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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Surf Academy at The College 

The first ever college-based Surf Academy on the south coast is being launched at The Bournemouth and Poole College.

The exciting project is expected to attract students from across the southwest region to take part in full time study as well as honing their surfing techniques, skills and qualifications.

The Surf Academy is a great opportunity for youngsters looking at going into the ever expanding surf industry. Beginners and advanced surfers are welcome to apply and will be invited to attend an interview.

The College is ideally placed to launch this Academy not only for its close proximity to some of the UK’s finest beaches, but also for its closeness to the UK’s first ever artificial surf reef, which forms part of the Honeycomb Chine development in Boscombe.

Members of the Surf Academy will take a bespoke programme consisting of an academic qualification of their choice plus surf specific courses and activities. They will also receive surf coaching from BSA instructors and specialist sessions in surf fitness, nutrition, psychology, contest techniques and tactics.

Courses

The sports courses available to Surf Academy members are:

BTEC First Diploma in Sport (Outdoor Activities)
BTEC National Certificate Sport (Outdoor Activities)
Academy members will also have access to training towards a broad range of qualifications such as:
BSA Assistant Surf Coach Award
BSA Surf Progression Awards 1-5
BSA Lifesaving Skills Awards 1-5
First Aid Certificate
Community Sport Leader Award

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Corey Ziems 

Underdogs Corey Ziems (Currumbin, Qld) and Ashleigh Smith (Cabarita, NSW) will get to surf against the world’s best after winning wildcards into the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro’s presented by LG Mobile at Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast today.

Ziems will now face world no.3 Taj Burrow (Yallingup, Aus) in round one of the season-opening ASP men’s world tour event. Smith will also have her work cut out having drawn best friend and two-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore (Aus) at her local break of Snapper Rocks in the ASP women’s world tour event.

20-year-old Smith proved too good in the highly-anticipated Roxy Pro trials final, going from strength-to-strength to beat Coolangatta surfer Ellie-Jean Coffey (14, Qld), Gold Coast based Kiwi surfer Sarah Mason (13, Tugun, Qld) and Lennox Head star Tyler Wright (14, NSW) to secure the lone wildcard into the world tour event.

In winning the final 13.85 to Coffey’s 11.75, Smith overcome three much younger opponents.

With the average age of professional surfers getting younger each year, Smith was pleased to end the run of her teenage opponents.

“They’ve all been ripping out their,” said Smith.

“I just went out and had fun and kept doing what I was doing.”

“I wasn’t even expecting to win. I can’t believe it’s happened. It’s crazy.”

The Cabarita natural foot, who went to school with Gilmore at Kingscliff High in the state’s north, says they’ve been dreaming of the day that they could surf at their local break with just two of them out.

“We’ve been saying since we were grommets that we would love a heat at Snapper together,” she said.

“It’s finally going to happen. It’s so cool.”

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