DEE WHY, New South Wales/Australia (Wednesday, May 4, 2011) – The two youngest competitors in this year’s ASP Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, teenagers Tyler Wright, (AUS), 17, and Nikki Van Dijk, (AUS), 16, led the charge for the remaining four spots into the Quarterfinals at Dee Why Beach in Sydney, today.
A drop in swell to clean, one-meter conditions saw competitors split their round 4 campaigns between the Dee Why point and beach break.
ASP rookie and current World No. 3, Wright had her work cut out for her against 2005 ASP Women’s World Champion Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 27. Choosing to sit on the beach break while Hedges took the point, the pair exchanged stellar performances, Wright topping Hedges by 15.50 to 13.56 (out of 20.00).
“It was a tough decision to sit down the beach especially when Chelsea scored a 7.80 out the back straight away,” Wright said. “It was definitely a tight heat. ‘Chels’ only needed a 7.6 in the end so I just had to make sure I kept on it the whole time and in the end I was happy with my decision.”
Netting 8.50 and a 7.00 rides for her exciting combination of round-house cut backs and critical lip-line floaters, Wright showed just why she is an ASP World Title contender in her first year, advancing into the Quarterfinals where she will meet four times ASP Women’s World Champion and three time defending event champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS).
Event wildcard Nikki Van Dijk wrecked havoc with ASP Women’s World No. 7 Courtney Conlogue’s (USA) Sydney campaign, netting a superb 8.50 ride (out of ten) to win the heat with 14.50 to 12.90 (out of 20.00). Van Dijk’s win today marks the best result of her young career earning her spot in the Quarterfinals.
“I got my waves early and was able to stay relaxed so it turned out really well,” Van Dijk said. “ I’m really excited and I’m having fun. There’s no pressure as a wildcard, it’s the best position to be in.”
Looking supremely in-tune with the conditions at Dee Why, Van Dijk was able to showcase some of her best surfing today. Driving plenty of power through her on the rail carves, the talented 16-year-old is looking to be a formidable opponent when she meets current ratings leader Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) for the second time at this event, in the Quarterfinals.
“I’ve been surfing out here everyday since Saturday so I’ve got the hang of it and I know where to sit,” Van Dijk said. “I’m super excited to be into the Quarters and to face Sally again. I beat her in the first round so hopefully I’ll win again.”
Melanie Bartels (HAW) kept the lid on her stressful Round 4 clash against Paige Hareb (NZ). The pair of surfers sat neck-and-neck until the final minutes when Bartels’ move to the beach break earned her two of her best rides a 5.67 and 6.23 (out of ten), to advance in first place.
“It was really tough, we didn’t know whether to surf on the point or on the beach break,” Bartels said. “You’re sitting right on top of each other on the point whereas at the beach you can go left or right. I’m stoked I listened to my heart and went in, it worked out well.”
The result marks Bartels’ best of the season. She will face fellow countrywoman World No. 2 Carissa Moore in the Quarterfinals.
2004 ASP Women’s World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) surfed a smart heat against Coco Ho (HAW) gaining momentum as she went to lock in a 6.17 and a 7.33 (both out of 10) scores. Mulanovich advanced in first place ahead of Ho who was relegated to an equal 9th result.
“Coco is such an amazing surfer so I knew it was going to be a hard heat and I knew I was going to have to surf good,” Mulanovich said. ”The girls have been pulling out nines every heat and the level is just amazing! I’m just stoked to get through to the next round.”
With a new swell predicted for Friday, organisers are anticipating a lay day tomorrow before competition resumes on either Friday or Saturday. The next call will take place at Dee Why Beach at 7.30 am on Thursday morning.
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Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.50 def Coco Ho (HAW) 12.03
Heat 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.50 def Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.90
Heat 3: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 11.90 def Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.87
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.50 def Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 13.56
Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) vs Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs Melanie Bartels (HAW)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs Tyler Wright (AUS)