Josh Kerr: air strike in New York

It was all a Josh Kerr day. The inaugural Quiksilver Pro New York saw a creative aerialist taking over the event. Kerr, 27, reveled in the New York ramps and garnered both of the round’s highest single-wave scores of 9.50 and 9.07 (both out of 10) for monster no-grab air-reverses. The victims were Adriano de Souza and Kai Otton.

“It was like an expression session out there,” Kerr said. “I started getting scores and was enjoying myself out there with those little rip bowl rights. We all had 15 waves and I think we all had fun out there. I went for a free surf and the wind came up and I knew I was going to hunt the rights. It was perfect and I found a couple of those ramps so I’m stoked.”

Kerr advances directly into Round 3 of competition.

C.J. Hobgood is in need of a result at the Quiksilver Pro New York to keep his ASP Dream Tour campaign alive. The former ASP World Champion (2001) earned a Round 1 victory with amazing last-second heroics over an in-form Bede Durbidge (AUS), 28, when he belted an 8.37 (out of 10) with commanding rail-work in the dying moments of the heat.

"I guess I've had one or two dramatic finishes in my career, but there's a lot on the line for me in this contest and I was feeling pretty frustrated out there for most of the heat,” Hobgood said. “It had been lefts all day, but there were a lot of rights in my heat and Bede (Durbidge) got some big scores off the bat. I needed a big score at the end and when that wave came through, I pretty much threw everything I had at it."

Hobgood, a veteran campaigner among the world’s best surfers, admitted that the ability to adjust to the ever-changing conditions expected through the event window will be crucial in earning a successful result at Long Beach.

"Local knowledge can be an advantage out here, but everyone on tour can surf in every condition,” Hobgood said. “With the storm moving through this week, the conditions are going to change day-to-day so the surfers who adapt the fastest will be the most successful."

Alejo Muniz capitalized on today’s building swell and displayed a series of powerful rail-gouges on his forehand and critical backhand turns to earn a hard-fought victory over Australian goofy-footer Adrian Buchan and Floridian standout Cory Lopez.

“It’s pretty fun,” Muniz said. “It’s not that big, but there are still a couple bigger waves and I have a good board for small waves. I just tried to have fun. I started a little slow and my strategy was to go left, but my best wave was on the right and I improved throughout the heat. I always try to do big turns even though it’s small.”

Muniz was joined by fellow 2011 ASP Top 34 rookie Julian Wilson in posting big Round 1 wins today. Wilson surgically dismantled the playful afternoon peaks, posting an impressive 17.00 out of a possible 20 score, en route to a victory over Taylor Knox and Kieren Perrow.

“I tried not to watch Kersey (Josh Kerr) because I knew I’d try to over-surf,” Wilson said. “I started the heat how I wanted to, got a 5 and kind of built house on that. I made some silly mistakes, but I was pretty lucky to get some scores at the end. I knew if I got some sort of finner or reverse I’d get a good score. I was pretty jittery in the beginning of the heat, but as soon as I got the good one I felt confident.”

Kelly Slater opened his Quiksilver Pro New York campaign in lethal form with a solid Round 1 victory.

“New York has been good,” Slater said. “Everyone is super cool and I’m excited to be here. The waves are a little small, so it’s tough, but it’s the first round and no one loses and the swell should be building. My board felt good, it’s an epoxy, but pretty much same thing I’ve been riding. Hopefully we’ll find some peaky barrels and we’ll see what happens. I know that Hurricane swell is out there, so we’ll just see what happens.”

Slater, who regained the lead for the 2011 ASP World Title with his win at Teahupo’o last week, easily made the adjustment from the massive barrels of last week’s competition to today’s tricky beachbreak waves on offer in New York.

“After last week, it’s a little different in these waves,” Slater said. “You’ve got to find the sweet spot out there. Last week, you’re just trying to stay with it at spots like Teahupo’o, but on days like today there isn’t much energy so you’ve got to find it.”

Tiago Pires is also in need of a big result at the Quiksilver Pro New York in order to maintain his position among the elite ASP Top 34, and advanced directly through to Round 3 after heat-leader Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 23, suffered an interference on Damien Hobgood.

“I’ve just been feeling good and not thinking too much about points,” Pires said. “I just try to think about waves and just surf. I wasn’t nervous until Wilko (Matt Wilkinson) got the interference and I got the lead. Wilko kind of gave the heat to me, it was unlucky for him.”

QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.56, Brett Simpson (USA) 13.50, Travis Logie (ZAF) 6.57
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.67, Gabe Kling (USA) 3.43, Dane Reynolds (USA) N/S
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.93, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.84, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.46
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.77, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.00, Bobby Martinez (USA) 7.10
Heat 5: Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.83, Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.73, Asher Nolan (USA) 8.60
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.20, Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.66, Balaram Stack (USA) 6.07
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.40, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.27, Cory Lopez (USA) 12.97
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.97, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.77, Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.00
Heat 9: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.80, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.50, Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.66
Heat 10: Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.76, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.73, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.65
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.57, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.37, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.54
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.00, Taylor Knox (USA) 12.60, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.60