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Surfer Layne Beachley Dominates Roxy Pro France


Reigning four-time world champion Layne Beachley (Aus) today dominated the Roxy Pro France. Round one and then two of the women's World Championship Tournament (WCT) took place, while the men's Quiksilver Pro was postponed this morning. The high tide ruled out any possibility of running all 16 heats.

Surf was in the 3ft (1m) range at Estagnots, though frequency of set waves was inconsistent at times. Lack of wind and a cloudless sky made for extremely hot conditions, with waves improving throughout the afternoon.

Beachley, who amassed the best single and combined two-wave total of the first round with a 9.5 and tally of 18-points, was in commanding form against Rochelle Ballard (Haw) and Amee Donohoe (Aus). The 30-year-old later explained her main shaper and mentor Ken Bradshaw had re-shaped the tail of her board for obvious benefits.

"I couldn't have asked for a better heat," admitted Beachley. "The tail of this board used to be a swallow tail, but Ken spent the past two days rounding it off and turning it into a rounded pin and grouted out some of the concave off the bottom to make it go a little faster. It wasn't working for me, but seemed to then (laughs). It was just a matter of finding the right waves and doing five turns to the beach, and fortunately I got the right ones and felt really confident."

Current ratings leader Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) won her match over former two-time world #2 Serena Brooke (Aus) and Roxy Pro France Trials winner Sofia Mulanovich (Peru). Plenty of hassling transpired in the heat, with Brooke and Mulanovich eventually receiving a double interference penalty, whereby only scoring their best single ride, following a peak situation that saw them collide into each other after both wanted to go alternative directions across the other's path.

"I was involved in plenty of hassling at the start of the heat 'cause there's perfect peaks and you can go right or left," explained Redman-Carr. "Ultimately you don't want the other person to go the other way and get a better score than yours, so it comes down to some tactics in a three person heat. No one enjoys it, as it's intense and stressful."

Current ratings #8 Keala Kennelly (Haw) won the opening heat against last WCT winner Megan Abubo (Haw) and four-time world champion Lisa Andersen (USA). The Hawaiian, who won her favorite event in Tahiti earlier this year, made the most of inconsistent conditions to pick off the most waves, including an 8.0 to ultimately win the best single wave count back between herself and Abubo.

"In the beginning I was thinking there were going to be some more sets," explained Kennelly. "After about 10-minutes I realized I better just catch anything and was chasing waves back and forth, and just got lucky to get that 8.0 at the end."

Neridah Falconer (Aus) amassed the second best single and combined two-wave total of the round with a 9.25 and tally of 17.25-points. The Australian dominated the high scoring heat against Heather Clark (SAfr) and Jacqueline Silva (Brz), despite some controversy surrounding the start of their match. Initially they opted not to paddle out due to very inconsistent conditions, but after a restart, the 30-minute bout unfolded with some great rides.

"We wanted to wait a half hour and it did upset the organizers," explained Falconer. "But it got a little more consistent and the girls were happy to actually compete in a heat, instead of having to fight for waves. The conditions became nice, so I'm happy we were able to surf some good waves. It's been awhile since the women have had quality surf in a heat."

Continuing the Aussie domination of round one was WCT newcomers Chelsea Georgeson and Samantha Cornish. Georgeson defeated current #3 Lynette Mackenzie and 1993 world champ Pauline Menczer (both Aus), while Cornish overcame a tube riding Maria 'Tita' Tavares (Brz) and Kate Skarratt (Aus).

2001 World Qualifying Series (WQS) winner Jacqueline Silva (Brz) went on to post the highest combined total of the day during her 'losers' round two clash this afternoon. The Brazilian posted a 9.5 and then a 9.25 for a collective tally of 18.75-points, following her strong backhand attack on the left-handers. Meanwhile wildcard Mulanovich secured her advancement into round three with a second placing, eliminating Menczer in third.

"I fell so good as the waves have started to come," said Silva. "I had some really fun ones. In my first heat I was a little bit nervous 'cause the girls stopped the contest, so I didn't do my best in the heat. I relaxed for that second one and surfed well.

"Any heat is hard," she continued, of her tough opponents. "Sofia is young and surfs really well now, and Pauline is so experienced. I was just lucky to find some good lefts."

Four-time world champion Lisa Andersen (USA) proved the days' biggest upset, losing both the first round and then her second elimination heat. Kate Skarratt (Aus) emerged in front, with fellow Australian Amee Donohoe (Aus) also progressing through the day's final match.

Quiksilver, in association with Ocean Surf Report, has set up a Hotline that will inform the public about which contest site has been chosen for the day. This will be effective as of 8am every morning, on: +33-(0)-892-681-360, then press #1.

Official results of the Roxy Pro France round one (1st, 2nd > Rnd 3; 3rd > Rnd 2)
H1: Keala Kennelly (Haw) 12.0; Megan Abubo (Haw) 12.0; Lisa Andersen (USA) 10.6
H2: Neridah Falconer (Aus) 17.25; Heather Clark (SAfr) 15.75; Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 14.5
H3: Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 14.8; Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 8.0; Serena Brooke (Aus) 7.25
H4: Layne Beachley (Aus) 18.0; Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 14.75; Amee Donohoe (Aus) 11.35
H5: Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 15.65; Lynette MacKenzie (Aus) 11.35; Pauline Menczer (Aus) 11.0
H6: Samantha Cornish (Aus) 16.7; Maria Tavares (Brz) 16.2; Kate Skarratt (Aus) 10.6

Upcoming round two heats in the Roxy Pro France (1st, 2nd > Rnd 3; 3rd=17th & receives US$2,000)
H1: Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 18.75; Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 16.55; Pauline Menczer (Aus) 15.0
H2: Kate Skarratt (Aus) 12.5; Amee Donohoe (Aus) 11.75; Lisa Andersen (USA) 5.85

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