HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, March 8, 2009) - After nearly a week of lay days during the opening event of the 2009 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour season, Australia's Gold Coast came back to life to host three consecutive days of non-stop action at the Quiksilver Pro presented by LG Mobile this week with sophomore sensation Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA), 23, leading the cause for American competitors after reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 37, was defeated by Australian prodigy and event wildcard Julian Wilson (Coolum, AUS), 20, in Round 3.
The Quiksilver Pro is the first of 10 events on the 2009 ASP World Tour season which has several alternate locations other than the premier break of Snapper Rocks, including the famed Duranbah Beach and Kirra, allowing competitors to capitalize on the area's best waves.
Reynolds patented above-the-lip surfing combined with his powerful rail gouges earned the young Ventura native the season's first perfect 10-point ride by blasting two aerial maneuvers and several massive turns on a lengthy Snapper Rocks righthander in his Round 2 heat against close friend and neighbor Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 24.
"It was a nice wave, it was begging for it," Reynolds said. "I'm pretty excited as I've never gotten a 10 before. I think the more I just think about the wave and the less I think about a heat, the better I end up surfing. I have less pressure on myself that way."
The Californian's relaxed approach to competition successfully carried in to Round 3 where he belted another near flawless score of a 9.40 out of 10 on the way to his heat win over Hawaiian charger Roy Powers (Hanalei, HI), 28, securing his spot in Round 4.
"It's an awesome wave here at Snapper Rocks," Reynolds said. "I'm stoked to be able to get out there and let loose on a couple. I try to just go out there and surf as if I was surfing my favorite break at home."
Reynolds will tackle perennial ASP World Tour frontrunner Taj Burrow (Yallingup, AUS), 30, when competition resumes.
Former ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 29, and twin brother Damien Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL), 29, are the only other Americans in the running for this year's Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast crown. The goofy-footers have proven that their backhand attack on the reeling Snapper Rocks rights is top notch, as right-foot-forward surfers have generally struggled to post solid results at Snapper in previous years.
C.J. Hobgood will tackle Jihad Khodr (Curitiba, BRA), 25, in the opening heat of Round 4 when competition resumes.
The upset of the event fell upon reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and defending Quiksilver Pro Champion Kelly Slater, who was piloting some newly-designed equipment in his heat, when he was ousted from the event by young Australian talent and event wildcard Julian Wilson. Slater's uncharacteristic early exit from the event earned him an equal 17th place finish.
"The waves I got were bad," Slater said. "I surfed alright on one wave and I am frustrated obviously, but I would have had the same result with the best board of my life so it definitely wasn't the equipment thing. A lot people want to put it down on that, but I am excited about my boards and I have a lot more fun riding these boards."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 6am local time to access conditions for a possible Round 4 start.
For all of the LIVE Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast pres. by LG Mobile action log on to www.quiksilverpro.com.au