All the girls get serious

By PHIL ROXBURGH

WITH the 13th ICON Australia All Girls Surf Showdown just a week away, it's clear the girls don't just want to have fun ? they want to rip it up.

Most divisions are full and have been for weeks.

The event has become truly international, with competitors from Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The Showdown has again been supported in a huge way by about 80 local businesses.

Southern Cross Credit Union open pro division competitors will be chasing $2000 in cash and luxury accommodation from Headlands Beach Resort.

Big names in the open pros include Byron Bay's Jenny Boggis, who has retired from the world circuit, and Ballina's Karlee Mackie, along with the Central Coast's multiple Australian champion Sandra English and New Zealander Hester Sutherland.

Over the years, the event has produced a number of surfers who have gone on to high-profile surf careers, including Boggis, Trudy Todd, Serena Brooke, Laurina McGrath, Julie Morris, Samantha Cornish and Rebecca Woods.

The NSW Tourism Sport and Recreation Department Under-21 division is always hotly contested and this year is no exception, with Jessica Hickson (Boomerang Beach), Ebony Laird (Victoria), Ayla Whitney (Thirroul) and Sophie Shelton (Ballina) all entered.

The Under-21 winner will collect $500 plus accommodation at Murphys Lodge, Lake Ainsworth.

The 2004 winner, Stephanie Gilmore, will miss the event this year because she will be competing in a WQS event in France.

All age groups are catered for, with open B-grade, the Ramada Riverside open longboard, 28 years and over, and exciting fields of girls in the 16 years and under and the 14 years and under divisions.

Watch out for North Narrabeen's Laura Enever, one of the standouts in 2004; the South Coast's Sally Fitzgibbons also comes with high accolades.

The Fashion Extravaganza at the Lake Ains-worth Sport and Recreation Conference Centre on Saturday night should not be missed. There will be more prizes and giveaways. Entry will cost $7.

Tickets are available from CivilianShop 8/26-54 River Street, Ballina (66862600) or Le Chelle Shop, 3/72 Ballina Street, Lennox Head (66876088).

Competitors will meet at Lennox Beach opposite the Lennox Point Hotel at 7am each day.

The event will be held at the best break between Lennox Beach and North Wall, Ballina.

You can tune in to local radio for updates on where to see some of Australasia's top women surfers, check the contest board for venue updates outside Lennox Newsagency over the long weekend or go to www.allgirlssurf.com.au



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