COOLANGATTA, Australia - The best female surfers in the world are locked in and the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour looks to be one for the record books.
Eleven ASP Women’s World Titles will be represented over four competitors in reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 20, former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), 36, 2004 ASP Women’s World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, and returning 2005 ASP Women’s World Champion and 2009 ASP Dream Tour wildcard Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 25.
“After a three-tier process including surfer, ASP technical committee and ASP Board votes, Chelsea Hedges has been ed as the 2009 ASP Wildcard,” Brooke Farris, ASP Women’s World Tour Manager, said. “The former ASP Women’s World Champion will bring experience, a solid backhand attack and a baby to the 2009 ASP Dream Tour. After finishing 8th in 2007, Chelsea took a year off to give birth to her daughter Mieka. With her undeniable talent and past results, Hedges was a strong ion.”
Despite announcing 2008 as her last season as a full-time member of the ASP Women’s World Tour, Beachley will also return to competition for events.
“Announcing her retirement from full-time ASP World Tour competition last October, Layne Beachley will be using her ASP World No. 4 seed to surf at some of her favorite Dream Tour locations,” Beachley said. “Hunting her 30th career win, I suspect we will see Layne surfing at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach and her own event the Beachley Classic at Manly.”
In addition to the slew of returning champions, the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour will also boast the arrival of a new guard in women’s surfing, led by 2008 ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) Winner Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18.
“With five fresh new faces onboard, the line-up for the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour is incredibly exciting,” Farris said. “It will be interesting to see how quickly the rookies adapt to life on the ASP Dream Tour and who will really try to shake two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Steph Gilmore off the podium.”
Fitzgibbons will be joined by fellow newcomers Bruna Schmitz (BRA), 18, Paige Hareb (NZL), 18, Alana Blanchard (HAW), 18, and Coco Ho (HAW), 17.
Next season’s ASP Women’s World Tour will be comprised of eight Australians, three Hawaiians, three Brazilians, one Peruvian, one South African and one New Zealander, and will take the ASP Top 17 to Australia, Brazil, Peru, “Somewhere” and Hawaii over eight events.
The Roxy Pro Gold Coast will kickstart the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour at Snapper Rocks on Australia’s Gold Coast. The waiting period for the Roxy Pro Gold Coast runs from February 28 through March 11, 2009
2009 ASP Women’s World Tour Surfers:
1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
2 – Silvana Lima (BRA)
3 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
4 – Layne Beachley (AUS)
5 – Amee Donohoe (AUS)
6 – Samantha Cornish (AUS)
7 – Melanie Bartels (HAW)
8 – Rebecca Woods (AUS)
9 – Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
10 – Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
11 – Chelsea Hedges (AUS)*
12 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
13 – Rosanne Hodge (ZAF)
14 – Bruna Schmitz (BRA)
15 – Paige Hareb (NZL)
16 – Alana Blanchard (HAW)
17 – Coco Ho (HAW)
* ASP Wildcard
2009 ASP Women’s World Tour Replacements:
1 – Megan Abubo (HAW)
2 – Laurina McGrath (AUS)
3 – Nicola Atherton (AUS)
2009 ASP Women’s World Tour Schedule:
Stop No. 1: Roxy Pro Gold Coast (Feb. 28 – Mar. 11, 2008)
Stop No. 2: Rip Curl Women’s Pro pres. by Ford New Fiesta (Apr. 8 – 13, 2008)
Stop No. 3: Billabong Girls Pro Rio (Dates to be Confirmed)
Stop No. 4: Beachley Classic (Dates to be Confirmed)
Stop No. 5: Movistar Mancora Peru Classic pres. by Rip Curl (Dates to be Confirmed)
Stop No. 6: Rip Curl Search Somewhere (Oct. 26 – 30, 2008)
Stop No. 7: Roxy Pro Sunset Beach (Nov. 25 – Dec. 6, 2008)
Stop No. 8: Billabong Pro Maui (Dec. 8 – 20, 2008)