Torquay, VIC/AUS (Tuesday, January 7, 2014) – In good onshore waves at Bells Beach it was victory for the determined veteran and emerging youngster as Australian surfers Nathan Hedge and Stephanie Single respectively won the Men’s and Women’s Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Piping Hot Surf Festival 1-Star Qualifying Series divisions. The Pro Junior divisions saw Byron Bay’s Soli Bailey and the Sunshine Coast’s Keely Andrew claim top honours capping off an exciting finals day at Bells Beach.
Hedge has been one of the most famous and formidable surfers on the ASP World Tour for 15 years and his determination and enthusiasm seems as strong, if not stronger than ever.
“I was inspired by Australian tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt’s recent win! He’s such a fighter and has a never say die approach to sport and a belief he can beat the best like he did the other day knocking out Rodger Federer in a final and I’m similar – I believe I can keep going and re-qualify this year on the elite ASP World Championship Tour,” said 34-year-old Hedge who has been an ASP World top ten surfer and World Championship Tour finalist during his colourful career.
“I’ve admired Hewitt all my sporting career with posters on my wall in the early years and right now I feel ready for an amazing year of ASP surfing. The Piping Hot Surf Festival at Bells has been great and it’s good to win down here,” Hedge added.
Hedge scored multiple outstanding 9-point-rides on the final day and finished the Final with a healthy 16.00 out of a possible 20 to defeat Nic Squeirs who had been a stand-out all event. Squires also posted multiple excellent 8-point-plus rides on the final day and threw himself right in contention to win when he found an 8.25 ride late in the final, but was unable to find another strong score and was forced to settle for 2nd place.
A close Piping Hot Surf Festival women’s QS Final saw 18-year-old Lennox Head surfer Stephanie Single take a narrow victory over WA’s Laura Macauley. In a see-sawing, lead changing Final Single found a decisive 9-point-ride in the final five minutes to take the win.
“I’ve just recovered from an ankle injury and I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to compete a week ago,” Single said. “So to come and actually win feels amazing. The waves have been good despite the freezing weather and strong winds and we’ve all really enjoyed competing on the first event of the ASP 2014 season – It feels special to win this opening event.”
Today’s conditions at Bells were much better for the crowds and surfers with sunshine and a moderating onshore wind and pulsing 1.25 meter (4-feet) surf.
The Men’s and Women’s Pro Junior divisions were run after the open finals and both were tightly contested. Soli Bailey defeated Piping Hot Surf Festival Pro Junior dark-horse Elliot Paerata-Reid from New Zealand. Bailey’s win was accompanied by a Semifinal finish in the 1-Star QS division and sets him up for what should be a very promising 2014 season, while Paerata-Reid’s second placing highlighted his potential. The Piha beach surfer from NZ’s north island consistently displayed a powerful yet smooth approach and he eliminated plenty of high seeds throughout this event.
Keely Andrew defeated Grace Styman-Lane in the women’s Pro Junior final with an impressive display of powerful, carving surfing today. Andrew finished second place at the opening Pro Junior in Cronulla in September at the first event of the 13/14 ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series and now backed that up with a first here at the Piping Hot Surf Festival and has proven she’s the one to beat this season.
For more information log on to www.PipingHotSurfFestival.com
Piping Hot Surf Festival Results: (Australian unless otherwise stated)
Men’s 1-Star QS Final: 1st Nathan Hedge (16.00) Def. 2nd Nic Squeirs (14.25)
Women’s 1-Star QS Final: 1st Stephanie Single (15.25) Def. 2nd Laura Macaulay (13.00)
Men’s Pro Junior Final: 1st Soli Bailey (13.50) Def. 2nd Elliot Paerata-Reid (NZL) (11.10)
Women’s Pro Junior Final: Keely Andrew (11.50) def. 2nd Grace Styman-Lane (10.75)
The Piping Hot Surf Festival is presented by the Victorian Government, Surfing Victoria, ASP Australasia and supported by Coastalwatch PLUS, K-Rock, Target and Team Up.