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News provided by ASP World Tour on 25 February 2006

Former world champions Sofia Mulanovich (PER) and Layne Beachley (AUS) are anxious to jump-start their respective campaigns when the Roxy Pro presented by Samsung enters its official waiting period on Tuesday, February 28.

Both have emphasized, however, that they are looking forward to starting the year sans the pressure of being the reigning Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women’s World Tour champion – a pressure that will sit squarely on the shoulders of newly crowned Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) instead.

The official ASP World Champion’s Crowning takes place tonight Saturday, February 25 at the Gold Coast Convention Center and Mulanovich will officially pass the “torch” to Georgeson.

“I’m just going to try to surf my best and have fun,” said Mulanovich. “It was hard last year because I was so nervous about defending my title and getting results, so this year I really want to focus on having fun out there.”

Speaking on competing at the high-performance venue that is Snapper Rocks Mulanovich was wary given that she hasn’t faired particularly well there in the past.

“I’ve never done really well at Snapper,” Mulanovich said. “So it’d be nice to get a result this time round, but I’m just going to go out there, see what happens and have fun.”

Equally eager to enjoy herself in the water will be former six-time world champion Beachley, whose win at the 2003 Roxy Pro launched the campaign in which she claimed her last world title.

Beachley says that she may have felt some pressure to clinch her seventh ASP Women’s World Tour title in the two years since, but after overcoming a neck injury that has kept her out of the water for the past four and a half months, she’s happy just to be surfing.

“I’ve accomplished so much and I don’t really feel like I have anything to prove. I just want to have a good time and enjoy myself and my surfing,” Beachley said. “That said, I’m sort of the dark horse now and you never know what will happen.”

Entering the event with just one week of surfing under her belt since the mid-October of last year, Beachley may not be as prepared as she has been in the past, but she is hoping to rebuild her strength and gain momentum as the event goes on.

The neck injury could have potentially ended Beachley’s stellar career given that surgery could have been on the cards if she continued to push herself.

“I had to make a choice between rest or retirement. I chose rest,” Beachley said.

Featuring three different world champions in three years after a decade that saw Lisa Andersen clinch four consecutive world titles and then Beachley six, the ASP Women’s World Tour now hosts several world title hopefuls. These include rookies such as 2005 ASP World Junior Champ Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) and Brazil’s Silvana Lima among them.

“I’m pleased that there is so much depth of talent within the women’s surfing field and I think it’s good that the girls are mixing it up a bit. It makes things more interesting,” said Beachley.

The women’s WCT will be staged in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro presented by Samsung. The Quiksilver Pro Trials will be held on Monday 27 February and the final of the Quiksilver Core Store Surf Challenge will be held on either 28 February or 1 March. and will host the live webcast of the entire event. Interviews, replays, special guests and Roxy’s daily "Live at 5" wrap up are all highlights of the webcast.

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