Kelly Slater: he loves the Gold Coast

Wave conditions have improved and surfers are back in the water. The 2011 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast has resumed heat competition after several lay days. The consistent three-to-four foot (1.5 metre) swell on offer at Snapper Rocks provided the best performances of the event so far.

Jordy Smith posted a 17.17 out of a possible 20 for an unmatched affinity with the barrel, massive turns and aerials. The high-fi exhibition was enough to eliminate replacement surfer Cory Lopez.

“I was pretty nervous going into my heat,” Smith said. “Cory (Lopez), I know how well he surfs and I didn’t want to get stuck behind the rocks. Matt (Wilkinson) and those guys psyched me up and it was fun out there surfing with one other guy. I’m feeling really good,” Smith said. “I feel confident. I have nice boards under my feet and am taking it one event at a time. I’m having fun with it.”

Matt Wilkinson put on an electric performance in Round 3 today. The progressive goofy-footer blasted away at the bowly righthanders, netting a 9.27 out of a possible 10 for one of the highest single-wave scores of the day.

“It was fun out there,” Wilkinson said. “I think the more nervous I get the better I surf. I paddled out too early and had too much time to think. It felt good and it’s good to get the crowd on their feet so I’m stoked. Dane’s (Reynolds) always the most exciting guy at every event so hopefully I can take his spot while he’s not here".

Kelly Slater, 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, went out and put on a clinic of his own today, taking down wildcard Matt Banting, 16, with an incredible display of barrel-riding, progressive turns and aerials.

“I actually started getting a little distracted before my heat because Wilko (Matt Wilkinson) is one of my favorites to watch,” Slater said. “Sometimes he doesn’t make it, but he always pulls something big out of his bag. There are a couple of guys that are really exciting to watch here on their backhand.”

“It was fun,” Slater said. “I got a couple of good waves and fell on the best wave of the heat. I probably would have got a 9 if I just stood there, so that’s a little frustrating. It was a fun heat though. I felt like I had two solid scores. My first board felt good, but I felt like I consolidated on a few good scores and wanted to try a new one (board) out.”

Slater will battle Matt Wilkinson, 22, and Michel Bourez, 25, when Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast competition recommences.

Dusty Payne (HAW), 22, into his second year amongst the elite ASP Top 34, caused the upset of the event this morning, eliminating two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, in their Round 3 clash.

“I’m stoked,” Payne said. “Any time you beat those Top 5 or Top 10 guys, you’ve got to be happy with yourself and I’m happy with my performance. I just wish I could have found another good wave.”

QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Dusty Payne (HAW) 11.77 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.00
Heat 2: Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.84 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.70
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.17 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.27
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.60 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 6.76
Heat 5: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.60 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 11.93
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.93 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 9.87
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.17 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.77
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (AUS) 14.60 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 10.67
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.54 def. Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.16
Heat 10: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.26 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 11.44
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.14 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 7.17
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.27 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.94

QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Dusty Payne (HAW), Tiago Pires (PRT), Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Brett Simpson (USA), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 4: Alejo Muniz (BRA), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Taj Burrow (AUS)