Sunny’s Out Of The Quiksilver Pro

Snapper Rocks, Gold Coast (Thursday, February 26th, 2004) 2000 ASP WorldChampion Sunny Garcia has been forced to withdraw from next week’sQuiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile, paving the way for Gold Coastresident Troy Brooks’ main event wildcard spot.

Garcia, who received an injury wildcard to the 2004 tour following majorknee reconstruction surgery in 2003, was set to compete in the first eventof this year’s world tour. Unfortunately the Hawaiian re-injured his kneelast week while surfing at home in Hawaii. The injury is obviously a hugedisappointment for Garcia and it’s not known when he might return tocompetition, but the door has now been opened for Brooks as the next highestrated surfer on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) from last season.

“I feel like a bit of a vulture,” joked Brooks. “Waiting to see if someone’sgoing to be injured or pull out of an event. But if the opportunity isthere, then I’m stoked. As a wildcard I’ve got nothing to lose so I’ll takethat attitude into this event. I definitely feel I surf better when I’m notunder pressure.”

Brooks, who re-located from Victoria to the warm waves of the Gold Coast12-months ago to better his surfing, is no stranger to WCT competitionhaving surfed as a wildcard in eight events the past three years, includinglast year’s Quiksilver Pro where he met – and defeated – the defendingchampion and Snapper local Joel Parkinson. As fate would have it, this yearwill feature a round one rematch between the two, along with BrazilianVictor Ribas.

“Parko’s one of the last guys you want to draw in a heat at Snapper,”laughed Brooks. “Last year I was lucky enough to get the upper hand. So Iguess if we’re surfing Snapper again I’ll stick to the same format, try andget a couple behind the rock and hunt the barrels! Victor’s also one of themost competitive surfers on tour, he’s good in any type of conditions soit’ll be all on between us for sure.”

Highly touted Californian super grom Dane Reynolds and former ASPAustralasian Junior Circuit champion local Luke Munro have also receivedwildcards. Their opening round match ups cannot be decided, however, untilthe completion of Monday’s trials – where the remaining wildcard spot willbe filled.

Six-time world champion Kelly Slater (USA) regards all of the wildcards asmajor threats, particularly good friend Munro.

“I’m actually staying at Luke’s house while I’m here,” said Slater. “So if Idraw him in the event I’d like to take him out early. It might help me sleepat night,” he laughed. “But seriously, all these guys are capable. Luke’swon junior events at Kirra and he knows the waves around here so well, andas far as Dane goes he was one of the highest point scorers in an event wesurfed in together in California and he’s so naturally talented. It could bea real wake up call for any of the seeds if they draw these guys.”

Despite one of the worst flat spells in recent memory, the Quiksilver Propresented by Boost Mobile looks set to begin in great waves should thecurrent weather predictions hold. Two swells, one generated from the southand another that is predicted to build from the east off Tropical CycloneIvy, should produce decent waves for Monday’s trialists. Favorable southerlywinds are also predicted which will create ideal offshore conditions for thefamous Gold Coast points.

The Quiksilver Pro Trials are mobile for the best waves on the Gold Coastwith the preferred venue being Snapper Rocks and will be staged on Monday,March 1st commencing at 8am, with the final in the water at aroundlunchtime.

The US$260,000 Quiksilver Pro presented by Boost Mobile and the openingWomen’s WCT – the USD$62,000 Roxy Pro presented by boost Mobile will bothhave a waiting period from March 2nd through to the 14th featuring theworlds top 45 male and top 15 female surfers.

Both opening WCT’s are mobile tournaments, granting organizers access tosome of the best surf breaks on the planet. The event will be bassed atSnapper Rocks; yet can travel from Stradbroke Island in Qld to Ballina,across the New South Wales state border in search of optimum conditions.

Venues such as Snapper Rocks, Greenmount, Kirra and Burleigh will holdpriority, with visions of long, right-hand barrels filling competitors’minds in the lead up. All spots offer great viewing for spectators to soakup the phenomenal surfing assured to take place.

With US$250,000 prize money on offer, as well as an early ratings lead forthe eventual winner, all focus will be on the Gold Coast as the dream tourgets underway.