After six straight lay days, Snapper Rocks, which is the main contest bank for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro, finally saw some action. The call that the men were off for the day came early in the morning, while the women were put on "stand by."
The crowd was beginning to line the Snapper Rocks boardwalk and beach as Contest Director Rod Brooks made his way to the official site, answering the obvious question about running with a definitive, "Of course it's on, we're starting at 12:30!"
Kelly Slater nailed his 46th World Tour victory and his third Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast title at Snapper Rocks in Australia on Wednesday, defeating defending champion Taj Burrow in a wave-starved final which hung in the balance until after the final siren had sounded.
Quiksilver Pro Final Gallery
The girls were back on their boards after a week's break and all eyes were on Stephanie Gilmore. She'd lost her first round heat and needed to get back in the game. Her Round Two heat was against wildcard Sarah Mason, who'd beaten her last year in the New Zealand World Tour event, and Gilmore certainly didn't want it to happen again, especially in front of her home crowd and at her new sponsor's marquee event. Mason slipped through the crowd with ease while Gilmore's every move was scrutinized, but once she hit the water the pressure was on Mason.
Gilmore nailed the set waves and rode them confidently, finding the link-up sections that only seasoned Snapper locals seem to know. She didn't seem to be pushing too hard, but the turns were clean and precise.
"I'd changed my board today," explained Gilmore after her heat. "I went back to something old just because I haven't surfed for a while. It was a case of just going back to the things I know and I wasn't pushing too hard because my strength levels still aren't where I'd like them to be after so long out of the water."
There is a new format for the women's contest this year. They have adopted a similar format to the men in that there are two rounds where nobody is eliminated. It's a bit confusing for the crowd but the girls get their own "Dane Round" -- technically Round 3 -- where they can let loose and try to nail a few moves that they normally wouldn't be trying in competition. Silvana Lima took advantage and took to the air while Stephanie Gilmore went out to show the Tour Rookies, Tyler Wright and Laura Enever why she is World Champion.
"I guess I was feeling the pressure against Sarah and tour rookies Laura and Tyler today," Stephanie said before leaving the beach. "I'm the sort of person that if a person has beaten me before then I guess ... I don't know, I guess you could call it revenge, but I just become a lot more assertive in the lineup and basically I really, really want to win. It not only comes down to just wanting to win the heat, but you want to beat your opponent."
Over two months ago Gilmore was the victim of a vicious assault that not only broke bones in her hand and wrist, but also shattered her self-confidence. People were saying the Happy Gilmore smile had been dulled and she wasn't the same bubbly person. Today seemed to change that. Two heat wins against surfers who had beaten her before, especially her win over Tyler Wright in Round 3, who has been touted as her heir apparent were especially sweet.
"I'm just enjoying it (being back in the water)," said Gilmore before leaving the beach. "I'm loving being back out at Snapper again, especially with no one out and having people on the beach watching...it's just the best feeling ever."
With nearly gale force winds pushing up the coast, the swell is expected to rise overnight with the men back in the water early tomorrow. The swell outlook is positive for the next few days, so no more surf starved lay-days; the Quiksilver Pro and the Roxy Pro will be all business from now on.
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 12.67 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 8.33
Heat 2: Pauline Ado (FRA) 13.60 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 5.83
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.24 def. Sarah Mason (NZL) 10.50
Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 11.30 def. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 8.50
Heat 5: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 11.83 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 7.67
Heat 6: Laura Enever (AUS) 7.57 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 7.10
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 15.27, Pauline Ado (FRA) 14.27, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.43
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.67, Laura Enever (AUS) 9.83, Tyler Wright (AUS) 8.84
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.57, Coco Ho (HAW) 8.67, Courtney Conlogue 7.80
Heat 4: Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 12.67, Carissa Moore (HAW) 8.66, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 3.13
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1:Pauline Ado (FRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 2:Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Heat 3:Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
Heat 4:Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Marc Lacomare (FRA)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 5: Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 6: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 11: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)