Joel Parkinson: look up, mate

Four-to-five metre waves pumped the surf of the Telstra Drug Aware Pro, at Margaret River. It was not easy to face the giant walls of water and a few surfers were caught between sets in the strong white water.

Kelly Slater was the only surfer riding a small board. The Floridian chose a 5’9”, while others opted by longer boards.

"When I was paddling out I was thinking I should have taken out an 8 footer," said Slater. "But when I had to duckdive a bomb set I was glad I had a small board I could push way down."

The 39 year-old master quickly secured two good scoring waves to place him comfortably ahead of his nearest opponent, Masatoshi Ohno of Japan.

"I was having a ball out there, I was laughing the whole time!" said a clearly stoked Slater. Eliminated behind Slater and Ohno were Matt Wilkinson of Australia and Pablo Paulino of Brazil.

Taj Burrow impressed in the wild conditions. The former winner survived the Margaret River washing machine to progress comfortably behind fellow Aussie, Kai Otton.

"It's wild and wooley," said Taj. "Lots of big lumps. The conditions might favour the locals a little bit, but everyone cops a beating out there, no matter who you are."

Boards were broken, bodies were bruised, but it was a great day of surfing and it showed on the competitors faces. After winning his round of 96 heat in the morning Joel Parkinson was counting down the minutes until his next heat in the afternoon.

"It's hard out there. You think you're sitting in the right spot then a wave breaks 30 foot further out or 30 foot further in. But I can't complain, I had a fun - It's good to surf some bigger waves. I can't wait to get back out there" said Joel Parkinson who was also super impressive winning his early heat of the day.