COOLANGATTA, Australia (Saturday, Sept. 22, 2007)- The ASP Women's World Tour enters the home straight next month, which will see the world's Top 17 Women dip into the richest winnings pool on the top tier tour at the NAB Beachley Classic. The event will be held at Manly Beach, Sydney, Australia from October 9-14, 2007.
The brainchild of 7X ASP World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS), the second annual NAB Beachley Classic holds a prize money purse of US$100,000 as well as a 20% increase in ASP ratings points, making it the most lucrative stop on tour.
With just three events remaining on the 2007 competition calendar, the Manly event will prove pivotal in this year's World Title race.
"The prize money is obviously a fantastic plus but it will be the bonus ASP ratings on offer that could make or break a girl's standing," Beachley said. "With the top four girls so close on the ratings, this event could produce some of the fiercest surfing we'll see on tour all year."
Securing a new sponsor in the form of National Australia Bank, Beachley who is currently rated World No. 7, has achieved her goal of exposing women's surfing to a mass market.
"This event has been one of the biggest challenges of my life," Beachley admitted. "I am really grateful for all the support and interest from our new sponsor and I feel proud that with the help of NAB, I have been able to put an event of consequence on the ASP Women's World Tour."
Defending NAB Classic Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) who won the event as a wildcard in 2006, enters the event as a top tier surfer for the first time this year, rated World No. 4.
Gilmore spent the majority of 2007 as the ASP ratings leader, losing her World No. 1 spot to Samantha Cornish (AUS) at the ASP Women's World Tour event held in Spain last month. Following her win at Manly last year, Gilmore will be riding a wave of confidence as she sets out to recapture the ratings lead at the next event.
"Winning my second ASP World Tour event as a wildcard at Manly last year was a real boost for me," Gilmore said. "I always feel comfortable in places I've performed well at before, so I'm really looking forward to what Manly will produce for us and I'll be using last year's experience to my advantage."
Should Gilmore take top honors in Sydney for the second year running, the ASP World Tour rookie will have a 20 percent boost over her rivals on the ASP ratings, which would take the edge off going into Hawaii.
"I think if anyone in the top four gets a win and breaks away from the pack, the additional points will make it difficult to catch up," Gilmore said. "For the leader it's an ideal position to be in and hopefully that's going to be me."
Current World No. 1 Samantha Cornish (AUS) has a 12-point lead over World No. 2 Silvana Lima (BRA) going into this event and although the diminutive Australian surfer has enjoyed her time in the sun recently (winning in Brazil and reaching the Semifinals in Spain), Cornish is well aware her ratings lead is under threat.
"We're all super close on the ratings right now so I am not getting ahead of myself," Cornish said. "I really want to win but I know it will come down to Hawaii, so I am just remembering to have fun and take it one heat at a time."
The NAB Beachley Classic kicks off with the Oakley Wildcard Trials on Monday October 8, 2007 when one lucky surfer will have the opportunity to compete against the World's Top 17 female surfers in this ASP Women's World Tour event.
The event waiting period extends from October 9- 14, 2007 and needs just two full days of surfing to be completed.