MacDonald, who ended up winning with a 14.50 point heat score (out of a possible 20), got the better waves in the 30-minute final posting an 8.00 point ride halfway through the battle before using his priority over Gudauskas to get away with the title.

"I could have surfed better but there was not a lot of options out there and I just got that good wave," MacDonald said. "I manged to get a few turns together for this 8.00 point score and in these conditions I knew there would not be many more good enough waves."

MacDonald, who got back on the WQS after failing to requalify through the ASP World Tour last year, had a slow start since the WQS got underway in January but now stands with two serious results in a row – an equal 9th in Hossegor and a 1st here – and is in position for a possible requalification.

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Stephanie Gilmore 

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 20, reigning ASP Women’s World Champion, has claimed the 2008 Rip Curl Pro Mademoiselle title, defeating fellow finalist Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Les Bourdaines in Seignosse, and regaining the ratings lead in the hunt for the 2008 ASP Women’s World Title.

Event No. 3 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Mademoiselle was treated to two full days of action, culminating in the stunning Final between the two Australian icons.

Gilmore exercised discretion in the Final, slotting herself in picturesque French barrels and executing critical turns to net a solid 16.66 out of a possible 20 while her compatriot Beachley searched for waves that didn’t offer sufficient scoring potential.

“I was fortunate to get those few waves out at the beginning that allowed me to get a few maneuvers in,” Gilmore said. “It was really tough out there – really fast and racy and not easy to get scores.  Unfortunately for Layne, she wasn’t able to find a wave she could really open up on.”

Despite a disappointing 9th place finish in the season opener at home on the Gold Coast, Gilmore has since rebounded, claiming her second event win in a row and rocketing into the ratings lead in the race for the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour.

“I’m absolutely fired up,” Gilmore said. “I had a bit of a wobbly start to the year, but I’ve had two really good events in a row and to be back on top is an amazing feeling. It’s my second year on tour and I’m looking to defend my title. I’m excited to be where I’m at heading into the next few events.”

Beachley, former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion, was disappointed that she was unable to pull out the win, but her runner-up finish moves the phenomenal natural-footer from 5th to 3rd on the ASP Women’s World Tour rankings, putting her well within striking distance of the 2008 ASP Women’s World Title.

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Lee Ann Curren

Lee Ann Curren (Biarritz, FRA), 19, claimed the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Grade-2 Rip Curl Pro Junior Mademoiselle today at Les Bourdaines in Seignosse. Curren, who defeated Justine Dupont (FRA), Pauline Ado (FRA) and Marie Dejean (FRA) in a 100% French final, took the best out of the good hollow four foot (1.2 meter) waves in the seventh event of the season.

Lee Ann Curren, reigning ASP European Women’s champion, who advanced through four heats in two days to reach the final encounter, won with a low 11.50 point score tally (out of a possible 20) after getting through three rounds in a row in the solid conditions. Posting a good 6.75 point ride (out of a possible 10) en route to victory, Curren led the final all the way to the end.

"I am super stoked," Curren said. "It took me some time to find a good wave but finding the good option was the key to win. There was a lot of current so I chose to ride a bigger board to paddle out faster. It was fun to try barrels and different moves."

With this victory, Curren wins the precious wildcard to compete against the ASP Top 17 in the Rip Curl Pro  Mademoiselle, Stop No. 3 of 8 on the ASP Women’s World Tour, and  jumps to 2nd on the regional ratings.

"I placed 2nd and 3rd in the last events and I really wanted to win this one," Curren said. "I am stoked to win the wildcard to compete in the Women’s World tour event. This is a fantastic opportunity!"

Runner-up Justine Dupont (Lacanau, FRA), 17, put an excellent effort in her final battle but was unable to find the scores needed to claim the title. Dupont posted a low 6.10 point heat tally (out of possible 20).

"I really enjoyed the conditions today," Dupont said. "Some waves were very big and gave me an adrenaline rush. I chose the outside section and I think it was the best option to score better but I paddled most of the 30-minute final."

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