Owen Wright: snapping rocks

Five Australian surfers have secured a place in the Quarterfinals of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2012. Owen Wright, Josh Kerr, Joel Parkinson, Taj Burrow and Adrian Buchan will try to get a home win against Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and Jordy Smith.


Snapper Rocks is still pumping good two-to-three foot (1 metre) surf. De Souza will once again face Owen Wright. Kelly Slater didn't take his foot off the gas in his morning Round 4 heat win. The iconic Floridian built momentum throughout the affair, even changing equipment mid-heat to adjust to the conditions.

"On that first wave I could tell my board didn't have the pop I wanted," Slater said. "Because the waves are so small, you need a small board to fit in the pocket, so I switched to a shorter, wider board. None of us really got in sync in that one. It was really tough to pick the right waves. I only woke up 40 minutes before my heat. I thought we were going to be off today so I was sleeping in and I got a call saying 'get up, we're on.'"

Jordy Smith edged out Joel Parkinson and Miguel Pupo, in an exciting Round 4 exchange at Snapper Rocks. Smith and Parkinson put on an epic show for the crowd and finished the heat with only 0.14 separating their score lines.


"I wanted to beat Joel (Parkinson) bad," Smith said. "He has beaten me pretty much my whole life, so I've got a lot to get him back for. He's also one of my favourite surfers so it's tough to come up against him. Miguel (Pupo) is another tough one because he's got all the tricks in the book. Choosing the right waves is pretty key out there."

Joel Parkinson posted the event's first perfect 10-point-ride in 2012 in his afternoon Round 5 match. Parkinson battled Julian Wilson, for a Quarterfinal berth in glassy conditions this afternoon and the local natural-footer was in unbeatable form.

"I got stung by a blue-bottle and that fired me up!" Parkinson said. "There's still some good waves out there and I thought we were going to have an air-off. Julian (Wilson) did some, and I tried a few, then that one came through and it had some good air sections, but they were better turn sections. I've got some rivalries going today - I surfed against Jordy (Smith) and we have a good one going, now Julian and I are one building too. That's what makes healthy competition. You're happy to get involved in a real rivalry."

Taj Burrow once again showcased his familiarity and affinity with Snapper Rocks by posting a massive heat total - 17.34 (out of a possible 20).

"It was pretty much a 9-point-wave by itself and I just rode it," Burrow said. "I got one good turn out the back and then one good one on the end. The judges like a good start and a good finish, so I knew it would be up there. Once I had that 9, I just really wanted to back it up with something solid. It's pretty tough out there, but I managed to find another good score."

The Roxy Gold Coast whittled the field down four women. Tyler Wright eliminated reigning ASP Women's World Champion and defending event winner Carissa Moore, in a re-match of last year's Final. Wright was ferocious in her assault on the waves at Snapper Rocks, posting two excellent scores en route to causing the biggest upset of the event.

"I knew I had to do something big to beat her," Wright said. "She's the ASP Women's World Champ. I think she won three events last year so I knew it was going to be tough. I was lucky enough that I got the good waves. If she got them she would have smashed me too."

Wright will face compatriot Laura Enever, in the Semifinals of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast when competition resumes. Sally Fitzgibbons clocked a pair of scores in the 8-point-range to eliminate newcomer Malia Manuel in today's Quarterfinals.

Manuel would end up with Eqaul 5th and bragging rights as the highest placed rookie at the 2012 Roxy Pro. Fitzgibbons will take on four-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, in the Semifinals.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinals:

 HEAT 1: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
 HEAT 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
 HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
 HEAT 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)