ASP World Tour countdown begins

January 30, 2008 | Surfing

ASP 2008

The 2008 ASP World Tour roster has been eliciting excitement among the surfers and ASP enthusiasts alike since the new Top 45 were confirmed last December. In three short weeks, the world will take a front row seat to what many are expecting to be a mind-blowing season.

The arrival of rookies Jordy Smith (ZAF) and Dane Reynolds (USA), an inspired Australian contingent (courtesy of Aussie Mick Fanning’s 2007 ASP World Title) and the undeniable depth of talent delivered by multiple ASP World Champions Andy Irons (HAW) and Kelly Slater (USA), are expected to catapult competitiveness in the lineup to an all-time high.

“I think the 2008 tour will be extra exciting,” Fanning said. “With all the new rookies and the usual suspects I think every one will turn it up another notch. As always, everyone will be super fired up and I am hoping this year will be the best ever on tour.”

There are 11 events scheduled on the 2008 ‘Dream Tour’ and after a rather lackluster season wave-wise in 2007, the world’s best are eager to start from scratch and return to idyllic locations like Australia, Tahiti and Fiji with another opportunity to ride the best waves on the planet.

Courtesy of the ASP’s new ‘Dual Heats’ format, a Slater-inspired system, it is now possible to run close to twice as many heats in a day should conditions herald it.

“I do think it will be a tougher year competitively this year and the surf can’t be any worse than it was last season, so 2008 will definitely be a better year all around for the tour,” Slater said. “I’m sure Mick is going to be hungry to back up his title, the new guys will be hungry to make a statement, Andy is going to be hungry to find his place again, and as for me… I don’t think I’ll do a full year on the tour so I’m just going to have some fun.”

Slater has hinted at retirement for some time but is the first to admit that he has a hard time walking away from world-class conditions should the swell chart for an upcoming event call for them. He has confirmed his spot at the season-opener, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by LG.

Smith, who holds down the 34th place seed after finishing 1st on the 2007 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS), has lofty aspirations for his debut season. Having already made a Final in an ASP World Tour event as a wildcard (JBay in 2006), he is certainly one to watch.

“I would say that I am looking forward to gaining experience and doing my best,” Smith said. “I am just going to put my best foot forward and hope that I can link together some good results. That might see me in the Top 5.”

The 2008 ASP World Tour is comprised of 17 Australians, 14 Americans (five of which are Hawaiians) six Brazilians, four South Africans and four Europeans – the greatest number of elite tour surfers Europe has ever boasted.

"This year’s roster for the 2008 ASP Dream Tour is probably the most exciting we have had for some time,” ASP CEO Brodie Carr said. “We have the hottest guys on the planet all chomping at the bit to win the ASP World Title. Hold on to your leg rope it will be a hell of a ride."

The 2008 ASP World Tour will commence with the Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast of Australia on Feb. 23.

The lineup for the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour has been finalized following the completion of the 2007 ASP Women’s World Tour and ASP WQS seasons, the ASP wildcard being decided as well as the appropriate substitution being made for pregnancy.

The ASP Women’s World Tour is made up of the top 10 finishers from the previous season, the top 6 finishers on the ASP WQS as well as the ASP Wildcard, making for a total of 17 elite competitors. In the event of double qualification, a competitor qualifying through both the ASP Women’s World Tour and ASP WQS, the next surfer on the ASP WQS ratings is given the nod.

The ASP Wildcard is decided by a tech committee comprised of physicians, surfers and tour managers who review applications for a seed on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour. While it has historically been given to surfers who are unable to compete the previous season due to injury, it is not a prerequisite.

In the case of this season, the ASP tech committee deemed that the wildcard would be given to the next highest placing surfer on the ASP Women’s World Tour, Megan Abubo (HAW). Since Abubo had qualified already via her ASP WQS seed as well, this freed up another sport from the qualifying series for Julia De La Rosa Toro (PER).

Chelsea Hedges (AUS), former ASP Women’s World Champion, is pregnant and will sit out the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour season. Taking her place is the next highest placing surfer from the 2007 ASP Women’s World Tour, South Africa’s Rosanne Hodge.

“My plan right now is to have 2008 off from the tour, relax and enjoy the experience of being pregnant (it will be nice to have a full year at home!),” Hedges said. “I plan to return to the ASP Women’s World Tour in 2009 with 100% support from my sponsor Roxy.”

Hodge, who narrowly missed officially qualifying for the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour by one heat, will put her stylish approach to good use in 2008, surfing for the pregnant Hedges.

“I was just really happy and relieved when I found out I would be back this season,” Hodge said. “I lost out on officially requalifying by such a small margin in Maui, and I was disappointed in that because in the last event, I finally found my feet and relaxed. I’m so stoked I got a second shot. I’m frothing to travel, surf, compete and get some results. I can’t wait for the first event to start.”

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), reigning ASP Women’s World Champion, will be the marked surfer this season, having claimed her history-making title during her rookie year in ’07. With the influx of new surfers this season and the ever-increasing performance level, the champ forecasts for an exciting year.

“I haven’t really been thinking too much about this stuff yet, but I do know that every girl on the tour stepped up their performances a great deal last year and I can only see the level going higher again this year,” Gilmore said. “Hopefully 2008 will be full of waves that will allow us to do so. The girls to watch will be Silvana Lima, Sofia Mulanovich, Jessi Miley-Dyer and Karina Petroni – kind of a mix of experience and rookies in these girls is going to make them shine.”

The first event on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour will be the Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks from February 23 – March 6, 2008.

Seeding for 2008 ASP Men’s World Tour
1. Mick Fanning (AUS)
2. Taj Burrow (AUS)
3. Kelly Slater (USA)
4. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
5. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
6. Andy Irons (HAW)
7. Pancho Sullivan (HAW)
8. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
9. Dean Morrison (AUS)
10. Bobby Martinez (USA)
11. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
12. Kai Otton (AUS)
13. Tom Whitaker (AUS)
14. Taylor Knox (USA)
15. Damien Hobgood (USA)
16. Luke Stedman (AUS)
17. Chris Ward (USA)
18. Michael Campbell (AUS)
19. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
20. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
21. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
22. Leonardo Neves (BRA)
23. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
24. Bruce Irons (HAW)
25. Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
26. Daniel Wills (AUS)
27. Royden Bryson (ZAF)
28. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
29. Travis Logies (ZAF)
30. Dayyan Neve (AUS)
31. Ben Dunn (AUS)
32. Luke Munro (AUS)
33. Tim Reyes (USA)
34. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
35. Dane Reynolds (USA)
36. Jay Thompson (AUS)
37. Tiago Pires (PRT)
38. Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
39. Ben Bourgeois (USA)
40. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
41. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
42. Roy Powers (HAW)
43. Heitor Alves (BRA)
44. Mikael Picon (FRA)
45. Daniel Ross (AUS)

ASP Replacements for 2008
1. Nic Muscroft (AUS)
2. Phil Macdonald (AUS)
3. Gabe Kling (USA)
4. Greg Emslie (ZAF)

2008 ASP Women’s World Tour Lineup:
1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
3. Silvana Lima (BRA)
4. Samantha Cornish (AUS)
5. Layne Beachley (AUS)
6. Amee Donohoe (AUS)
7. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
8. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
9. Melanie Bartels (HAW)
10. Megan Abubo (HAW)
11. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)
12. Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
13. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS)
14. Karina Petroni (USA)
15. Serena Brooke (AUS)
16. Nicola Atherton (AUS)
17. Julia Christian (USA)

ASP Replacements for 2008
1. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
2. Laurina McGrath (AUS)
3. Caroline Sarran (FRA)

Source: ASP World Tour

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