The Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast finally begins, doesn’t disappoint
On a day of lumpy but rippable windswell, the Brazilians triumphed – with the exception of the reigning world champ Adriano De Souza. The rookies showed us plenty of power, promise and flavour. And a pressure-free Mick Fanning racked up the second highest combined heat total of the day, a 17.24, featuring the speed, precision and layback […]
On a day of lumpy but rippable windswell, the Brazilians triumphed – with the exception of the reigning world champ Adriano De Souza. The rookies showed us plenty of power, promise and flavour. And a pressure-free Mick Fanning racked up the second highest combined heat total of the day, a 17.24, featuring the speed, precision and layback power-gaffs that have earned him three world titles.
It didn’t come easy for Mick. He was pushed all the way by a surfer fast becoming the most underrated talent in the world. Wade Carmichael, from the NSW Central Coast, had the three time world champ on the ropes after he punished an opening re-entry, before showing plenty of variety and closing with a power hook for one of the day’s highest wave scores, an 8.93.
Mick answered the call, hitting back with one of the turns of the day – a vicious karate layback on an overhead section, for an 8.27 and the win.
“It feels really different (to past years),” said Mick. “I’ve been laughing a lot and just a lot more relaxed. I wasn’t tense at all.”
“I felt much better even paddling out in the heat. I just wanted to get a couple of waves… First and foremost I wanna go surfing. I’m not as freaked out about being the first in the water every day. It’s more about surfing when I wanna surf, being in love with surfing and doing it for the fun of it.”
Reigning world champ Adriano De Souza suffered a shock loss to wildcard Mikey Wright in round one. The Brazilian struggled to find waves in the lumps, losing to a last second speed-float to man-hack combo from the mullet’d south coast madman.
“I just know you have to surf to your best on every wave,” said Mikey. “It’s what they all do. Every section you come at they go at 100 percent. I’ve just been working at that just trying to 100 percent at all sections.”
Filipe Toledo has added some pepper to that patented frontside huck of his over the off-season. The defending Quik Pro champ threw a pair down in successive rides to overcome Jadson Andre and Stu Kennedy. Where Tom Carroll fashioned world titles out of speed through his turns, Filipe has managed to come up with the most flowing and functional aerial attack in world surfing, fluidly rotating out of each huck into a run of electric wraps and stabs down the line for the win.
“Not much has changed from last year,” he said. “I’m just trying to push harder in places I need to improve, like Fiji and Tahiti. Last year I had a really good feeling fighting for the title. This year I feel a lot more comfortable. I know I can get myself into that position so it’s gonna be fun.”
Gabriel Medina escaped a last minute scare against a stylish Sebastian Zietz. The Brazilian took advantage of a last minute down-the-line wedge, reminiscent of the wave which handed him the 2014 Quik Pro title over Joel Parkinson, to put his board through the whole range of vertical degrees for a dramatic dying stages victory.
“Seabass got the eight,” he said. “I was just hoping a good wave came and thank god for the last one. That was a tricky heat, I didn’t know where to sit, I got some good ones down here and tried up there, I was kinda lost, so I’m just stoked to make it through that heat.”
Kelly Slater rode a back-to-the-future Greg Webber-designed, Shane Herring-inspired, vacuum-sealed, carbon fibre quad, but couldn’t come up with the waves required to overcome one of the most lethal backhands in world surfing, in Matt Wilkinson. A noticeably sharper Joel Parkinson took out the day’s most anticipated heat, beating John Florence and rookie Jack Freestone. Powerful, fluid turns and flawless wave selection signalled a resurgence for the former world champ, who’s struggled for motivation and form since claiming the crown in 2012.
While Brazilian Wiggolly Dantas surprised the draw to rack up the highest combined heat total of the day – a 17.26 – for an explosive backhand display. The Brazilian left the Hawaiian winter early for the first time in 15 years to head home and surf weak waves in preparation for the event.
“This year I’m just confident,” he said. “I learned a lot last year, I just wanna surf as much as I can coming here. I made a good result last year here so I just wanna surf and make big manoeuvres. I’ve been here for 10 days already surfing on a lot of boards, so I’m just happy to make my heat.”
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira 12.00, Ryan Callinan 11.10, Keanu Asing 8.80
Heat 2: Michel Bourez 11.50, Adam Melling 10.37, Julian Wilson 6.06
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo 14.36, Jadson Andre 13.30, Stuart Kennedy 10.67
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina 16.17, Sebastian Zietz 14.80, Caio Ibelli 8.10
Heat 5: Mick Fanning 17.24, Wade Carmichael 16.00, Matt Banting 9.90
Heat 6: Michael Wright 13.74, Adriano de Souza 13.70, Kolohe Andino 9.10
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores 15.90, Davey Cathels 15.00, Adrian Buchan 10.74
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson 17.00, Kelly Slater 13.27, Conner Coffin 12.17
Heat 9: Nat Young 12.87, Alex Ribeiro 12.14, Kai Otton 11.50
Heat 10: Taj Burrow 15.40, Josh Kerr 12.26, Kanoa Igarashi 11.40
Heat 11: Wiggolly Dantas 17.26, Jordy Smith 13.43, Miguel Pupo 12.47
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson 14.10, John John Florence 13.56, Jack Freestone 13.44
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Upcoming Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 9: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 12: Matt Banting (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
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