ASP Top 17 Re-Ignite for Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic

DEE WHY, New South Wales– After a lengthy mid-season break, the world’s best female surfers are re-igniting with the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic, Event No. 3 of 7 on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour, running at Sydney’s Dee Why Point from September 30 through October 5, 2009.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion and current ASP Women’s World No. 1, will look to further cement her ratings’ lead as she hunts down a third, consecutive ASP Women’s World Title, but will first need to refocus following the five-month break.

“Throughout the break I have enjoyed a fair bit of downtime,” Gilmore said. “I’ve been exploring California, seeing the sights, filming for my sponsors and taking pleasure in a few surf trips here and there. In the last few weeks I have really started to focus on the recommencement of the ASP Women’s World Tour and I am looking forward to putting the contest vest on and racking up another win.”

For the first time in the event’s four-year history, the Commonwealth Beachley Classic will move venue’s from the beachbreaks of Manly to the nearby pointbreak of Dee Why, a move that Gilmore believes will be to her advantage.

“I just got back from some great pointbreaks where the paddles were long and hard, so I feel fit and ready to tackle whatever current comes my way at Dee Why,” Gilmore said. “I am ready to slot into some backdoor action at the Point, lets hope it turns on.”

A two-time past winner at the event (2006, 2007), Gilmore’s bid for a three-peat was demolished early on in 2008, and the young Australian knows that the competition will be even fiercer at this season’s incarnation of the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic.

“With five rookies on tour this year it is like we have a whole lot of wildcards,” Gilmore said. “Sure, wildcards are hard, but that is just a part of the challenge. If you want to win the event you have to push past all of the other 17 surfers. Layne Beachley will be tough. But saying that, all the girls will be a threat at this year’s event. After such a long break, it will be interesting to see how everyone comes back.”

Tyler Wright (AUS), 15, defending Beachley Classic winner and the youngest ever winner of an elite ASP Women’s World Tour event, holds the added prestige of having taken out Gilmore at last season’s event. The two Australians will certainly meet again in 2009, having been paired up against one another in Round 1 of competition.

“I’m not really sure how to manage my nerves against someone like Steph (Gilmore),” Wright said. “I guess I just get so excited to surf against her that I forget about that stuff. The ASP Women’s World Tour has five new rookies this season so the event is going to be harder than ever, but I’m looking forward to it.”

Despite returning as event champion, Wright still feels little pressure competing on the world’s stage at such a young age and hopes experiences of the last season will only serve to make her a stronger competitor.

“I’ve only just turned 15 so I still have nothing to lose and everything to gain,” Wright said. “I still have a lot to learn and having another opportunity like this is unbelievable. Since last year, I’ve grown at least a centimeter so hopefully I have a bit more power behind my turns.”

Gilmore and Wright will take on the world’s best female surfers including current ASP Women’s World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, former seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), 37, at the Commonwealth Bank Beachley Classic.