The Quiksilver Pro is getting down to the pointy end of its waiting period and Mother Nature is not playing ball. The gusty winds were supposed to bring up the swell, which I guess they did, but then it was buried under the early morning high tide. Would the organizers stick to their call of an 8:00am start? There were a lot people at the beach doubting they would start until the tide started to drop.
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
When the call was made to start at 8:00 with the first heat of Round 2, the first elimination round, there were some frowns in the competitor's area. Up first was one of the local favorites and five seed Bede Durbidge against 16-year-old Matt Banting, one of Quiksilver's wildcard entries. Half an hour later Banting was contemplating an upcoming heat against Kelly Slater while Durbidge was dealing with his worst result in a Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast ever. Hardly an easy heat, both surfers had to deal with high tide close-outs from behind the Snapper Rocks and some very slow, mushy waves rolling down the bank.
"I'm ready for Kelly," said Banting after giving his dad a big hug. "He got me in the first round so I'm excited to get the chance to have another go at him. I've dreamed of competing in my first world tour event, and I've been thinking about doing it for so long. I'm ready. I know it's not going to be an easy heat and I'm still getting my head around this win, but I'm ready for Kelly."
The Durbidge/Banting heat set the scene for virtually the whole of the round. The wind that had blown up the swell and hit close to 60 mph in some of the gusts made surfing extremely difficult. Everyone was waiting for the conditions to improve with the dropping tide, but it didn't happen.
Normally a six-point ride would be considered "average" for a Top 32 surfer, but today it would have been an "excellent" score. Brett Simpson was one of the only surfers today that came close to scoring two high-scoring rides on the usual scale, while guys like Cory Lopez won with a total two-wave score of 7.83 points and Fred Patacchia won on 11.50 points. Needless to say, it was a tough day at the office for a lot of the guys.
"I wasn't competing against Taylor (Knox)," said Patacchia after he squeezed every last drop out of his final winning wave. "I was paddling the whole heat against a gnarly rip and that last wave was like doing knee presses the whole way down the line. I just had to nurse my moves because the wave was so slow. I feel sorry for Taylor because it was so tough out there, but I'm glad for the win."
It was rumored that Kelly Slater gave the organizers a blast over running today, but that didn't stop him going out in an expression session after the running of Round 3 was called off. He battled with Mick Fanning and Portugal's Tiago Pires for "best wave," finally winning it with a deep sand dredging pit from behind the rocks.
Why did they run today? There is probably a combination of reasons and there is probably no one person who has the complete answer. The Quiksilver Pro is being broadcast live on television in Australia;. a sunny Sunday is always going to be a big crowd day at Snapper, and normally conditions would have improved on the dropping tide if the wind had backed off. Was it a good day of competition? Not really. It was a tough one for all the competitors. The crowd enjoyed the expression session, but that's not what a World Tour event is all about. The outlook is still positive for the next few days so we can put a less than memorable day behind us and stay tuned to see what Mother Nature has lined up.
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1:Matt Banting (AUS) 9.43 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 4.00
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.17 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.10
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.83 def. Marc Lacomare (FRA) 8.66
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.40 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 4.80
Heat 5: Cory Lopez (USA) 7.83 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 4.77
Heat 6: Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.17 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 9.00
Heat 7: Dusty Payne (HAW) 12.33 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.83
Heat 8: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.60 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.27
Heat 9: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.73 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.06
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) 16.73 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.90
Heat 11: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.50 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.50
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.50 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.83
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 2: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
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)