Melanie Bartels 

Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26, has won the 2008 Billabong Girls Pro Rio, defeating fellow finalist Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, in rifling four foot (1.5 metre) barrels at Barra da Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro today.

Event No. 4 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, the Billabong Girls Pro Rio survived through a grueling five-day lay period to culminate in excellent conditions today, with the ASP Top 17 putting in some of the best performances in ASP history.

Bartels, who rockets up from 14th to 6th on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, collects her second career Dream Tour win (her first as a full-time member) with today's victory at the Billabong Girls Pro Rio.

“It's an amazing feeling and I'm just overwhelmed right now,” Bartels said. “My last win was in 2006 as a wildcard at Sunset so to be able to come out on top today, in these conditions, is really special. The waves started to deteriorate towards the end, but I was able to grab a couple of scores against Sofia (Mulanovich) and I was really just surfing my own heat out there and doing my own thing. I was having fun.”

The Hawaiian, who was unable to make the second event of the season, has rebounded in spectacular form today, defeating the reigning ASP Women's World Champion during the Semifinals in what some are calling the best heat in women's professional surfing history (19.00 def.18.50) before taking down Mulanovich in the Final.

“After that Semifinal with Steph (Gilmore) I was filled with a lot of confidence,” Bartels said. “The waves pumped for that heat and we were trading barrel after barrel. That's the most fun I've had in a heat in a long time. I had a tough start to the year with sponsors and results, but that just made me really hungry and after today, I'm really looking forward to the rest of the year.”

Mulanovich, who solidifies her position at No. 2 on the ASP Women's World Tour ratings with today's runner up finish, continues to collect consistent results in 2008 with her third Finals appearance of the season.


ISA World Surfing Games

The ISA World Surfing Games, one of the most important surf competitions, are less than one month away. The host Portuguese beaches are already feeling the great spectacle that is soon to be: the ISA World Surfing Games that will happen from October 11-19 in the beautiful waves of Costa de Caparica.

Approximately 300 surfers from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Tahiti, Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Uruguay and the host nation, Portugal, will dispute medals in the following categories:

-Open Men –four members per team-
-Open Women –two members per team-
-Bodyboard Men -two members per team-
-Bodyboard Women –one member per team
-Longboard - one member per team-

An Olympic style spirit will be celebrated during a week-long competition. Participants will be giving all they can for the honor of defending the colors of their countries, and to obtain the greatest glory a surfer or a country can gain: the gold medal in the main event for surfing Federations of the world.

Surfing nations will come together for the twentieth time to test their abilities to show who is more developed in surfing standards.

Worldwide colors will parade in Costa de Caparica, signaling peace and comradeship among the nations of the world and showing during a surfing event that a better world is possible.


Chris Friend 

Sunshine Coast surfing young gun Chris Friend (Twin Waters) has received a timely confidence boost heading into the business end of the Australasian Pro Junior series, upstaging a 48-strong field of the state’s premier open aged surfers to win the Billabong North Classic at Coolum Beach yesterday.

In the absence of QCC front-runners Corey Ziems (Currumbin), Shaun Gossmann (Burleigh Heads) and Blake Wilson (Alexandra Headlands), who opted to miss the fifth leg of the six round Billabong Queensland Championship Circuit (QCC) to compete at the 5-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event in Spain, Friend surfed his way into the state surfing spotlight to bag $2000 and 1000 all-important QCC rating points.

The Sunshine Coast ace let rip in the small 2-3 ft (0.5-1-metre), onshore conditions, blending a high-speed, fluid approach with explosive moves to beat fellow Sunshine Coaster Luke Jory (Sunshine Beach), Yamba ripper Matt Jones (NSW) and Gold Coaster Jamie Thomson (Elanora) in a wave starved, 25-minute final.