Roxy Pro Gold Coast

Day 1 of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile is in the books, and the new guard of women’s surfing announced their intentions with style, punch and bite in clean two-foot (0.75 metre) waves at Duranbah Beach.

Event No. 1 of 8 on the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast opted to relocate from the primary site of Snapper Rocks this morning to Duranbah Beach to take advantage of the conditions on offer, and in addition to the unparalleled dominance of reigning two-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21, the 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookies took full advantage of the beachbreak conditions, claiming wins in four of the six Round 1 heats.

Gilmore, who is on the hunt for a third consecutive ASP Women’s World Title in 2009, controlled her Round 1 heat from the outset today, easily dispatching of Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 21, and trials winner Ashleigh Smith (AUS), 21.

“The conditions this morning were pretty hard actually – it was really small,” Gilmore said. “The waves on the Gold Coast have been firing for the past two weeks, so it was a little disappointing, but at the same time there were some fun ones out there.”

With the swell forecast for the event window becoming a challege, the possibility of various venues looms large for the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, but Gilmore’s familiarity with her many local breaks gives the talented natural-footer great confidence moving forward.

"I am pretty confident and comfortable in any kind of waves on the Gold Coast I guess,” Gilmore said. “I love all the pointbreaks and D-Bah is where I surf everyday. Wherever we are [I am looking forward to it]."

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 18, 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour rookie, took command in a hard-fought Round 1 heat, scoring the highest heat total of the day, with an 18.77 out of a possible 20, to overtake Silvana Lima (BRA), 24, and Megan Abubo (HAW), 31.

“It was a good start to the event,” Fitzgibbons said. “I was really looking forward to competing up here on the Gold Coast. We were lucky we had a good heat for waves. I was just looking to get on a roll to push me through the whole event."

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Avalon Beach 

A 15-year-old surfing boy was badly injured in a shark attack in the popular beach of Avalon, near Sidney, Australia.

It is the third attack in this city in a month. The teenager was in the water with his father when he was attacked.

"Half an hour later the father heard a scream and turned to see his son thrashing about in the water. Fortunately the shark swam away and the boy was helped to shore by his father," police said in a statement.

The teenager was airlifted to hospital for treatment for leg injuries. The bites got through to the bone but the surfer had no fractures.

After the attack, several beaches were closed while water police and lifeguards were searching for the shark.

There are a lot of shark species in this area but attacks on humans are still rare.

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Kelly Slater in the 2009 Quiksilver Pro 

The opening day of the 2009 ASP World Tour season got underway this morning, with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by LG completing Round 1 in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at the backup venue of Duranbah Beach.

Event No. 1 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast opted to mobilize from the primary site of Snapper Rocks to nearby Duranbah Beach this morning to take advantage of the increased wave heights on offer, and despite conditions being challenging at times, the world’s best surfers delivered an explosive opening day of competition.

Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning and nine-time ASP World Champion, took to experimenting with his equipment during Round 1, opting to ride an unconventional self-shaped, 5’4” round-tail quad en route to victory over Dayyan Neve (AUS), 30, and Daniel Wills (AUS), 33.

"I am surfing a little 5’4" - a board I made actually – a pretty drastic change to what I normally ride but the tail is very similar,” Slater said. “This is the step I wanted to take when I went [to shorter boards] last year from 6’1" to 5’10" and I thought I was kind of stopping there but we’ll see. 5’4" is too short and I might end up with a 5’6" or a 5’7"."

Historically candid about his intentions to compete full-time on the ASP World Tour, Slater has since committed to his interest in acquiring a 10th world crown, albeit with guarded apprehension.

"It looks good on paper but honestly I am not that consumed about it,” Slater said. “The only time I talk about is when people ask me. It’s just a nice round number, double digits, and it’s rare for people to get that in sports so it will be nice to make it."

Julian Wilson (AUS), 20, gained entry into the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast as a wildcard, and went on to cause one of the biggest upsets of the day, defeating current ASP World No. 2 Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, and Mikael Picon (FRA), 29, in Round 1 of competition.

"I had a little bit of pressure before that heat,” Wilson said. “I was anxious to get out there and get it done. But when I walked down before my heat, I saw my friends and family so I kind of relaxed and then went out there and got a couple of waves and made it. I haven’t made it passed the third round so I am really fired up to getting pass that round. I’ll probably get Kelly (Slater) in the third round so I’ll see what happens."

Riding a fluorescent pink surfboard to raise awareness about breast cancer, Wilson’s progressive approach saw him execute a number of technical aerials and fin-free maneuvers before breaking his equipment in half during the latter stages of the heat.

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