IMBITUBA, Brazil (Sunday, October 29, 2006) – Newly crowned eight-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) is one of five Foster's ASP World Tour surfers surrendering their spots in the Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong. The main event waiting period for this, the 10th of 11 stops on the Foster's ASP World Tour, starts tomorrow, October 30, 2006.

Slater, who earned his eighth ASP World Title in Mundaka earlier this month, was a last minute withdrawal from main event competition, but has hinted that he may make his way to Imbituba, Brazil to surf in the Foster's Expression Session and make good on his assorted media responsibilities.

His mother's upcoming wedding is one of several personal obligations Slater's recent title win has freed him to attend.

This marks the second 2006 tour event Slater will miss; the first being Fiji which he bowed out of due to a rib injury. Citing Slater's affinity for the last location on the '06 Tour calendar, Hawaii's Banzai Pipeline, it's widely expected that fans have not seen the last of the eight-time world champ this year.

Mark Occhilupo (AUS) and Pancho Sullivan (HAW) have also opted out of their Brazilian berths, both surfers indicating that impending childbirths would hinder their involvement in the Nova Schin Festival. Withdrawing due to injury are Australian Daniel Wills (ankle) and American Tim Reyes (knee).

Filling their spots will be Brazilian alternates Jihad Khodr, Odirlei Coutinho, Pedro Norberto, Bernardo Miranda and Leonardo Neves. In addition to the alternates, Nova Schin Festival wildcards Renato Galvao (BRA), Neco Padaratz (BRA) and Jean da Silva (BRA) will join Brazil's eight Foster's ASP World Tour regulars to bring the home country's Nova Schin Festival contingent to 16 – making Brazilians one-third of the field.

Fourteen of the 16 Round 1 heats will feature at least one Brazilian surfer. Accustomed to the small and peaky beach break conditions, the local contingent could cause a few upsets in Imbituba.

Logon to tomorrow to watch it all LIVE!

Round 1 Nova Schin Festival presented by Billabong Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Phil Macdonald (AUS); Nathan Hedge (AUS); Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 2: Taylor Knox (USA); Chris Ward (USA); Yuri Sodre (BRA)
Heat 3: Dean Morrison (AUS); Jake Patterson (AUS); Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 4: Tom Whitaker (AUS) Michael Lowe (AUS); Odirlei Coutinho (BRA)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA); Luke Stedman (AUS); Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 6: Damien Hobgood (USA); Victor Ribas (BRA); Bernardo Miranda (BRA)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS); Greg Emslie (ZAF); Renato Galvao (BRA)
Heat 8: Andy Irons (HAW); Travis Logie (ZAF); Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS); Frederick Pattachia (HAW); Pedro Norberto (BRA)
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS); Adriano de Souza (BRA); Jean da Silva (BRA)
Heat 11: Bruce Irons (HAW); Peterson Rosa (BRA); Toby Martin (AUS)
Heat 12: Bede Durbidge (AUS); Darren O'Rafferty (AUS); David Weare (ZAF)
Heat 13: Cory Lopez (USA); Paulo Moura (BRA); Pedro Henrique (BRA)
Heat 14: C.J. Hobgood (USA); Troy Brooks (AUS); Jarrad Howse (AUS)
Heat 15: Shaun Cansdell (AUS); Marcelo Nunes (BRA); Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 16: Trent Munro (AUS); Roy Powers (USA); Raoni Monteiro (BRA)

Nova Schin Festival Fast Facts

Event Name: Nova Schin Festival, presented by Billabong

Status: The Nova Schin Festival, presented by Billabong is the 10th of 11stops on the 2006 Foster's ASP World Tour and is South America's sole top tier tour event. The Foster's ASP World Tour crowns the men's professional surfing world champion.

Location: The Nova Schin Festival, presented by Billabong will be staged in Imbituba a punchy beach break offering left and right breaking waves. It is open to swell and regularly serves up quality waves.

Field: The Nova Schin Festival, presented by Billabong will feature 45 of the world's top touring professional male surfers and three event wildcards adding up to a total field of 48.

Duration: A total of four full days of competition is required to finalize the event but the tournament features a waiting period designed to capture the best possible conditions from October 30 through to November 15.

Format: 16 x three man non-elimination round one heats (1st>Rnd 3, 2nd & 3rd>Rnd
2). Round two onwards features man-on-man elimination heats.

Ratings points: The winner receives 1200 Foster's ASP World Tour ratings points.

Defending Champion: Damien Hobgood (USA) will be back to defend his crown after having a solid 2006 season. The likeable goofyfooter from Florida has claimed one win this year in Fiji and will be looking to finish with another victory here in Imbituba. He is currently ranked No. 7 in the world.

Contest Director: Recently retired Flavio Padaratz is one of the most successful surfers to emerge from Brazil. His list of triumphs include three Top 10 finishes on surfing's elite tour as well as two World Qualifying Series titles (1992 and '99).

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