- 22 February 2010 | Surfing
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover, Stop No. 1 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, will commence its waiting period this weekend, ushering in the greatest assemblage of surfing talent in history with 15 ASP World Titles being represented amongst the 48-man draw.
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 6, will return to the singlet this season, challenging for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title against the world's best surfers in the world's best waves. Coming away with an ASP Dream Tour win in Brazil last season, Slater made a mid-year challenge for the crown, yet fell short of the Australian onslaught.
"I never found myself in the right mind frame to deal with the pressure of a tenth title and find the excitement and purpose for what I was doing for more than a few heats last year," Slater said. "Brazil worked out but all the close heats went the other guy's way and I just made a lot of mind decisions and not surfing from the gut and real feelings. I am comfortable with 9 (ASP World Titles), but yeah, 10 has a certain allure to it."
The iconic natural-footer opened up the 2009 season on self-shaped, experimental designs that yielded mixed results. The ripple effect it caused, however, echoed throughout the remainder of the year, with the world's best surfers ing their respective equipment and collectively applying a more radical approach to their surfing.
"I love designing and experimenting," Slater said. "I love music. I love using the artistic brain and challenging myself and the way things are accepted around us. There is no shortage of things to do, only time and focus to do them. Last year was a radical change for my boards and surprising to a lot of people. I am sure some of those changes are here to stay and will be on my equipment. I am still working it out now."
Slater will face current ASP World No. 22, Ben Dunn (AUS), 24, and 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie, Marco Polo (BRA), 28, in the opening round of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
Owen Wright (AUS), 20, 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie, is one man who slashed holes in Slater's ASP World Title campaign last season, besting the Floridian as a wildcard on two separate occasions - in Bells Beach and Portugal. With a full arsenal of progressive aerials and high-performance turns, and a devastating competitive record, Wright enters the 2010 ASP World Tour season as one of the most closely watched rookies in history.
"I would love to perform well in my heats and make the cut offs by the end of the year," Wright said. "I have been surfing heaps and going right as much as possible. The swell has been pumping which is sick!"
Wright will take on current ASP World No. 15, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 28, and fellow 2010 ASP World Tour rookie, Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 24, in Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
Slater and Wright will take on the world's best surfers including reigning two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, 2009 ASP World Runner-Up Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, progressive innovators Dane Reynolds (USA), 24, and Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, amongst others.
Rounding out the 48-man draw at Snapper Rocks will be wildcards Garrett Parkes (AUS), 18, and Craig Anderson (AUS), 21, as well we the winner of the 16-man Trials, to be held Friday.
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Dane Reynolds (USA), Roy Powers (HAW), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS), Chris Davidson (AUS), Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), TBA
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), TBA
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Mick Campbell (AUS), TBA
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Drew Courtney (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA), Luke Stedman (AUS), Nathan Yeomans (USA)
Heat 13: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Andy Irons (HAW), Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 14: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Carissa Moore (HAW)
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bruna Schmitz (BRA), TBA
Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Nikita Robb (ZAF)
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), Lee Ann Curren (FRA)
Heat 6: Melanie Bartels (HAW), Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Amee Donohoe (AUS)