DURBAN, South Africa (Wednesday, 4 July, 2007) – A strong international field dominated proceedings during the first round of the Women`s 5-Star ASP World Qualifying Series Mr Price Pro, which kicked off at Durban`s New Pier this morning.

As good 1 – 1.5 meter waves peeled between the piers of Durban`s Golden Mile, it was the phenomenal surfing from Argentina’s Ornella Pellizzari that turned heads.

Performing a series of critical floaters and tight in the pocket snaps, Pellizzari`s deadly backhand attack earned her a near perfect 9.00 point ride (out of a possible 10.00), which combined with a 6.77 back- up score, formed the highest two wave heat total of the event so far, a 15.77 (out of a possible 20.00).

“This is only the second event I have surfed this year. I surfed a 1- Star in California, and I was very stoked to win that because I am doing the tour without any sponsors,” Italian-Argentinian Pellizzari said. “This is the biggest event I have surfed, and it was great to get such high scores because I feel more comfortable now.”

Pellizzari defeated Australian Sally Fitzgibbons who, despite posting a good 7.83 ride, remained in second place for most of the heat.

ASP WQS World No. 46 Erina Taniguchi (Japan) produced the perfect combination of speed and flow, posting an excellent 8.00 point ride (out of a possible 10.00) for a series of radical off the tops, followed by a controlled floater, to defeat Penny Robarts (Somerset West) and Bronwyn Coote (Durban).

Sarah Baum (Warner Beach) and National Junior Team member Chantelle Rautenbach (Melkbosstrand) were the only two South African heat winners, Baum defeating Danielle le Roux (Durban) and Tarryn Chudleigh (Kommetjie) to advance in to the Round of 48; while Rautenbach advanced ahead of Charlotte Caton (France) and Lynne Mackey (Westville).

Other surfers to advance where Hawaii`s Paige Alms and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton (Hawaii), Mizuki Hagiwara (Japan) and Nicole Annells (Warner Beach).

The Women`s event continues tomorrow (Thursday) with the top seeds taking to the water in the Round of 48 at approximately 13h50.

The Mr Price Pro Women`s event holds a prize money purse of R175 000 and includes nearly 70 Women from the world`s leading surfing nations.

The Mr Price Pro forms part of the Durban Beach Festival and is being broadcast live on the webcast at

An interview with Mr Price Pro Junior winner Klee Strachan

18-year old Klee Strachan took out the Mr Pice Pro Junior in fine form yesterday, catching the most waves in the heat and rising above a strong contingent of our country``s top juniors to claim the R4000 cheque and the honour of being seeded directly into the Round of 144 in the main event later this week. Craig Ritchie caught up with the powerful natural footer for a quick chat after his win.

Tasha Mentasti
Age: 26
From: Durban North

Stacey Guy
Age: 23
From: Melkbos

Gary van Wieringen
Age: 33
From: Durban

Lungani Memani
Age: 18
From: Port Alfred

Stephen Jake Friedman
Age: 21
From: Umhlanga, Durban

Tammy Lee Smith
Age: 21
From: Chakas Rock, Balitto