Star-Bulletin Sports

Saturday, December 4, 1999


By Pierre Tostee, Triple Crown of Surfing
Layne Beachley cuts across a wave at Sunset on her way
to winning the Roxy Pro.

Beachley at her best
in Roxy Pro

The Australian surfer repeats
as world champion, wins the
meet and the Triple Crown

By Greg Ambrose
Special to the Star-Bulletin


When Layne Beachley gazed upon the 8- to 10-foot, wind-caressed waves at Sunset Beach yesterday, the sight washed away a frustrating, injury-plagued year of competition on the World Championship Tour.

North Shore surfer Rochelle Ballard was equally energized by the waves, and before long the world's top professional women's surfers were performing before an appreciative crowd.

The Roxy Pro is the last wahine contest of the Vans G-Shock Triple Crown of Surfing, as well as the final event of the pro tour. All three titles were at stake, and the women latched onto the best waves of their season with delight.

"It's exciting for people to know we can go out there and perform," Ballard said. "All year we surf 4-foot surf on the tour, but this was great for the girls that can surf bigger waves to show their stuff, and push the other girls to surf bigger waves. It takes some courage to go out there."

By the time the quarterfinals were concluded, it was evident that if Kauai's Keala Kennelly wasn't destined to win the event, she was going to die trying. Time and again the backsider elicited roars from the crowd as she threw herself into improbable situations on impossible waves, with dramatically disastrous results.

It was also apparent that if Haleiwa's Megan Abubo could keep matching Ballard barrel for barrel, either of them could win the event.

When Australia's Serena Brooke fell on her last wave in the quarterfinals, the stumble allowed countrywoman Beachley to repeat as world champion. Now all that was left was to complete her conquest with a Roxy victory and a Triple Crown title.

As Abubo, Ballard and Beachley joined spunky Aussie surfer Trudy Todd in the lineup for the final heat, they were all in prime position to win the Triple Crown. But under the watchful gaze of her mentor, Sunset Beach legend Ken Bradshaw, Beachley displayed her mastery of the confounding waves at Sunset Beach and quickly distanced herself from her competitors.

Beachley broke with the conventional wisdom when surfing at Sunset and it paid off.

"The idea at Sunset is not to take the first wave of a set, because if you blow it, you have the rest of them on your head," Beachley said.

But each time a set approached, she pounced on the first wave, performed for the judges and then watched as the rest of the set pounded her opponents.

"I didn't even look to see what was behind it, I just kept taking the first wave because it was a good wave," she said. "I wasn't aware there was a set behind it."

Just as she was looking forward to some quiet time to recharge her batteries after an endless season, Beachley's victory has her ready to take on all challengers.

"After the obstacles I have overcome this season to become world champion again, I'm fired up to claim a third world title. I'm glad it came down to the wire in Hawaii, it makes it more exciting for us."

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin