Stab Magazine | The top 7 things from the Quik Pro, Snapper today (day one)
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The top 7 things from the Quik Pro, Snapper today (day one)

Words by Elliot Struck | Photos by Simon Muirhead Day one of the Quiksilver Pro, Snapper Rocks and, really, day one of the 2015 WSL WCT, occurred today in see-through waist-high Snapper Rocks runners beneath a sweating sun and in front of a very thick crowd. “The bank’s really good,” said Julian Wilson. “Anything that […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Words by Elliot Struck | Photos by Simon Muirhead

Day one of the Quiksilver Pro, Snapper Rocks and, really, day one of the 2015 WSL WCT, occurred today in see-through waist-high Snapper Rocks runners beneath a sweating sun and in front of a very thick crowd. “The bank’s really good,” said Julian Wilson. “Anything that breaks out there has shape.” The entire first round was run, and a whole lot of stuff happened. But here’s seven of the most interesting things:

PArko_Slice-joel

Oh, Mr Parkinson. Silky smooth as ever.

7. The enduring awesome of Joel Parkinson.
Today, Joel Parkinson was on the front page of the Gold Coast Bulletin for a financial investment that recently went sour. But it didn’t stop him winning his first round heat at Snapper in amazing form. He didn’t even stand up until 14 minutes remaining, but when he did… yowser. As we said, he’ll probs be the scariest competitor in this event.

Mr_Florence_john-john

Mr Florence doing his thing, against a particularly good backdrop.

6. John John Florence’s 9.07.
In the day’s fourth heat, Mr Florence paddled into one of the bigger waves of the day, and as it ran a little wider of the bank (as the bigger waves tend to), he swerved on the open face and wrapped to the source, before it stood up a little more across the inside and allowed for more jabs and a finner-reverse. John’s supreme nonchalance between turns towards the back half of the ride would question whether the judges really do score higher when a surfer looks more enthused… but it was also a statement piece for the judges – traditional rail surfing will get you numbers at this event.

Mr Slater and an obvious 11.

Mr Slater and an obvious 11.

5. Numbers on backs.
Perhaps you noticed the surfer-chosen numbers on the back of each jersey. What do they all mean? Something different to each surfer. Kolohe Andino chose 22 because he likes the number itself, but also because it’s the number that baseballer Clayton Kershaw (LA Dodgers) owns. Dimity Stoyle also rocks 22, but for a different reason – it was her age when she qualified. Julian Wilson wanted 11, but Kelly got it first (not a tough one to guess). Jules grabbed 17 instead, as it’s his girl Ash’s birthday. Matt Banting originally chose 69, but was told it was a little too suss – “I said, it just depends on the way you look at it… Quik was made in ’69! But in the end I went with 94 – the year I was born.” And speaking of Mr Banting…

Matty Banting stayed tight in the pocket.

Matty Banting stayed tight in the pocket.

4. The Rookies.
Matt Banting beat Mick Fanning with the tightest pocket wraps. He looked absolutely electrified. At one point, Wiggolly Dantas looked danger to actually take down Gabriel Medina – he was definitely throwing more spray than most other surfers today. With 10 minutes remaining, Wiggolly was sitting in first on an 8 and 8.93. Ultimately Gabs would come back and take the heat with an 18-point total, but Wiggolly made it clear that for him, this must be the place. As Ronnie Blakey said, “It’s actually Gabriel’s World Title win that’s empowered the likes of Wiggolly and that upcoming clan of Brazilian talent – they really do believe that they can beat the best surfers in the world.”

dusty_Payne_Beardp

Mr Payne really is just everything right now.

3. The New Dusty Payne!
Hair curation befitting of Sydney’s eastern suburbs (that beard! that ‘do!), and a devastating UFC-style rig… Dusty Payne get his hair did and hit the gym and is surfing better than he has ever surfed. His on-wave approach has re-focused and now favours a more power-based attack (but, he certainly hasn’t lost that finner). He won his first round heat convincingly. He’s also interviewing better than he has ever interviewed. You’ll find none of the distracted mumbling you perhaps associated with the Mr Payne of past, but rather a confident, clear-speaking and charismatic Hawaiian who’s so interesting and on his game that he may just be a realistic threat for the final day of this event. Believe!

'Scuse the low rez here... you'd do better to enjoy this wave in Heats On Demand.

‘Scuse the low rez here… you’d do better to enjoy this wave in Heats On Demand.

2. Julian Wilson.
Jules’ approach to Snapper last year, as he recently told Stab, went a little something like this: “Snapper is a high performance wave. If you go above the lip for a big manoeuvre, and if takes time to recover, then I thought that should be fine – it’s a high performance wave.” But as he quickly learned, high-performance in the above-lip sense of the term isn’t necessarily what will win heats. This year he opened the event in fashion that was… let’s not say “safe,” but perhaps just a little less risky. Jules only rode two waves, and while he couldn’t resist throwing one wildly good air reverse, the overall impression was one of power rather than tricks.

the-WSL_Mega_structure

1. The overwhelming presence of the WSL.
Structures. Big fucking structures, everywhere, and heaps of security and The Desk and the media-trained commissioners and food stalls and just so much stuff that makes the Quiksilver Pro feel unlike any other world tour event before it. The point at Snapper positively hums. Last year the new ASP stepped it up, but this year things are on another level entirely.

Oh, and…
Gabriel Medina is kinda popular.

The new Kelly, barely visible amidst his adoring public.

The new Kelly, barely visible amidst his adoring public.

Heats On Demand, here.

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