ASSOCIATION OF SURFING PROFESSIONALS (ASP) INTERNATIONAL
Billabong Girls Pro Brazil
Praia da Tiririca, Itacaré, Bahia-Brazil
Aug 21-28, 2006
COOLANGATTA, Australia (August 15, 2006) –Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) may be three for three this season, but she’s also had three long months to dwell on the fact that seventeen other combatants, former six-time world champ Layne Beachley (AUS) among them, are eager to see her bow out early in the upcoming Billabong Girls Pro Brazil.
Running at Pria de Itacaré in Bahia, Brazil from August 21-28, 2006, the Billabong Girls Pro Brazil is the fourth of eight events on the 2006 ASP Women’s World Tour and the first elite-tour tournament since May.
If Redman-Carr is feeling any kind of pressure to extend her ratings lead and ultimately win her first world title (nine years after first qualifying for the ASP Women’s World Tour) she’s not showing it.
“This feels very good,” Redman-Carr says of her current undefeated status. “I am proud of myself and looking forward to the upcoming events. I’ve been surfing lots of different types of breaks as well as walking , jogging and doing yoga and I’m really looking forward to Brazil – the weather, the fresh exotic fruits and the exuberance of the people.”
The event marks the ASP Women’s World Tour’s triumphant return to South America after a six-year absence. Though this is the eighth time the tour will visit Brazil, this is the first time the event will be held in a location other than Rio de Janeiro. Brazilians Jacqueline Silva and Silvana Lima as well as Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich could have the upper hand.
“I think Jacqueline, Silvana and Sofia will be the biggest threats there,” Redman-Carr said. “They’re all very at home in South American surf and are fired up to win the first event over there in years.”
Redman-Carr makes no mention of Beachley, though the current world No. 2 (who came runner-up to Redman-Carr in Australia and Fiji and finished third in Tahiti) is currently her closest competition. Both surfers are tour veterans asserting that, despite an abundance of raw talent displayed by the up-and-comers, experience and competitive savvy are an asset on tour.
"This three month break has given Mel plenty of time to psyche up and prepare for the remainder of the season,” Beachley, who is currently organizing an ASP Women’s World Tour event of her own, said. “But there are still five events to go and with two good results in the following events in Brazil and France, I know I can put a lot more pressure on her leading into Sydney and Hawaii. The season if far from over!"
The women will travel to France immediately following the Billabong Girls Pro Brazil and then head to Beachley’s Sydney event in October.
"Working on the Havaianas Beachley Classic has impaired my preparation somewhat but saying that, I am still feeling very confident and thrilled to be going back to my 'real' job, Beachley said. "I am really looking forward to travelling back to Brazil, it has been about five or six years since we competed in Rio, but we are now chartering new waters this year. The women have never competed in an event in Itacaré and I hear it is absolutely beautiful. I am also excited about escaping the Sydney winter and heading somewhere warm!”
The Billabong Girls Pro Brazil will follow a five-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event running at the same location from August 17-20. Many of the elite-tour surfers will contest the qualifying series contest to get back in the swing of things.
Read on for a complete list of FAST FACTS on the Billabong Girls Pro Brazil:
The Billabong Girls Pro in Brazil is event four of eight on the 2006 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Tour. It is also the first women’s World Championship Tour (WCT) event to be held in Brazil since 1999.
The stand-alone women’s world tour was separated from the men’s in 2001 and currently features eight top tier events around the world.
2006 will be the maiden year of the Billabong Girls Pro in Brazil. The Billabong Girls Pro also incorporates a five star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event, held from August 17-20th at the same location.
The Billabong Girls Pro five star WQS will run August 17th-20th 2006. The Billabong Girls Pro World Championship Tour event will run from August 21st-28th 2006.
Itacaré is located in the cocoa zone of the state of Bahia, south of Salvador, 70 km north of Ilhéus. It is in Itacaré that the Contas River, which comes from the Chapada Diamantina, meets the ocean.
Bahia is in the north of Brazil, approximately a 1.5-hour flight from Sao Paulo. Praia (Beach) da Tiririca is a small beach of about 80m in length with a fresh water stream running directly from the forest into the ocean.
Itacaré is situated in a region of the Bahian coast where the continental shelf shrinks to a mere 8 miles from shore (a mere “what” 8 miles from shore), allowing the arrival of ocean waves on the coast with consistency, good impact and unbeatable force.
Surfing in Brazil is not a pastime but a lifestyle, with passionate spectators flocking to the area to support the best surfers in the world. Surfing is the fifth largest sport in Brazil, a country with a population of over 186 million people.
During the winter, from June to September, Itacaré receives successive cold fronts generating consistent swells between 1-3m (3 to 9 feet). During this time period, rain keeps the temperature around 19 and 24 Celsius degrees (66 to 75 Fahrenheit). In these months, Itacaré becomes an authentic surf city attracting surfers from all over Brazil.
The nearest domestic airport to Itacaré is at Ilhéus (IOS) and the closest international one is in Salvador (SSA). It is served by most major international air companies. There are daily flights to Ilhéus from Salvador and Sao Paulo by the Brazilian companies.
To get there by land, there is a new paved road (BA-001) that directly links Ilhéus to Itacaré following the coastline. The event will provide shuttle bus to athletes and press. At Ilhéus airport, it is possible to rent a car or get a taxi to Itacaré. There are also buses leaving daily from Ilhéus, from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM. The ticket costs about R$7 and takes 1h 40mins.
WHERE TO STAY
In Itacaré there are many alternatives for lodging, staying at luxurious hotels and resorts, in rooms and bungalows with ocean views and at simpler inns. Another alternative is the variety of houses for rent of diverse sizes. All these locations are very close to the beach by walk, bike or car. The prices per day vary from R$1000 (US$400) to R$ 50 (US$20) at the hotels and around R$20 (US$8) at camps.
Itacaré has a lot of restaurants and bars serving many kinds of drinks and excellent food. All of them are very cheap, around R$ 50 to R$ 15. There are 35 restaurants of typical Bahian food, fish, seafood and classic western food, 12 beach bars serving appetizers, 7 pizza bars, 15 fast food restaurants and 9 night bars with live music, DJ’s and capoeira shows around the city.
US$67,500 total. 1st place receives US$10,000 and 1,200 WCT points.
Six three-woman non-elimination round one heats, with 1st and 2nd progressing to Rd 3. Third placed surfer in round two is eliminated. Round three onwards feature woman-on-woman elimination heats.
The Billabong Girls Pro Brazil will feature the world’s top 17 full-time female touring professional surfers. A full list of all the WCT women’s profiles are available on www.aspworldtour.com.
WCT Ratings Leader Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS): Melanie Redman-Carr may be soft-spoken, but her surfing speaks volumes. And it approaches downright deafening when the swell jacks up to be double overhead. Redman-Carr really comes into her own in the powerful swells in Hawaii and Fiji, courtesy of hours logged in surfing heavy West Australian waters back home. But don't underestimate her in any conditions, this veteran has a decade’s worth of top tour experience to draw from
So far in 2006, Redman-Carr has won three from three events on the ASP Women’s World Tour, currently holding a staggering 900-point lead over her closest rival Layne Beachley (AUS). Seemingly destined to make 2006 her world title year, the usual favorites will have to stop the unsponsored Redman-Carr at the Billabong Girls Pro Brazil before the title is stitched up.
Defending World Champion Chelsea Georgeson (AUS): Chelsea Georgeson, the always grinning goofy-footer from the Gold Coast of Australia was destined to become a world champion from a young age. And in 2005 her destiny became a reality. Her amazing attitude, athletic prowess and glaring passion for her chosen profession are just a few reasons why Mrs. Georgeson is more than deserving of the sport's highest honor.
"Chels" might emanate an easy-going grace and carefree attitude, but there’s nothing laid back about the focus, drive and talent she exudes in the lineup. Morphing from the gifted grom who caught the eye of four-time world champion Lisa Andersen while she was scratching into shorebeaks at Avalon in Sydney, to female surfing’s newest superstar, 22-year-old Georgeson’s domination of the sport has only just begun.
The Brazilian Rookie Silvana Lima: At 22, this progressive regular-foot from Sao Paulo, Brazil is being touted a serious world title threat, and for good reason. Announcing her arrival with a staggering victory at the 2005 Body Glove Surfabout at Trestles in California, Lima linked together enough results to find herself sitting at No. 6 on the World Qualifying Series at year's end - a feat that has found her on the 2006 ASP Women's World Tour.
Despite inexperience at the elite level, Silvana scored a perfect 10 on her first-ever top tour wave as a wildcard at the Billabong Pro Maui last December. Boasting an aggressive style of surfing on par with the power and speed of most men, watch Silvana to score big once she gains experience in the big league.
HISTORY OF THE ASP WOMEN’S WORLD TOUR IN BRAZIL
1977: Waimea Pro - Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Winner: Margo Oberg (AUS) / Prize Money: US$1,500]
1992: Alternativa Surf International - Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Winner: Wendy Botha (ZAF) / Prize Money: US$20,000]
1993: Alternativa Surf International - Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, [Winner: Neridah Falconer / Prize Money: US$25,000]
1994: Alternativa Surf International - Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Winner: Pauline Menczer (AUS) / Prize Money: US$25,000]
1997: Kaiser Summer Surf - Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Winner: Pauline Menczer (AUS) / Prize Money: US$30,000]
1998: Marathon Surf International - Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Winner: Pauline Menczer (AUS) / Prize Money: US$40,000]
1999: Marathon Surf International - Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Winner: Andrea Lopes (BRA) / Prize Money: US$30,000]
2006: Billabong Girls Pro Brazil, Praia da Tiririca, Itacare, Bahia, Brazil, [Winner: TBD / Prize Money: US$67,500]