No alarms, but a few surprises at Snapper Rocks

March 11, 2016 | Surfing
Filipe Toledo: starting strong at Snapper Rocks | Photo: Cestari/WSL

It's on. The opening day of the 2016 World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) got underway in three-to-five-foot surf at Snapper Rocks, on the Gold Coast.

The 2016 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is always a tough test for pro surfers. And the first event of the season brought, as always, the first surprises. Adriano de Souza, Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith and John John Florence were forced to surf the repechage round.

The Brazilian Armada seems ready to attack the top spots. In the first heat of the year, Italo Ferreira proved he will be mixing with the stars of the sport. He won his Round 1 clash and is through to Round 3.

"Last year was the most amazing year of my life. I surfed with my heroes and had a good year. I'm really excited to be back this season and hope I can do better. Very happy to win the first heat of the year," said Ferreira.

Filipe Toledo won at Snapper Rocks last year, and he will be hard to beat in 2016. The Brazilian prodigy advances after defeating Jadson Andre and Stu Kennedy.

"I am now trying to push harder in ways that I really need to improve. Last year I had a good feeling fighting for the title so this year I feel more comfortable. I know I have the potential to be there, too," expressed Toledo.

Mick Fanning might be embarking on a relaxed solo trip, but he didn't lose his competitive verve. The Australian secured the second highest heat total of the day.

"I wasn't tense; I was laughing and relaxed. Even paddling out in the heat I wanted to surf and get a couple of good waves, and it was fun. I always just want to go surfing. I'm not as freaked out to be the first one in the water anymore it is more about just surfing when I want to surf and being in love with it," added Fanning.

Matt Wilkinson, who recently won the Australian Open of Surfing, managed to send Kelly Slater and Conner Coffin to Round 2. Wilkinson seems fitter than ever.

"It started off a little bit slow, and I put down a fairly good score and then I had priority. With Kelly and Conner out there I knew I had to use my priority ride. That one came, and Kelly was paddling, and I took off. I ended up with a really good one, so I was stoked," concluded Wilkinson.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2016 | Round 2 Match-Ups:

Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
John John Florence (HAW) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Matt Banting (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)

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