BIARRITZ, France (Thursday, July 11, 2007) –The first heat of the day saw last year’s semifinalist and local surfer Claire Karabatsos take a relaxed approach and progress through the first of the event’s sudden death, one on one, heats.
“I wasn’t nervous, I was just enjoying the experience,” Karabatsos said. “My local spot is Biarritz Grande Plage, just around the corner, so I come to surf here often. I love it. The waves, the backdrop of the mountains. So it was good to wake up and just go surfing.”
Karabatsos has a simple, uncluttered approach to surfing and doesn’t change it when she is surfing in competition, even if it is the biggest of the year, like the Roxy ASP WWLC.
“I’m relaxed, you know –it is easy.” Karabatsos said. “You wait for the hooter and you just surf and then when the hooter goes again, you stop surfing. That is all there is to it really.”
This laidback approach proved effective as she overcome Tory Gilkerson (USA) to advance to Round 3. In contrast in style, if not effect, was another event favourite Kassia Meador’s progression through to Round 3.
“I was definitely nervous,” Meador said. “Especially surfing against Kelly Sloan (USA) who I know from back home and who’s definitely beaten me a couple a times in contests.”
“I was just trying to stay calm and not think too much about it, because I can get into my head way too easily and once I start thinking about things I can unravel. Last night I was trying not to worry about it go and watch some live music and hang out. It was almost better just to get it over with early this morning and not stress in the corner all day.”
Despite the nerves, Meador surfed as stylishly and as controlled as ever and easily won her heat.
“I’m stoked I made it,” Meador said, “and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
Another surfer whose performance pushed her into favourite contention was Chelsea Williams (AUS). The small naturalfooter has had an incredible competitive run lately, winning the last four professional events she has entered in Australia, and today kept the run going with the day’s highest heat score, a 15.75 out of a possible 20.00.
“Yes, I’ve won pretty much everything I’ve gone in lately,” Williams said. “But the standard over here is much, much higher, the best in the world, so I’m just taking it heat by heat.”
Williams, whose local wave is the freight train barrels of the Gold Coast’s Superbank, had to deal with quite different conditions here in Biarritz. “Yeah, the waves were pretty slow and fat, but at least it was nice and clean.”
Another surfer forced to adapt to changing conditions to succeed was Miku Uemura (HAW), whose heat score of 13.00 was too much for her opponent Cristiana Peres (BRA).
“I was super nervous actually,” said Uemura who hails from a famous Hawaiian surf family, but also has Japanese citizenship.
“I’ve just been surfing the Japanese shortboard circuit, so I haven’t ridden my longboard for a while,” Uemura said. “But I scored that fun wave and it felt good. I’m so stoked to still be in the competition.”
Halfway through the afternoon a rising high tide forced organisers to postpone the competition. The last three heats of Round 2 are scheduled to be recommencing at about 6.00pm local time this evening.
By that stage many of today’s loser’s, eliminated from the premier women’s longboarding event in the world, will have one eye on the night’s festivities. Brazilian punk pop pranksters CSS are lined up tonight, just one of the many gigs, art shows and celebrations that are being held in conjunction with the Roxy Jam.
For the rest of the surfers still involved in the competition, the celebrations will have to wait. They are still in the running for the Roxy ASP WWLC and with more waves predicted and all the big guns still in contention, they know both the pressure and level of surfing is about to be cranked right up.
Roxy ASP WWLC Round 2 Match-Ups – 1st to Round 3, 2nd eliminated
Heat 14: Kirsty Webster (AUS) vs. Myriam Imaz (SPN)
Heat 15: Summer Romero (USA) vs. Gaelle Szymkowiak (FRA)
Heat 16: Angela Bauer (BRA) vs. Helene Chabeaud (FRA)
Roxy ASP WWLC Round 2 Results – 1st to Round 3, 2nd eliminated
Heat 1: Claire Karabatsos (FRA) 10.90 def. Tory Gilkerson (USA) 7.75
Heat 2: Kassia Meador (USA) 12.75 def. Kelly Sloan (USA) 7.20
Heat 3: Janna Irons (HAW) 13.50 def. Malia Fuertes (USA) 6.05
Heat 4: Chelsea Williams (AUS) 15.75 def. Kelly Coward (USA) 7.25
Heat 5: Ashley Lloyd (USA) 11.00 def. Jenni Flanigan (USA) 9.00
Heat 6: Selby Riddle (AUS) 10.15 def. Caroline Angibeaud (FRA) 5.30
Heat 7: Coline Menard (FRA) 13.25 def. Rosie Locke (AUS) 4.75
Heat 8: Melanie Fosse (FRA) 13.50 def. Lindsay Steiniede (USA) 9.75
Heat 9: Claire Dereux (FRA) 14.75 def. Clemence Godinaud (FRA) 8.35.
Heat 10: Cristiana Pires (BRA) 10.35 def. Hanalei Reponty (TAH) 5.20
Heat 11: Julie Cox (USA) def. Marie Vigne (FRA) inj
Heat 12: Miku Uemura 13.00 (HAW) def. Candice O’Donnell (GBR) 7.25
Heat 13: Karina Abras (BRA) 9.10 def. Nathalie Destandau (FRA) 4.90