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Epic Showdown for Women's Surfing World Title


Queensland, Australia - The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) has officially granted four-time world champion Lisa Andersen (USA) a full season wildcard entry into the 2002 women's World Championship Tour (WCT). The stage is now set for an epic showdown between her and main rival Layne Beachley (Aus), who just secured her fourth consecutive crown in Hawaii late last year.

The ASP board granted Lisa's wildcard due to her status as a previous four-time world champion (1994-1997) and also because she has been a role model for the latest generation of women surfers.

Andersen, 32, didn't compete on the 2001 WCT as she gave birth to her second child, Mason, in June. "I never wanted to retire," Lisa said. "When I finished the tour in September 2000, I'd just won a WCT event in France and I was pretty much on top of everything - then I became pregnant. I really wanted to come back again and this was the best time for me. I was thinking maybe I could get a couple of wildcards through Roxy events and then I heard about Kelly (Slater) getting a full wildcard and thought it might be a good opportunity for me to apply for the same. I wouldn't want to do half a year anyway, because I'd want to give it my best and compete for the world title."

The managing director of Quiksilver International, Bruce Raymond, said: "It's an extraordinary challenge that Lisa has set herself. As far as I know, returning to the WCT after having a second child is a first. I have no doubt Lisa will take on this task with great aplomb. "Being one of the greatest women surfers of all time, I have no doubt the entire women's tour will benefit greatly from Lisa's participation, regardless of her final standing."

After the birth of Mason seven months ago, Andersen feels she has made a full return to her surfing form and she is looking forward to testing her skills against the current female surfers on tour, as well as rekindling her long-standing rivalry with current world champion Beachley.

Andersen's resolve to win a fifth world title was reinforced in 2001 when Beachley equaled her previous record of four consecutive world crowns.

Praise for Lisa's return was echoed by the President of ASP, Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, "It's great to have Lisa back in 2002. I think it adds a lot of color to the women's tour. Lisa was the first woman to win four consecutive world titles, now Layne has won four in a row so that showdown within the tour is fantastic - not to mention the challenges from the new additions to the tour like Australians Chelsea Georgeson, Samantha Cornish and Amee Donohoe, as well as the established surfers like Megan Abubo, Rochelle Ballard (both Hawaiian) and this year's runner-up, Melanie Redman (Aus)."

"Lisa announcing her comeback at the same time as Kelly Slater has sparked a great deal of global interest and collectively this augurs well for the future," Bartholomew said. Lisa's first appearance on the 2002 women's WCT will be at the Roxy Pro on Australia's Gold Coast, from March 18-24.

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