COOLANGATTA, Australia (Sunday, Feb. 25, 2007) – The world’s best surfers swapped wetsuits for gowns and formal wear last night to attend the 25th Annual Foster’s ASP World Champions Crowning held at Conrad Jupiter’s Casino on the Gold Coast of Australia.
Professional surfing’s superstars, both past and present, turned out in force for the red carpet affair.
Hawaiian Senator Fred Hemmings, who (along with Randy Rarick) founded the International Professional Surfers (IPS) which laid the framework for when ASP would takeover in 1983, made a special appearance at the event.
“Thirty years ago, Randy Rarick and I knew where we wanted to go, but we didn’t know how to get there,” Hemmings said. “I have to tell you we’re so thrilled to let you know we’re there. We were surfers with dreams. We dreamed that our sport would be respected in the pantheon of athletics, dreamed that our sport would be healthy and vibrant, that our athletes would be respected. Layne Beachley and Kelly Slater, and all the surfers on tour, I want to tell you that you are our dreams.”
Eight-time Foster’s ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) took center stage for their official crowning as king and queen of the sport, with both champions imparting insightful words to the 600-strong audience.
“Two of my very good friends, Sunny Garcia and Rob Machado, very narrowly lost world titles when I won them, and no matter how great it was to me at that time, it was so bittersweet,” Slater said. “Contests are fun though, and that’s why we’re all here – this is what’s bringing us together. Without these competitions, we wouldn’t have these friends, we wouldn’t have these experiences, we wouldn’t have these wins and losses and be able to experience such highs and lows in life and see such broad pictures.”
Beachley, who encouraged fellow world champion Slater to continue his competitive tenure, was also gracious and humble despite achieving what few other female athletes in sport have accomplished.
“I feel grateful and very honored to be able to call surfing my profession,” Beachley said. “I am overwhelmed with the fact that I was able to come back and win a seventh world title, and ultimately, I want to thank surfing for giving us the life that we all have and we all share. I’m just thankful for my job and I look forward to an incredibly competitive season this year.”
Runner-up awards were bestowed upon Andy Irons (HAW) and Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) for the Foster’s ASP World Tour and ASP Women’s World Tour respectively.
Other award winners included ASP Men’s World Junior Champion Jordy Smith (ZAF), ASP Women’s World Junior Champion Nicola Atherton (AUS), ASP Women’s World Tour Rookie of the Year Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) and Foster’s ASP World Tour Rookie of the Year Bobby Martinez (USA).
The inaugural Peter Whitaker award, an honor given to the individual who displays exemplary poise and selflessness in service to the sport of surfing, went to 2006 Foster’s ASP World Tour rookie Pancho Sullivan (HAW).
Retiring surfers Jake Paterson (AUS), Peterson Rosa (BRA) and Trudy Todd (AUS) were also recognized for their commendable careers on the ASP’s elite tours.
The Foster’s ASP World Champion’s Crowing Honourees included:
• Foster’s ASP World Tour Champion – Kelly Slater (AUS)
• Foster’s ASP World Tour Runner Up – Andy Irons (HAW)
• ASP Women’s World Tour Champion – Layne Beachley (AUS)
• ASP Women’s World Tour Runner-Up – Melanie Redman Carr (AUS)
• ASP Men’s World Junior Champion – Jordy Smith (ZAF)
• ASP Women’s World Junior Champion – Nicola Atherton (AUS)
• Foster’s ASP World Tour Rookie of the Year – Bobby Martinez (USA)
• ASP Women’s World Tour Rookie of the Year – Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)
• Foster’s ASP World Tour Most Improved Surfer – Tim Reyes (USA)
• ASP Women’s World Tour Most Improved Surfer – Rebecca Woods (AUS)
• ASP Men’s World Longboard Champion – Josh Constable (AUS)
• ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion – Schuyler McFerran (USA)
• ASP World Qualifying Series #1 Ranked Man – Jeremy Flores (FRA)
• ASP World Qualifying Series #1 Ranked Woman – Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)