Bartels sings her way to victory at the Mr Price Pro
Durban, South Africa - Surfing to the sound of her favourite song in her head, twenty-three-year old Hawaiian Melanie Bartels, brought music to the waves at Durban�s North Beach, to became the new women�s Mr Price Pro Champion.
Bartels sat patiently beside her fellow World Championship Tour competitor Laurina McGrath (AUS), selectively picking off the waves she needed.
With enviable control and unparalleled style, Bartels scored two six plus rides for her lightening snaps and expressive cutbacks in the less than optimal conditions. McGrath failed to score more than a 4.0.
�The current was really pulling us and the waves weren�t breaking like they usually do,� explained the new Champion. �You had to be picky with which wave you went for. It was anybody�s ball game out there.�
Currently rated 17th on the World Championship tour, the win for Bartels earns her R24 000 (US$ 4000) and significant World Qualifying Series ratings points. Points, which will add towards solidifying her place in the top six to requalify fro the WCT in 2005.
�This is the farthest place in the world that we could possibly go to for a contest, but I''''m really happy to be here. I went into the ASP office earlier to find out which trophy was the one for the women. When I saw it I was like yeah- that�s what I want!� smiled Bartles.
McGrath complemented Bartel�s win as a tough competitor, who did well to hold off the very determined Brazilian Silvana Lima in the semi finals, with two solid scoring rides.
�Mel was ripping- she is one of my favourite surfers. It�s really cool surfing against her and she�s pretty mellow in the water. She�s an amazing surfer and that showed today.�
Earlier in the day saw four South African�s Heather Clark (Port Shepstone), Tamarys de Marroussem (Westbrook), Tammy Lee Smith (Salt Rock) and Roseanne Hodge (EL) reduced to De Marroussem and Smith who finished in the quarterfinals.
But it was world number six and Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) and Bartels who erased South Africa�s chances for a title. Carr being the next to fall to Bartel�s campaign for the women�s trophy in the semifinals.
The Pro Junior event got off to an action packed start as a curtain raiser to the women�s final in a battle of continents. Two of South Africa�s finest, Smith and Hodge featured against American Karina Petroni and Hawaiian Lailani Gryde.
Determined to take the junior title after falling out of the main event early on, the tall American wasted no time in impressing crowds with long floaters and charitable turns.
Scoring an excellent ride 8.33 Petroni to claim the Pro Junior Girls title and R3000, ahead of Smith who finished in second.
Big names have again been reduced in the six heats of the men�s round of 24 surfed today, Andy Irons being the foremost of the WCT men to be eliminated. Irons was eliminated by Brian Toth (Puerto Rico) and Paulo Moura (BRZ).
Sunday sees the Men�s round of 12 start the day�s proceedings at 09h00. The Pro Junior final will take place at 13H30 followed by the men�s final at 14h20.
Bruce Irons Age: 26 From: Kauai, Hawaii
Greg Emslie Age: 28 From: East London, South Africa