Blanchard Ready To Rock ASP Tour

When you think of Kaua’i surfing pros, many men come to mind, including the likes of the late Andy Irons, his brother Bruce; the Alexander brothers, Kala and Kamalei, Roy Powers or Dustin Barca.

These athletes are already established names in the surfing world, and with new blood riding into the ranks – the Smith brothers, Alex and Koa – Kaua’i seems well-stocked when it comes to having a good showing among the world’s best.

But there’s also talent brewing on the women’s side of the wave, and it starts with Hanalei’s Alana Blanchard, who is following in the wakes of Kaua’i living legends, starting with Margo Oberg and continuing with Keala Kennelly and Rochelle Ballard.

The 20-year-old Alana will begin the 2011 Association of Surfing Professionals women’s tour ranked at No. 17.

ASP officials only rank the top 17 based on how each surfer finished the past season and how they performed in qualifying events.

“We have an excellent field of girls on tour and a solid schedule,” ASP World Tour manager Renato Hickel says. “We’re excited for a big year in 2011.”

Blanchard is only one of four Hawaii surfers to make the top 17. She’s joined by three Oahu girls: Carissa Moore at No. 3, Coco Ho at seven and Melanie Bartels at eight.

Four-time and defending world champ Stephanie Gilmore of Australia holds down the top spot.

“I’m stoked,” Blanchard says. “I’m just looking to get better every day and maybe move up the rankings.”

Blanchard cemented her mark in the top 17 with a heart-stopping third-place showing at the first stop of the Van’s Triple Crown.

“Going in, I didn’t even know I could qualify,” she says. “Then after the contest, I was told that I qualified, so I was really excited.”

In her rookie season of 2009, Blanchard won the Haleiwa Pro, took third in the WCT Sunset Pro and finished runner-up at the Van’s Triple Crown to Gilmore.

The momentum continued this past year, as she took home fifth place on the women’s tour at the 40th annual Surfer Magazine Poll Awards last month on Oahu’s North Shore.

With the season starting soon, Blanchard hopes to continue to give Kaua’i yet another shining star in the pro surfing ranks, even if the men may hold the lion’s share of the spotlight.

The first stop on the 2011 ASP Women’s World Tour will be the Roxy Pro Gold Coast from Feb. 26 through March 9.

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