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News provided by ASP World Tour on 7 July 2006

BIARRITZ, France – The quarterfinalists have been decided at the Roxy ASP Women’s World Longboarding Championship (WWLC) presented by Evian after rounds four and five were completed in half-metre (two-foot) waves at Côte des Basques, Biarritz, France today.

Only seven heats remain before the first-ever ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion is crowned. Five Americans remain in contention for the title, along with two Australians and one Frenchwoman. All the Hawaiians and the sole South African were knocked out today.

The quarter-finalists are: Bianca Valenti (USA) vs. Belinda Baggs (AUS); Deanne Ashmore (AUS) vs. Jennifer Smith (USA); Schuyler McFerran (USA) vs. Kassia Meador (USA); and Claire Karabatsos (FRA) vs. Kaitlin Maguire (USA).

Schuyler McFerran (Encinitas, Calif.), is the only surfer to progress from the qualifying rounds to the quarters and also the only surfer to win every heat she has contested.

“It’s kind of cool,” McFerran, 19, said. “I’m stoked that I’ve been finishing first in all of my heats, but I’m trying not to be overconfident; I’m trying to take it one heat at a time. I hope this pattern continues right through to the final.”

Though McFerran had flown far enough under the radar that she was not given a direct seed into this event, her performance at the inaugural Roxy ASP WWLC has her centered squarely in the spotlight.

“At Malibu a couple of years ago at the Longboard Magazine Pro I started in the opening rounds and made my way all the way to the final – I’m hoping this is a similar experience,” McFerran said.

In round four, McFerran’s posted a 9.5 (out of 10.00) wave score which ties her with Bianca Valenti (Isla Vista, Calif.) for the highest wave score of the event.

Valenti, 20, who has been the in-form surfer of the event despite not competing in the discipline for some time, managed to again post the highest heat total of the event with a 16.90 (out of 20.00) and bettered her top-scoring 16.75 in round three.

“It’s surprising that I was able to do that because the waves were super fat so I guess I was just lucky to get the scores that I did,” Valenti said. “I just went out there and did what comes naturally – I got a couple of noserides and did some floaters.”

Jennifer Smith, from Pacific Beach, California, was thrilled to advance through her round five heat with ease, especially after coming critically close to losing in round four.

“That heat felt great because my first heat today was horrible. I scraped through in the last 30 seconds – I got a good one that put me though by 0.25 or something,” Smith, 20, said. “This heat I felt a little better, I had one heat under my belt and didn’t wear a leash this time which always allows me to surf better. I got into a rhythm, got a couple of good waves and didn’t fall.”

Smith’s round five performance was so strong that she forced the other two surfers, Australians Belinda Baggs and Chelsea Williams, into a ‘combination situation’, with them needing a combination of wave scores to challenge her lead. Baggs narrowly overcame Williams at the very end of the heat to advance with Smith.

Kaitlin Maguire (Del Mar, Calif.), who at 18 is the youngest surfer still competing in the Roxy ASP WWLC, finished second to Schuyler McFerran in round four but won her round five heat and beat top-seeded Kassia Meador, who still advanced with her second place finish.

Maguire was happy with her performance: “I think the heat went great. It was kind of hard because there were smaller waves, but if you pick the right ones there’s a nice little shoulder and a lot of room to do maneuvers. It was fun, but it was also challenging because you have some of the best people in the world out there, like Kassia Meador – that’s very intimidating.

“I’m excited to be in the quarters, especially since I just turned 18 and I’m one of the youngest girls here. I’m thrilled but it’s a little scary,” she said.

Australian Deanna Ashmore has also made it to the quarterfinals, along with France’s Claire Karabatsos, who represents the host country’s sole opportunity to clinch victory at Côte des Basques.

Each of the other five quarterfinalists in the Roxy ASP WWLC hail from California, USA.

Simone Robb of South Africa failed to advance but managed to delight the crowd on her way out by completing 360s in both her round four and round five heats.

The quarters, semis and final will almost certainly run tomorrow morning with the first-ever ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion crowned by early afternoon.

The Roxy ASP WWLC is running in conjunction with the Roxy Jam Biarritz, a summer surf festival designed to celebrate the female surf lifestyle. Live music, art exhibitions and philanthropic activities are bolstering Biarritz's already contagious surf vibe during the week-long event. Tonight's entertainment will feature the internationally acclaimed Neneh Cherry.

HEAT 1: Bianca Valenti (USA) vs. Belinda Baggs (AUS)
HEAT 2: Deanne Ashmore (AUS) vs. Jennifer Smith (USA)
HEAT 3: Schuyler McFerran (USA) vs. Kassia Meador (USA)
HEAT 4: Claire Karabatsos (FRA) vs. Kaitlin Maguire (USA)

ROUND OF 12 (1st and 2nd advance to QUARTERFINALS; 3rd = 9th place)
HEAT 1: Bianca Valenti (USA)16.90, Deanne Ashmore (AUS) 12.75, Janna Irons (HAW) 9.70
HEAT 2: Jennifer Smith (USA) 16.50, Belinda Baggs (AUS) 13.50, Chelsea Williams (AUS) 12.25
HEAT 3: Schylur McFerran (USA) 15.75, Claire Karabatsos (FRA) 11.00, Joy Magelssen (HAW) 8.25
HEAT 4: Kaitlin Maguire (USA) 11.50, Kassia Meador (USA) 10.70, Simone Robb (ZAF) 7.25

ROUND OF 24 (1st and 2nd advance to ROUND OF 12; 3rd = 13th place, 4th = 19th place)
HEAT 1: Deanne Ashmore (AUS) 11.30, Jennifer Smith (USA) 10.50, Ashley Lloyd (USA) 10.25, Gretchen Jorgensen (AUS) 8.30
HEAT 2: Janna Irons (HAW) 14.75, Belinda Baggs (AUS) 14.25, Mary Osborne (USA) 9.60, Crystal Dzigas (USA) 6.90,
HEAT 3: Chelsea Williams (AUS) 16.60, Bianca Valenti (USA) 15.10, Julie Whitegon (USA) 9.75, Selby Riddle (AUS) 6.50
HEAT 4: Joy Magelssen (HAW) 15.50, Kassia Meador (USA) 14.00, Leah Dawson (USA) 9.65, Coline Menard (FRA) 7.75
HEAT 5: Schylur McFerran (USA) 15.40, Kaitlin Maguire (USA) 11.70, Melanie Fosse (FRA) 11.50, Kristy Murphy (USA) 7.80
HEAT 6: Simone Robb (ZAF) 15.50, Claire Karabatsos (FRA) 12.75, Kelly Nicely (USA) 9.60, Lisa Nicholson (AUS) 9.10

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