Who will be claiming Snapper Rocks?

February 23, 2012 | Surfing
Kelly Slater: the exit door is right ahead

Welcome to Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast, Australia. The iconic point-break is ready to present you the most incredible surfing performances ever seen. The 2012 ASP World Tour will show you four young talents that are here to stay: Gabriel Medina, John John Florence, Miguel Pupo and Kolohe Andino.

The best male and female surfers on the planet are warming up for the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, the first flame of the 2012 top pro surfing season. Any bets?

The event officially launched with 11-time world champion and defending event champion, Kelly Slater and women’s world champion and defending event champion, Carissa Moore in attendance along with four-time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, World No.2 Sally Fitzgibbons, former event champion Taj Burrow and wildcard entrant Dane Reynolds.

The launch began with the traditional blessing of the event site by Dhinawan Dreaming dance group and saw the start of a 20m interactive Aboriginal cave painting mural.

Slater, who recently turned 40, was typically coy on whether he would compete for a full year on tour, but reiterated how important a good result at the Quiksilver Pro was for getting on a role for the rest of the year particularly against a highly talented bunch of rookies.

“The question (on retiring) comes up each year and each year I don’t know,” Slater said. “Part of me wants to do other stuff, but sometimes the tour is fun. I’m just not too stressed about it.

“There always be younger guys setting a new direction and there’ll always be change and advancement. Which I think is great. But no-one would deny how good the new group coming through is.”

While Slater may be used to the added pressure that comes with being a world champion, 20-year-old Moore, is experiencing the glare of the spotlight for the first time. “I’m now definitely the hunted after been the hunter and it’s a different sort of pressure,” Moore said. “But it’s something I’m learning to deal with.”

Two-time event champion Burrow (Aus) is excited to see the level of skill the young guys are going to bring to the Quiksilver Pro this year. “It just keeps getting better and better,” Burrow said. “The depth of the field is incredible and it keeps us on our toes to keep up with the progression and for us to try and feed off that hunger.”

The event is set to start with the Moskova Trials tomorrow. The winner of both the men’s and women’s trials will receive the final wildcard entry into the main events which is scheduled to start on Saturday with a promising swell forecast.