• Australian Open of Surfing 2012

MANLY, NSW/Australia (Sunday, 19 February, 2012) Matt Banting (AUS) and Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) have taken out the Inaugural Australian Open of Surfing Pro presented by Hurley and Billabong at Manly beach. The beach was packed with tens of thousands of surf fans for the final day of competition and they were treated to an exciting show with close back-and-forth battles, powerful turns and big airs as the world's best surfers fought for the prestigious crown, precious ASP World Tour ratings points and tens of thousands of dollars prize-money.

Matt Banting (AUS) went back-to-back at the Australian Open of Surfing after claiming the Pro Junior division title yesterday and today winning the blue ribbon ASP 6-Star division. Banting battled hard in the Final against American Evan Gieselman (USA), with both surfers going for broke in the small, but fun surf. The 17-year-old from Port Macquarie took to the air and landed some massive air-reverses that saw him post some big scores and claim the USD$25,000 1st prize and 3,500 ASP World Tour ratings points.

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Matt Banting in the Men's Finals (Sunday 19th)

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Banting taking the Junior Mens

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) defeated Sofia Mulanovich (PER) in the final of the ASP 6-Star rated Australian Open Of Surfing, both surfers posted decent scores, but Fitzgibbons timed her turns to perfection to take out the event and claim the USD$8,000 winners cheque. Fitzgibbons has been in fantastic form all event, being rewarded by the judges for her ability to link turns together with her trademark smooth style. This week at the Australian Open Of Surfing Fitzgibbons notched four of the top 10 wave scores and two of the top three heat totals, proving that she was the inform surfer of the event and that she's not being hampered by her wrist injury.

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Sally Fitzgibbons in the Womens Final

Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) claimed her second consecutive ASP Australasia Pro Junior Series Title at the The Australian Open Of Surfing today. Van Dijk defeated Philippa Anderson (AUS) in an exciting Final thanks to her trademark smooth style.

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Nikki Van Dijk - Junior Womens Winner

"I'm so so happy!" Van Dijk said. "It's a great start to the year, I know I said the same thing at the last event, but it's still all sinking in. To win here at the first Australian Open means so much. The crowd on the beach is insane, I though it might make me nervous, but during the heat it just felt normal. The waves were good and Philippa (Anderson) just got unlucky that I caught the good ones."

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Brazilian Skateboarder Pedro Barros

Brazilian skateboarder Pedro Barros can expect a cult following in Australia after capping off a week's domination at the Australian Open of Surfing Beach Bowl competition with a huge win in the pro final.

Up against compatriot Bob Burnquist, Melbourne's Renton Millar, Josh Rodriguez (USA), Rune Glifberg (DEN) and Kevin Kowalksi (USA), 16-year-old Barros out-classed the lot including runners-up Josh Stafford (USA) and Bucky Lasek (USA) to take the inaugural Beach Bowl title in front a packed house on Manly Beach.

Lien airs, back-to-back 540s, switch tricks and dozens of others that even the smooth talkin' commentator, Sergie Ventura, struggled to keep up with, Pedro pulled out all stops to put on a show for the Manly crowd.

'It was sick, everyone was skating amazing, everyone was ripping it up,' said Barros.

'I think every moment for me I was trying to step it up, just go bigger, higher, better, faster! It's my first time to Manly and it's been great. It was wonderful being right next to the beach, it's an awesome place you got the beach, the surf, the restaurants, everything is nice and close. It's great.'

Overall it was a great week of surfing, skating, music and art!

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The crowded beach (Day 9)

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Billabong Team Signing Session

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Channel [V] music stage absolutely packed

More event info, photos and results can be found at www.australianopenofsurfing.com