Ross sends message to surf world

WOOLOWEYAH surfer Daniel Ross has won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) six-star prime rated Drug Aware Pro in Western Australia.

Ross defeated fellow North Coast competitor Adam Melling in clean 1.25-metre surf at Margaret River.

It was Ross's biggest career victory and could not have come at a better time for the powerfully-built surfer, who fell short of requalifying on the ASP World Dream Tour last season and also recently lost his major sponsorship deals.

“I was so pumped to win this event and I can't believe how good I feel right now,” said an elated Ross after his victory.

“I've made the semis the last two years here and I knew coming here I was a really good chance to win. I've trained hard leading into this event and it has really paid off for me in a big way.

“Without a major sponsor the cash that comes with winning ($US20,000) will make my year of competing that much easier and I wanted to prove to everyone out there right now that I am worth sponsoring and capable of big results.”

Ross surfed the ASP Dream Tour last year, but failed to requalify. Sunday's result has him well-placed for requalification this year.

“That's my aim for sure and now I'm winning I want to get on a roll and string together a lot more excellent results,” he said.

The Margaret River event had a total prize purse of $US145,000 and boasted a field of more than 250 surfers representing New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, United States, Peru, Brazil, South Africa, France, Spain, England, Portugal, Reunion Island, Canary Islands, Japan and Israel.

With the lead see-sawing in a quality high-scoring final, Melling opened with an excellent 8.67 ride and looked to have control when he backed that ride up shortly after with a strong 6.07 ride.

Ross opened with a 6.77, and remained patient and found the final's best ride when he scored an outstanding 9.43 at the 20-minute stage of the 30-minute final. Ross unleashed all his power on this ride, combining two massive bottom to top turns sending fans of spray high off the wave and it was immediately clear to the large crowd on the hills of Margaret River that he had taken the lead.

While Melling searched for an achievable 7.54 to regain the lead, he fell on a few critical turns late in the final and was forced to settle for second on a score line for each surfers top two scoring rides of 16.20 (out of a possible 20) for Ross and 14.74 to Melling.

Despite being disappointed at not winning, Melling's good early season form has him placed as the number one rated surfer on the ASP World Qualifying Series Ratings ahead of Brett Simpson (USA) , Dion Atkinson (AUS) with Ross in fourth place. The next stop on the ASP World Qualifying Series is South Africa in mid-April for the Quiksilver Pro.

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