Competition at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by BOQ recommenced today after 11 consecutive lay days and ran through Round 2 at Snapper Rocks. The world’s best surfers battled through tough conditions to avoid elimination and earn a place in Round 3.
Kolohe Andino (USA) and Jeremy Flores (FRA) delivered one of the most exciting bouts of the day in Round 2 Heat 7. Both surfers got to work quickly, posting several scores each in the opening ten minutes, with Flores taking a slight edge, unleashing on the Snapper Walls. A thrilling battle unfolded between the pair and an exciting exchange played out, with the lead going back and forth. Andino, fresh from victory at the Australian Open, was able cement a narrow win over the Frenchman with an excellent 8.73, and moves through to Round 3.
“I was planning on surfing my own heat and not worrying about him, but then I had to because he was surfing so good,” said Andino. “Even if I didn’t win that heat I would have felt like I surfed my best but I’m stoked. I haven’t been using a leash in about a week so I was a bit nervous to throw one on so I chose not to today.”
“I felt good and did the best with the waves I got,” said Flores. “I’m really angry but that’s how it goes. Next time hopefully it goes my way.”
The much-anticipated opening heat of Round 2 saw three-time World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) take on wildcard Dane Reynolds (USA). Fanning looked smooth and clean in the marginal conditions, using dynamic turns and wrapping cutbacks to earn an excellent 15.50 two-wave heat total, leaving Reynolds in a combination situation with ten minutes gone. After a solid start from the Australian, Reynolds struggled to find high-scoring potential. The wildcard posted a 6.93 to put himself back in contention, but was left searching for a 8.57. Fanning takes the win and moves through to Round 3, while Reynolds becomes the first surfer to be eliminated from the competition.
“It's our job to be ready every day,” Fanning said. “Being in the first heat kept me focused through all those lay days. You never really know what you‘re going to get with Dane. I didn’t really have a game plan, I just wanted to get up and get busy.”
“I’ve been checking the forecast constantly over the lay days just hoping it’s going to look good, but unfortunately there wasn’t much,” said Reynolds. “I hope there’s a possibility of surfing in other events this season, but I’m not sure after that performance!”
11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) faced trials winner Jack Freestone (AUS) in Heat 2 of Round 2. Slater posted two solid scores with his opening rides and the young Australian was left with just a 3.03 on the board, searching for opportunities. An attempt in the final minute by Freestone fell short and he leaves the competition in 25th place, while Slater takes the win and moves on Round 3.
“During the lay days I surfed a bit, golfed a lot, ate and had massages,” Slater said. “I got the start in that heat so Jack had to wait and there weren’t many options for him. We were a little deep so we missed a few waves at the beginning. I’m waiting for the swell that’s forecast but any moment I hope it will pick up. There will be fun waves and I hope it will be a nice size for the finish.”
Owen Wright (AUS) and Keanu Asing (HAW) faced off in Heat 8 of Round 2. Wright opened his account with an excellent 8.93, putting pressure on the rookie form the start, and continued to build a solid heat total (the highest of the day). Despite a strong showing by Asing, he wasn’t able to find the near-perfect 9.77 required to overcome an impressive looking Wright, who moves through to Round 3.
“It’s really tricky out there in terms of waves,” said Wright. “I think I caught about ten waves out there and just kept trying. It’s really hard to find the waves but when they hit the bank and stand up and they’re alright.”
Filipe Toledo (BRA) looked on top form throughout his Round 2 bout against Adrian Buchan (AUS). Toldeo was electric, dominating the lineup and taking to the air for an excellent 8.27 and 7.80 for an early lead. The Brazilian improved his position with a last minute 8.20 and secured the win. Melling’s 13.10 heat total wasn’t enough to stop the in-from Toledo, who moves onto Round 3.
“I feel really excited,” said Toledo. “I had a couple of mistakes in my first Round so this time I tried to relax, breathe and calm down. After I got that first 8 it was all good. I hope to be in the top 5 this year and surfing against Gabriel, Kelly or Mick for the title. It’s going to be a good year.”
Italo Ferreira (BRA) caused the upset of the day in his heat against Adrian Buchan (AUS). The Brazilian was quick to work, attacking the wave and posting three scores before Buchan had got to his feet. The rookie continued to look calm and comfortable, maintaining his early lead through the heat with speed and flair. Buchan, who had posted only small scores, made a final showing but it wasn’t enough, and he is eliminated from competition in equal 25th while Ferreira moves onto Round 3.
“Last year was the best year of my life because of my qualification to the tour,” said Ferreira. This is my dream and I’m so stoked to make my first heat and I’m feeling confident. Gabriel is an amazing surfer and is my inspiration in the water. Today the conditions were hard but it was fun.”
Fellow Brazilian rookie Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) also caused an upset in his Round 2 heat, eliminating Kai Otton (AUS) and coming from behind to take a narrow victory over the Australian.
“I just relaxed and I’m so confident because I’ve been surfing the last ten days in these waves,” said Wiggolly. “I was feeling good and I just wanted to get out there. I’m stoked.”
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast is webcast LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com.
The world's best surfing is also broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports in Australia, MCS Extreme in France, EDGE Sports in China, South Korea, Malaysia and other territories and the WSL's new partner in Brazil, Globo TV.
Event organizers will reconvene at 7 a.m. tomorrow morning to assess conditions and make the next call.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 2 Results (1st to R3, 2nd = 25th):
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.50 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.43
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.33 def. Jack Freestone (AUS) 10.63
Heat 3: Glenn Hall (IRL) 12.77 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.67
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.83 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.00
Heat 5: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.17 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 9.84
Heat 6: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.74 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 10.40
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.83 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.53
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.60 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 12.33
Heat 9: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 11.67 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.10
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.47 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 13.10
Heat 11: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 14.16 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 13.93
Heat 12: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.10 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.00
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Match-Ups (1st to R4, 2nd = 13th):
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Freddy Patacchia Jr.
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)