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MacKenzie wins 2002 ROXY PRO


Snapper Rocks, QLD, Australia (Sunday, March 24th) Lynette MacKenzie (Aus) today defeated Jacqueline Silva (Brz) to win the US$60,000 Roxy Pro and take an early lead on the World Championship Tour (WCT) ratings. A superb backside attack proved too strong for her Brazilian counterpart, as the Australian returned to prominence after five years between major victories.

Perfect 4-5 ft (1.5m) waves at Snapper Rocks provided the ideal canvass for state of the art women's surfing, with spectators vocally acknowledging their appreciation.

MacKenzie, 27, racked up a series of high scoring rides from the onset, putting the pressure immediately on Silva. She continued to dominate throughout the 30-minute decider, earning with conviction her first WCT win since 1997. Having finished 2001 rated 13th, and runner-up to Silva on the World Qualifying Series (WQS), today's result already makes her a serious world title contender this year.

"I'm so happy right now," said MacKenzie on the water's edge, surrounded by media. "Over the moon and don't know what to think? I just figured I was in the final, and with only one other girl out at Snapper, I was happy just to catch waves and have fun. It paid off in the end.

"I'm a bit older and maybe more mature than previous years," she continued. "The last three or four years on tour I've kind of been there just to make up numbers and haven't actually done anything. I've got no pressure on me whatsoever. Just like all the young girls on tour now, I'll be going out to have fun and enjoy myself."

Silva, in her first WCT final, waited too patiently before getting scores on the board. The 22-year-old's fluid style proved well suited to the long right-handers, but she left the charge too late, requiring a combination of rides totally 10.06-points when it was over.

"I didn't catch any good waves, but I am really happy to have made the final," said Silva. "Second place is a good result for me. Lynette surfed well, and has a really strong backside, so congratulations to her."

Finishing equal third today in the Roxy Pro were Australians Chelsea Georgeson and Kate Skarratt. Newcomer Georgeson appeared the dark-horse after her performances yesterday, but against Silva in this morning's first semifinal, only managed one decent score and was 13.15-points off the mark. Despite paddling into great waves, the 18-year-old ultimately fell too often after the critical airdrops.

"I just had a shocker," admitted Georgeson. "I don't know what happened, I just nose-dived every wave. It's a shame cause there were really good ones, but I blew them.

"I would have loved to have made the final, but oh well, next time," she added. "It's a good first result and I'm looking forward to the other contests."

Skarratt, 29, who finished 12th in 2001 to secure the last re-qualifying spot through the WCT, kicked off her 2002 campaign more focused. Against MacKenzie during the second semifinal she displayed great backhand surfing, but failed to find the same quality rides as her opponent.

"My wave selection wasn't as good as Lynette and she was ripping," said Skarratt. "I felt really good, but was out of rhythm. It was still fun out there, though, and semifinals are a good result. I can't complain about that and it's definitely a good start to the year."

Four-time (1987, '89, '91 & '92) world champion Wendy Botha, now a resident of nearby Burleigh Heads, was also on hand to watch the finals today. The South African born Australian citizen offered her opinion of the action, the young push of fresh talent on tour, as well as the possibility of either Layne Beachley (Aus) or Lisa Andersen (USA) bettering the record they, together with Frieda Zamba (USA), already have.

"It's been pretty impressive," began Botha. "I'd like to think that I could surf well, but jeez, there's a lot of young girls and they don't look like they have any nerves or anything. They get out there and just go for it. It's been great to watch, and I think the level is definitely up.

"Records are there to be broken," she added, in regard to a fifth world title. "I'd like to have a go myself, but if you can't be 100 percent... I love my family and I quite enjoy not having to be on the tour. I hope one of them (Beachley or Andersen) do it. They both are so deserving, as they work really hard. It'd be great."

Official Results of the Roxy Pro Final Day
1st Lynette MacKenzie (Aus) - US$10,000
2nd Jacqueline Silva (Brz) - US$6,000
3rd Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) &
Kate Skarratt (Aus) - US$4,000

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