The opening events on the ASP Men's and Women's World Tours are underway at Snapper Rocks on Australia's Gold Coast, with the Quiksilver Pro witnessing some great performances on Saturday in shifty three-to-four foot surf.
The Top 34 surfers in the world went for broke in the opening non-elimination round, the winners advance directly into Round 3, while 2nd and 3rd are forced to battle it out in Round 2.
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, the reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and defending event winner, sent a clear message to his fellow competitors by posting a massive 18.80 (out of a possible 20) in the first 10 minutes of his opening heat of 2012.
Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, advanced directly into Round 3 after an incredible tube that netted him a 9.67 (out of a possible 10), the highest single wave score of the day.
"I waited for that wave for about 15-minutes, it was such a good feeling," Bourez said. "I knew I needed a big score and I knew I needed to wait for the big waves to get a barrel. After the barrel you just have to hit the lip as hard as you can to get a good score and I'm so stoked. I'm glad to be here, it's a blessing to be on tour surfing against the world's best surfers."
Mick Fanning (AUS), 30, two-times ASP World Champion and former event winner, was on point in his Round 1 heat at the Quiksilver Pro today. Fanning used his local knowledge to position himself in the best spot to capitalise on the available tube rides, finishing the waves off with his signature speed carves.
"It's great to be at home," Fanning said. "The neck injury at the end of last year wasn't great, I missed Pipe and spent a lot of time on the couch. Coming in to this event I guess you never know what to expect until you hit the water, Kerrzy (Josh Kerr) and I have had some great battles out here over the years. I didn't have the best start to this one, but after a few waves, run arounds and rock jumps I got a couple of scores."
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.83, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.66, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 7.70
HEAT 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.37, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.34, Kai Otton (AUS) 10.37
HEAT 3: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.63, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 10.37, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.60
HEAT 4: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.43, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.43, Brett Simpson (USA) 11.27
HEAT 5: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.70, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.43, Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.90
HEAT 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.80, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 12.73, Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.60
HEAT 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.83, Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.83, Travis Logie (ZAF) 8.67
HEAT 8: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.96, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.60
HEAT 9: Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.36, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.17, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.87
HEAT 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.77, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.67, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.00
HEAT 11: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.26, Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.67, CJ Hobgood (USA) 11.84
HEAT 12: John John Florence (HAW) 19.60, Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.50, Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.50
Stop 1 of 7 on the elite ASP Women's World Championship Tour, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, is always one of the most exciting events on tour as the girls get the chance put their full bag of tricks on display at one of the world's most high performance waves.
Carissa Moore (HAW), 19, reigning ASP Women's World Champion, showed that a six-month break from competition hasn't slowed her down, posting a win in her opening heat of 2012. Moore survived a last-minute fightback from Rebecca Woods (AUS), 27, who finished the heat with a great wave, but came less than half a point away from the score required.
"There's definitely a different sort of pressure you have to deal with coming in as World Champ and defending your title, as opposed to chasing a title for the first time," Moore said. "It's a new experience for me. Coming into the first event we're all a little nervous because it's been a while since we've been in a jersey, so it's nice to work out the kinks and the nerves and I'm looking forward to the rest of the event."
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, the 4-times ASP Women's World Champion came exploding out of the gates in her opening heat of 2012. The hometown favourite unleashed a barrage of powerful hacks that saw her earn a massive 9.00 (out of a possible 10).
"I feel strong and am so excited to be back feeling that strength and confidence again," Gilmore said. "Every heat this morning has been really strong, really consistent and it's been like anyone can win and that's exciting to watch. Kelly (Slater) and Joel (Parkinson) were really complimentary of women's surfing at the ASP Awards the other night and that means a lot to us because we're working hard to be like those guys and we're learning a lot from them."
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.24, Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.73, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 8.10
HEAT 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 17.70, Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.26, Pauline Ado (FRA) 7.33
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.73, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 11.33, Philippa Anderson (AUS) 11.33
HEAT 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.64, Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.10, Sarah Mason (NZL) 7.94
HEAT 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 14.33, Sage Erickson (USA) 13.70, Laura Enever (AUS) 6.40
HEAT 6: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.73, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.13, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 7.54
- ASP World Tour website
- ASP World Surfing Awards
- Sally Fitzgibbons wins the Australian Open of Surfing
- More surfing on redbull.com