Where’s Our Golden Sand? (Act III)
Instead of working chronologically through today's heats at the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast, let us start from the end this time around. Which is far more sensical when the last heat of the day starred Joel Parkinson and Dane Reynolds. It was the first time the pair had surfed against each other at Snapper since the 2010 heat that won't ever be forgotten. "You always have one or two mistakes that haunt you," Joel said today. "And I got a good wave in 2010 and just didn't let loose enough. And that was haunting me just then, so I thought, I'm giving it my all."
And he did give it his all, clocking a 9.87 (along with a 6.17) and eliminating Dane. "Dane's regarded as, and we all know he is, the most exciting surfer at the moment, on the planet," admitted Joel. "It's still a 30-minute heat, and you still can't think too much about it, but definitely when you start hearing the crowd cheer hard, you know Dane's doing something. He's unbelievable, so talented, that boy. It's kinda good 'cause he got me in 2010, we had an amazing heat with a coupla nines. I thought that heat was starting to get like that, the eights and nines started dropping, then Mother Nature just filled the tide up and it was over. We just sat there."
Joel's also carrying the confidence of a world champ: "I can win this event for sure, I wouldn't be in it if I couldn't win it."
Keeping with the backwards theme, we must now reverse to Michel Bourez and Alejo Muniz. The highest-scoring heat of the day, Alejo's 17.57 total fell just short of Michel's 17.90. Alejo's second wave, and particularly the last two turns, are H.O.D required viewing, but the power exerted in Michel's two scoring waves is hard to fathom. “It was such a tricky heat because I had an early lead and had to hold on pretty much from the beginning of the heat,” said Michel. “Alejo had to fight back, and he did, and I had to watch him stay busy the whole heat. Very happy to hold on and to keep surfing in the event.”
Another step backwards and we land on Julian Wilson's victory over Sebastian 'Seabass' Zietz. While winning here would be the sweetest fruit for Jules, this event also dishes out the most distractions for him. "It's the event that I look forward to the most, but I definitely feel the most pressure here," said the Sunny-Coaster. "Having my family here, this is the only event of the year my dad makes it to, and raising breast cancer awareness, I'll always have that extra need to do really, really well here. It's hard not to be distracted. This would be the sweetest victory for me, for sure. Hopefully this is the year I'll do it, I've never had the result I've wanted here. I grew up surfing these waves, so there's no reason why I shouldn't be getting a better result."
Jules was realistic about feeling a little lost at the start of the heat, but believes y'gotta turn it around halfway through. "The whole first half of that heat wasn't great. My first wave was a really good wave and I over-cooked it on my last turn. I was a bit out of sync and it threw me off on my second wave. Halfway through the heat, I was really starting from scratch. I had to rise above the butterflies. And I also took in what Seabass was doing, which was taking the smaller waves, where the wave was kinda coming back at him, and he could do those reverses and stuff."
Then, a little earlier, there was Taj Burrow, last year's winner, taking down rookie Filipe Toledo. On one of his scoring waves, Taj linked some turns into a clean air reverse, despite sharing some recent thoughts that the move is becoming too common. "You know why (I did one), though?" laughed TB. "It was such a good wave and I felt like I absolutely butchered it, so I had to throw a decent air to get the score out of it. Luckily, even downwind, I just got the grab and made it. That wave was sick, and I knew there wasn't many sick ones, and I surfed it so bad! Until that air, which felt pretty good."
Never mind the bashfulness – Taj looked lightning to all those on the beach. And from the shore, the conditions seemed to improved through the day, with the promise of even more Snapper shape for the rest of the event. But, for those actually in the lineup, it ain't so black and white: "It's so tricky," said Taj. "I don't really know what it's doing. The good ones are pretty obvious when they come, there's just not many. You're not looking for one that's gonna go the whole way down the point, I feel like you're just looking for a steepish one that's gonna offer you two or three big turns."
Something else that it's important for you to know is that John John Florence is no longer in this event. Tweaking his ankle in the expression session yesterday after landing funky on a frontside spin, John opted to play it safe and hold off til next event. Which is a bummer for everyone except Adam Melling, who would've faced the Hawaiian today.
Check back in tomorrow morning for the rest of round three, hopefully, and more. – Elliot Struck
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 5: Dusty Payne (HAW) 14.44 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 14.43
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.23 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.34
Heat 7: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.00 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.66
Heat 8: Nat Young (USA) 15.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.60
Heat 9: Adam Melling (AUS) 15.90 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.80
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.80 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 12.60
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.90 def. Glenn Hall (IRL) 11.10
Heat 12: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 16.37 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.93
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) advances past John John Florence (HAW)
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.50 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.13
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.66 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.43
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.80 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.27
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.90 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 17.57
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.04 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.77
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST REMAINING ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Nat Young (USA)