Emotional Evening For World’s Best At ASP World Champions’ Crowning

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Roy Powers and his ladyfriend with some rabbit ears courtesy of Freddy P's girlfriend. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

COOLANGATTA, Australia (Friday, February 27, 2009) – The world’s best surfers congregated at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre last night for the ASP World Champions’ Crowning.

Surfing’s “night of nights”, the ASP World Champions’ Crowning would prove an emotional evening, with a final farewell from a sporting icon and the acknowledgement of two surfing dynasties.

Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew (AUS), 54, will be stepping down from his post as ASP International President at the end of March, and last night’s ASP World Champions’ Crowning would prove a fitting farewell for the legendary sportsman. As Bartholomew finished a heart-warming diatribe chronicling the rise of professional surfing, the former world champion received a raucous standing ovation by the 600 strong in attendance.

Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning ASP World Champion, was awarded with a phenomenal ninth World Crown, and thanked his fellow athletes for pushing the high-performance boundaries of competitive surfing as well as announcing his intentions for a tenth ASP World Title campaign in 2009.

Other ASP World Tour athletes awarded last night were 2008 ASP World Tour Runner-Up Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, Rookie of the Year Dane Reynolds (USA), 23, and a tie for ‘Most Improved’ with Adrian Buchan (AUS), 26, and Adriano de Souza (BRA), 22.

Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, was both articulate and poignant in her acceptance speech for her second consecutive ASP Women’s World Title, and her professionalism, both in the water and in front of the microphone, was heralded by audience members throughout the evening.

Other ASP Women’s World Tour athletes awarded last night were 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour Runner-Up Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, Rookie of the Year Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22, and ‘Most Improved’ Melanie Bartels (HAW), 26.

Bonga Perkins (HAW), 36, and Joy Monahan (HAW), 22, took home the ASP World Longboarding and ASP Women’s World Longboarding Titles respectively, while Nathaniel Curran (USA), 24, and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, received honors for ASP WQS No. 1 finishes in 2008.

Kai Barger (HAW), 19, and Pauline Ado (FRA), 18, were crowned ASP World Junior Champions and are now recognized as being leaders in the assault of the next generation.

Taylor Knox (USA), 37, a veteran of the ASP Dream Tour for 15 years, was honored with the prestigious Peter Whittaker Award, while Alexander Fontes (BRA), 49, a ten-year tour judge of over 225 events, received the ASP Service to the Sport Award.

The ASP World Champions Crowning marks the official end of the 2008 ASP World Tour seasons and with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and Roxy Pro Gold Coast pres. by LG Mobile preparing for starts tomorrow, 2009 is well underway.

Awards Recipient List:

2008 ASP World Champion: Kelly Slater (USA)
2008 ASP Women’s World Champion: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)

2008 ASP World Tour Runner-Up: Bede Durbidge (AUS)
2008 ASP Women’s World Tour Runner-Up: Silvana Lima (BRA)

2008 ASP World Tour Rookie of the Year: Dane Reynolds (USA)
2008 ASP Women’s World Tour Rookie of the Year: Nicola Atherton (AUS)

2008 ASP World Tour ‘Most Improved’: Adrian Buchan (AUS) and Adriano de Souza (BRA)
2008 ASP Women’s World Tour ‘Most Improved’: Melanie Bartels (HAW)

2008 ASP World Longboard Champion: Bonga Perkins (HAW)
2008 ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion: Joy Monahan (HAW)

2008 ASP World Junior Champion: Kai Barger (HAW)
2008 ASP Women’s World Junior Champion: Pauline Ado (FRA)

2008 ASP WQS No. 1: Nathaniel Curran (USA)
2008 ASP WQS Women’s No. 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

Peter Whittaker Award: Taylor Knox (USA)

ASP Service to the Sport: Alexander Fontes (BRA)