BELLS BEACH, Australia (Wednesday, March 25, 2009) The 2009 Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Snickers will bring the ASP Top 45 back to the iconic Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia from April 7 - 18, 2009, and this year's event will provide the surfers and spectators will a dynamic new format, heightening the drama and enhancing the performances of the world's best surfers in the world's best waves.
Event No. 2 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach will be the first event of the season to utilize the new format, where all heats will be elimination man-on-man, and no losers' round will exist.
The Top 8 surfers from the 2008 season will be seeded directly into Round 2 all yearlong. For the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, surfers who finished 9 - 16 in 2008 will also be seeded directly into Round 2 while the remaining surfers of this year's ASP Top 45 will battle it out in Round 1 man-on-man elimination heats. Following the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, events that opt to run the new format will use the same seeding, only seeds 9 – 16 will be based off of this season's seeding.
In addition to providing heats of consequence throughout the entire event, the new format also cuts the run time down to three full days of competition, allowing for surfers to compete in the best possible conditions.
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 22, 2008 ASP World Tour 'Most Improved' surfer and current ASP World No. 2, finished within the Top 8 last season (No. 7) and will be seeded directly into the second round in all ASP Dream Tour events this year that opt to run the new format.
"I think the new format will be a great addition to the Dream Tour," De Souza said. "It allows us to capitalize on three-day swell cycles and allows us to compete in the best possible conditions. I'm stoked to be seeded into Round 2 all season, but it could have its positives and negatives. I won't have to worry about finishing in last place, but I won't get a warm-up round to surf in. Everything is serious from the start."
A former ASP World Junior Champion (2004) and ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) No. 1 finisher (2005), De Souza has long been considered South America's most promising young prospect, but success at the elite level of competition hasn't come as easily. Finishing ASP World No. 20 in his rookie season and ASP World No. 28 in his second year on tour, De Souza finally found success on the ASP Dream Tour in 2008, cracking the Top 10.
"I never thought surfing at this level was going to be easy and it hasn't been," De Souza said. "It's taken me a lot of time and hard work and I'm still not there. I still need to work harder and improve. When I got on tour, I knew I needed to work on my big wave surfing and it's better, but still not there. I had a tough two first years on tour. The biggest inspiration to me has been Jeremy (Flores). He showed me what was possible for someone so young and he has pushed me to achieve what I have."
Following his Runner-Up finish at the opening event of the 2009 ASP World Tour, De Souza is now a legitimate ASP World Title contender and enters into the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach with a mission to improve upon last year's equal 9th place finish.
"Bells is not an easy wave to surf and it definitely keeps everyone on their toes," De Souza said. "I love the wave. I love surfing in the bowl. It is not easy though. One day, it can be really big, the next, really small. Some days are really hot and next day, it's freezing. I'm going to surf the 'QS event in Western Australia first to get used to surfing in a wetsuit and get used to surfing waves like Bells. I definitely want to improve upon my current place at No. 2, but there's not a lot of places to go."
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, current ASP World No. 1 and former Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Champion (2004), will be on hand to back up his phenomenal start to the season while fellow Coolangatta brethren and former ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 27, will look to capitalize on his own solid finish at the opening event of the year.
Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and defending Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Champion, will join De Souza, Parkinson, Fanning and the rest of the 2008 ASP Top 16 in Round 2 of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach pres. by Snickers will begin its waiting period on Tuesday, April 7, 2009 running through Saturday, April 18, and will be webcast LIVE via www.live.ripcurl.com
The Rip Curl Women's Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford New Fiesta will run in conjunction with Rip Curl Pro.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com.