Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: Mick Fanning tries to hide from the crowd

Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover was completed today in pulsing two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at Snapper Rocks on Australia’s Gold Coast.

The opening event of the 2010 ASP World Tour season, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast ignites the greatest assemblage of surfing talent in history, and today’s top performers proved no surprise with perennial ASP World Title threats dominating Round 1 of competition.

Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 6, has refocused his attention on vying for an unprecedented 10th ASP World Title this season, and his dominance is the opening round of competition put his fellow competitors on notice. Slater posted the highest heat total of the day, a 17.77 out of a possible 20, including the day’s high single-wave score of a 9.27 out of a possible 10 for a deep forehand barrel.

“I missed a really good wave at the beginning of the heat and it kind of focused me,” Slater said. “I was looking at the thing just barreling off at me and it was really frustrating so I thought I needed to be more patient. I got that 8.50, it looked like it might fatten out and it had that slow steep at the beginning so I got that carve in. I was waiting for it to build back up and then it lined up and was a good wave. Obviously that 9.00 too, probably the best wave that came in during the heat, the thing barreled really hard and was fun."

Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, reigning two-time ASP World Champion, wasted no time in reasserting himself as one of the most lethal surfers on tour this year, dispatching of compatriot Kai Otton (AUS), 30, and wildcard Garrett Parkes (AUS), 18, with an excellent 17.36 out of a possible 20.

“It’s great,” Fanning said. “I’m stoked to be able to surf good Snapper to start off the year. Happy to get through a heat and bounce back from last week (at Burleigh Heads). I was really just looking to get scores on the board, which went fine. I’m having a bit of a hard time with my boards. My shaper Darren (Handley) and I kind of went backwards during the off-season. I was lucky this old one was good enough so hopefully we get a few of these made."

With an increasingly difficult sweep running through the line-up, the world’s best surfers not only battled one another, but Mother Nature as well. Fanning, utilizing years of experience at the break, used the conditions to his advantage.

“You just have to know what to look for out in the water,” Fanning said. “It’s a little bit tricky and what can look like a good wave behind the rock doesn’t always last. I’m just stoked to get through.”

Other top seeds Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, Bede Durbidge (AUS), 27, and Adriano De Souza (BRA), 23, also posted Round 1 victories.

Owen Wright (AUS), 20, Brett Simpson (USA), 25, Dusty Payne (HAW), 21, and Jadson Andre (BRA), 19, led the rookie charge today, all three collecting Round 1 heat wins and advancing directly into Round 3. Wright looked impressive in the challenging afternoon conditions, besting fellow rookie Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 24, and current ASP World No. 15, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 28, in their opening round bout.

“It feels good to have my first heat on the ASP World Tour,” Wright said. “It’s tough work out there with a few run-arounds. A few poundings and it’s just great to be out there. Really exciting to put the singlet on and have a god against the world’s best.”

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.

When Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast competition resumes, up first will be current ASP World No. 4 Taj Burrow (AUS), 31, up against wildcard Garrett Parkes (AUS), 18, in the opening heat of the man-on-man elimination Round 2.

For the first time in the event’s storied nine-year history, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is being broadcast LIVE on FUEL TV in Australia, beaming the world’s best surfing right into your living room. A 90-minute highlight show will be televised each night as well.

To find out how you can watch the world’s best surfers in one of the world’s most iconic pointbreaks LIVE on FUEL TV, check out www.foxsports.com.au/fueltv

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast pres. by Land Rover will feature the world’s best surfers from February 27 through March 10, 2010 and will be webcast LIVE via www.quiksilverpro.com.au

The Roxy Pro Gold Coast, featuring the ASP Top 17, will run in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 RESULTS:

Heat 1: Brett Simpson (USA) 10.67, Dane Reynolds (USA) 6.70, Roy Powers (HAW) 6.24
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.67, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.23, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 7.97
Heat 3: Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.26, Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.70, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 11.94
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.30, Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.36, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.26
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.77, Ben Dunn (AUS) 9.50, Marco Polo (BRA) 7.34
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.90, Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.47, Blake Thornton (AUS) 8.86
Heat 7: Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.50, Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.13, Neco Padaratz (BRA) 6.64
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.36, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.53, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 10.77
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.17, Blake Ainsworth (AUS) 9.73, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 6.23
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.57, Mick Campbell (AUS) 14.40, Craig Anderson (AUS) 6.16
Heat 11: Dusty Payne (HAW) 11.60, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9.10, Drew Courtney (AUS) 4.76
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.83, Luke Stedman (AUS) 10.56, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 8.23
Heat 13: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.80, Jay Thompson (AUS) 10.66, Andy Irons (HAW) 5.83
Heat 14: Luke Munro (AUS) 12.73, Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.27, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 9.40
Heat 15: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.10, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.53, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.57
Heat 16: Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.94, Adam Melling (AUS) 11.30, Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.17

QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Garrett Parkes (AUS)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Blake Ainsworth (AUS)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Craig Anderson (USA)
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 5: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 7: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 8: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 9: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Nathan Yeomans (USA)
Heat 11: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 12: Mick Campbell (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 13: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 14: Ben Dunn (AUS) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 15: Roy Powers (HAW) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)
Heat 16: Drew Courtney (AUS) vs. Luke Stedman (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), Tyler Wright (AUS)
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)


SOURCE: ASP World