Josh Kerr: fun, fun, fun

Thousands of excited New Yorkers have packed Long Beach for the crucial rounds of the 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York, in in pumping three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) surfable waves.

Two hurricanes have passed by the sixth stop of the ASP World Title Series: Katia and Bobby Martinez. The US surfer surprised everyone with his bad words against the Dream Tour.

"First of all, I’d like to say - and the ASP are going to fine me - ‘cuz I don’t want to be a part of this dumb fucking wannabe tennis tour. All these pro surfers want to be tennis players", said Martinez, here.

Bobby will be out of the ASP competitions, at least, until the end of the year. Meanwhile, there's so much to be surfed. Josh Kerr clawed his way back in to his Round 4 heat after Kelly Slater took a commanding lead with a 9.37 for a big frontside alley-oop.

The progressive Australian answered with two airs of his own, first launching a massive backside varial to the tune of 9.57 and immediately caught another wave, this time lofting a gigantic alley-oop for a 9.70 to overtake the reigning 10-time ASP World Champion and advance directly through to the Quarterfinals.

“I can’t believe it just happened like that,” Kerr said. “I didn’t expect to make that varial and when I did I thought, ‘it’s time to go now.’ Then I got one straight after it. I couldn’t have planned it any better. The fans are really cool and it’s great to be in New York with everyone screaming, it’s great. I definitely gained confidence from that heat. I’ve never beaten Kelly (Slater) and I’m just so stoked right now.”

Owen Wright went on a rampage against former ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood, in his Round 3 heat, tearing through the high-performance lefts and rights at Long Beach. The lanky goofy-footer posted the highest single-wave score of the event, 9.80 out of 10, when he unveiled a ferocious, inverted backside air-reverse to solidify the victory and went on to take out his Round 4 heat in commanding fashion to advance into the Quarterfinals.

“I just went out there and knew it would be a hard heat with C.J. (Hobgood) needing a result and me wanting a result,” Wright said. “I was excited to get out there to have a good heat. I put together a good one and C.J. just didn’t find his rhythm. I really enjoyed it and had a really good time.”

Hobgood, a fixture on the elite ASP Dream Tour for more than a decade, needed to defeat Wright in their Round 3 bout to remain on the ASP World Title Series for 2011, but was gracious in defeat regarding the tough loss.

“At the end of it, I don’t want to be known as the 2001 World Champion,” Hobgood said. “I want to be known as a guy that loved Jesus and loved everyone and had fun and that’s it. It’s not a sad day for me. The waves are pumping and Owen went mad in that heat. Everything happens for a reason and I’m enjoying the beautiful day here today. It’s just awesome to be a part of.”

Heitor Alves was also responsible for two big upsets today, taking down two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning, in Round 3 before eliminating current ASP World Title contender Joel Parkinson, in Round 5.

“I can’t believe it,” Alves said. “I’m so tired right now after surfing three heats and happy too. I beat Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning. Thanks to God for everything he has given me. I’m looking for my best result, maybe I’ll find it here.”

Kelly Slater rebounded after his Round 4 loss and took a convincing victory over Jeremy Flores in Round 5 despite the tough onshore afternoon conditions and the veteran surfer admitted the importance of advancing into the Quarterfinals while hunting an ASP World Title.

“The conditions are tough,” Slater said. “It has changed a lot from my last heat and with the rips from east wind, it’s a lot trickier, especially on the lefts. I was trying to find peaky mid-sized rights and wasn’t sure where to sit. Obviously you want to make at least Quarterfinals when you’re in position for a World Title. Maybe Owen (Wright) and Joel (Parkinson) are facing the pressure for that as well.”

UPCOMING QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK QUARTERFINALS MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 3: Alejo Muniz (BRA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
QF 4: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)