Westside Wahine Wins

Gary Kewley
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Friday - December 08, 2006
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2006 Roxy Pro champ Melanie Bartels
2006 Roxy Pro champ Melanie Bartels

Happy hollow days, wave warriors!

As this MidWeek hits your home, the biggest swell of the season hits our northwest shores! Indeed, the outer reefs will be crackin’. These deep water reefs don’t break unless it’s over 12 feet Hawaii Scale, or near 20 feet “crest to trough.” This is the size that can drown a seasoned surfer on sheer volume of water. Volume is not what most people usually think of when they hear wave “height.” But wave “volume” is huge. Think of a circle with a radius (height from its center) of 10 feet. The total area of the circle is more than 300 feet! For a wave it’s less, of course, but you get the idea. The correlation of height to volume is exponential. As a wave doubles in size its volume does far more than double.

This first big swell makes for great intensity for the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. We have begun the final event holding period: Dec. 8 though Dec. 20. The place is none other than the most-famous surf spot on planet Earth: the Banzai Pipeline. Needless to say, Pipe is known for its volume and intensity. What great timing ... huge waves challenging huge talents in the Rip Curl Pipeline Masters. To know if it’s ON or OFF or on STAND-BY, call via phone at 596-SURF, 638-RUSH or via PC at TRIPLECROWNOFSURFING or SURFNEWSNETWORK.COM by 7 a.m. daily.

Hey, how about our Westside wahine, Melanie Bartels?! She won the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach on Dec 2. The amazing thing is that Melanie had to work her magic through the trial rounds as a wild card ... surfing extra heats in the ever changing lineup.

Sunset Beach definitely has the trickiest lineup of all the Vans Triple Crown venues. You have to be an excellent “reader” of waves. Melanie proved it in the last 14 seconds of the final heat. She caught a wave just before the bell to steal the lead from Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore. Ms. Bartels not only caught the right wave, she tore it apart with flair. This young athlete’s hard-carving cut-back and tube ride proved she has the power to match Sunset.

Roxy Pro champ and pride of the West Side Melanie Bartels
Roxy Pro champ and pride of the West Side Melanie Bartels

This was extra special for Melanie because it was her first victory ever in an ASP Women’s World Tour event.

“I am so stoked, this is a dream come true for me,” says Bartels, who surfed on the ASP Women’s World Tour in 2004 and 2005. “I was on tour for two years and never made it past the third round - not once, so to make the final and win here in Hawaii in front of my friends and family, well, it just seems like everything is coming together. I’m so happy.”

Bartels, who has qualified for the 2007 ASP Women’s World Tour, earned a last-minute invite to compete in the trials.

“I wasn’t even in the event in the beginning ... Fortunately for me, I got a call on Thanksgiving Day from Randy Rarick and he said that I had gotten a spot in the trials. I was really, really stoked, because I kept bugging him and bugging him, telling him how much I needed to be in this event because I think I’m one of the best Hawaiians out there. It’s like it was all meant to happen. I think something has clicked, because even in the trials there were heats where I wanted to give up,” Melanie says. “But as soon as that negativity came into my head, I went ‘think positive,’ and that made me think that I still had a chance. I stuck to my game plan and turned that negative into a positive. It worked in every heat and I came out winning. For the first time I really believed in myself - I believed in my surfing ... This might be my time, you know, because everyone has their time. It was definitely my time today - hopefully it will still be my time next year.”

Melanie is making a believer out of herself and us all. She is now ready to apply her new-found momentum to the ASP Women’s World Tour next year - and we all wish her the best believing has to offer!

By the time you read this, we’ll have an O’Neill World Cup champ, too, so check the Web and here for special coverage. I’m so stoked to have you here. Mahalo!

GQ, dropping in 4 U!

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