Corey Ziems

Underdogs Corey Ziems (Currumbin, Qld) and Ashleigh Smith (Cabarita, NSW) will get to surf against the world’s best after winning wildcards into the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro’s presented by LG Mobile at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast today.

Ziems will now face world no.3 Taj Burrow (Yallingup, Aus) in round one of the season-opening ASP men’s world tour event. Smith will also have her work cut out having drawn best friend and two-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) at her local break of Snapper Rocks in the ASP women’s world tour event.

20-year-old Smith proved too good in the highly-anticipated Roxy Pro trials final, going from strength-to-strength to beat Coolangatta surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey (14, Qld), Gold Coast based Kiwi surfer Sarah Mason (13, Tugun, Qld) and Lennox Head star Tyler Wright (14, NSW) to secure the lone wildcard into the world tour event.

In winning the final 13.85 to Coffey’s 11.75, Smith overcome three much younger opponents.

With the average age of professional surfers getting younger each year, Smith was pleased to end the run of her teenage opponents.

“They’ve all been ripping out their,” said Smith. “I just went out and had fun and kept doing what I was doing.”

“I wasn’t even expecting to win. I can’t believe it’s happened. It’s crazy.”

The Cabarita natural foot, who went to school with Gilmore at Kingscliff High in the state’s north, says they’ve been dreaming of the day that they could surf at their local break with just two of them out.

“We’ve been saying since we were grommets that we would love a heat at Snapper together,” she said.

“It’s finally going to happen. It’s so cool.”

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ASP World Champions' Crowning

The world’s best surfers congregated at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre last night for the ASP World Champions’ Crowning.

Surfing’s “night of nights”, the ASP World Champions’ Crowning would prove an emotional evening, with a final farewell from a sporting icon and the acknowledgement of two surfing dynasties.

Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew (AUS), 54, will be stepping down from his post as ASP International President at the end of March, and last night’s ASP World Champions’ Crowning would prove a fitting farewell for the legendary sportsman. As Bartholomew finished a heart-warming diatribe chronicling the rise of professional surfing, the former world champion received a raucous standing ovation by the 600 strong in attendance.

Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning ASP World Champion, was awarded with a phenomenal ninth World Crown, and thanked his fellow athletes for pushing the high-performance boundaries of competitive surfing as well as announcing his intentions for a tenth ASP World Title campaign in 2009.

Other ASP World Tour athletes awarded last night were 2008 ASP World Tour Runner-Up Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, Rookie of the Year Dane Reynolds (USA), 23, and a tie for ‘Most Improved’ with Adrian Buchan (AUS), 26, and Adriano de Souza (BRA), 22.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, was both articulate and poignant in her acceptance speech for her second consecutive ASP Women’s World Title, and her professionalism, both in the water and in front of the microphone, was heralded by audience members throughout the evening.

Other ASP Women’s World Tour athletes awarded last night were 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour Runner-Up Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, Rookie of the Year Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22, and ‘Most Improved’ Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26.

Bonga Perkins (HAW), 36, and Joy Monahan (HAW), 22, took home the ASP World Longboarding and ASP Women’s World Longboarding Titles respectively, while Nathaniel Curran (USA), 24, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, received honors for ASP WQS No. 1 finishes in 2008.

Kai Barger (HAW), 19, and Pauline Ado (FRA), 18, were crowned ASP World Junior Champions and are now recognized as being leaders in the assault of the next generation.

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Stan Couper's wife Vi and daughter Gail

Stan Couper was today posthumously inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame at Surf World, Torquay.

Vi Couper, Stan’s wife was on hand to accept the Inductee trophy along with daughter Gail and son Geoffrey. Stan Couper is the 31st Inductee into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame and now joins his daughter Gail Couper who was inducted in 2000.

1988 Australian Surfing Hall of Fame Inductee Wayne Lynch presented the trophy to Vi on behalf of the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame along with Gail Couper. Geoffrey Couper spoke on behalf of the family ‘offering his thoughts on his father and his love of surfing’.

The induction ceremony was attended by a number of those who have had a bearing on the development of surfing including former Australian Surfing Association President Tony Olsen, Rip Curl’s Brian Singer amongst others.

Joe Sweeney who crafts the timber Induction trophy spoke about Stan’s passion not just for surfing but his love of other sports and the region. Also sharing his thoughts on Stan and his contribution to surfing was local legend and Inductee Wayne Lynch.

The induction of Stan Couper previews the upcoming Australian Surfing Awards incorporating the Hall of Fame which is to be held on Tuesday 3rd March at the Stars Room at Twin Towns Services Club in Coolangatta.

This awards ceremony is to recognize individuals and organizations that have made contributions to the surfing industry in a number of areas including performance, administration, culture, movies and photos.  These awards will also feature the induction of another “major contributor” to surfing.

The awards will also feature the presentation of the inaugural Stan Couper Administration Award and the Peter Troy Lifestyle Award.


Stan Couper was instrumental in the development of Surfing in Australia and his induction recognizes his “significant contribution” to the development of surfing. Stan was a Surfing Australia President (then Australian Surfriders Association) and long time Victorian President and office-bearer, outstanding administrator, contest director and judge in the 60’s and early 70’s. 

Credited with documenting Australian Surfriders Association rules and being a major force for stability during a period of competition development plus the emergence of country soul surfing which questioned competition relevance.

Influential in the establishment and maintenance of the first surfing reserve for surfers’ exclusive use, the Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve. He was also a major contributor to the administration of the World Surfing Championships in 1970 at Bells Beach.


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