The 2011 ASP World Title Race season is nearly upon us. As always, it's a clean slate, a new year, a chance for disappointed dreams of last year to become realized actualities this year. A crop of new rookies will have a chance to make a name for themselves, with veterans looking to break them into the big leagues.
Dane Reynolds will most likely be watching from the sidelines, still recuperating from knee surgery. From all accounts we've heard Kelly Slater will be surfing the event. If he's in that ferocious mindset from last year it's going to another year of the King in 2011. But watch out for Parko, who was on a tear in Hawaii after coming back from a devastating foot injury.
Going back to 2005, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast has been won only by four men: Taj Burrow, Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, and Joel Parkinson. Putting money on one of these four is probably one of the safest bets you could make.
Betting odds from Australia's Sports Bet:
Jordy Smith 5-1
Kelly Slater 5-1
Joel Parkinson 6-1
Julian Wilson 8-1
Dane Reynolds 21-1
Chris Davidson 67-1
Jadson Andre 151-1
With Quik adding some more excitement to the webcast via clocking the surfer’s speeds live, it could help curtail those wordless lulls that bore people so. Snapper is the perfect proving ground for something like this, providing some of the best speed pockets the world around.
"The first thing that comes to mind regarding Snapper is that it's one of the best rip, tear and slash waves around," Jordy recently said. "This wave offers so many ways that one can surf it. In the past three years, I have seen so many different versions of surfing, all surfers taking a different approach to Snapper. I feel one has to surf it tight in the pocket and look for the tube. As the wave draws off and runs down the sand bar, it offers a big range of huge maneuvers to be had. There are so many talented surfers, wildcards and new guys from the World Rankings who will be all showcasing themselves in this event. All and sundry will want to come away with a win, for sure."
But for Snapper to be providing those incredible speed pockets, it’ll actually have to show up. Mick recently Twittered this: "Just drove past snapper and there is a deep hole. They need to start pumping sand if they want a good Quik Pro this year."
Parko also saw the same thing Mick has: "Snapper needs sand and very soon or the contest may be in shitty waves… turn on the pump!!!"
Snapper's quality will be a thing to monitor this week leading up to the event. Whether or not classic Snapper conditions are on tap, you can be sure that the Gold Coast is going to kick off the 2011 Dream Tour in style.—Ryan Brower
The 2011 Quiksilver and Roxy Pros holding period starts February 26 and last till March 9. Watch the event live at quiksilverpro.com.au and stay tuned to transworldsurf.com as we give you in-depth coverage with our Down Under Diaries. And have you got your Fantasy Action Sports League surf team picked yet? If not get on the program!
Chris Cote, Editor In Chief
Winner: I’m going put on a limb here. I’m gonna go ahead and put some money down on Josh Kerr, he’s in a good headspace, his boards are looking good, and he’s been ripping. Parko is another safe bet, he’s on fire and wants this win badly.
Rookie/wildcard: Hate on Julian all you want, he’s gonna smoke Alejo and the wildcards—he’s gonna go nuts.
Who will punt: Julian and Jordy will be punting like mad. Kerrzy will do some radical shit in his heats.
Who will not punt: Parko and Mick will not be punting, but they’ll be surfing brilliantly and with a lot of power.
Conditions: Perfect Snapper…
Conner Coffin, our Goldie grom this year
Winner: Is Kelly doing the contest? I’m going to have to go with Fanning or Jordy though. Jordy was surfing so good last year and he’s got that new school shit going on that the judges will like it. But Mick is on it at Snapper and will have a fire going this year. Good battle between those two.
Rookie/wildcard: Dingo for sure if he makes it through the trials. He’s not even an underdog because he’s the man out there.
Who will punt: I’d like to say Dane but I don’t think he’s surfing, his knee is jacked. Parko for sure, he always rules out at Snapper.
Who will not punt: Goofyfooters are going to have a tough time because it’s so fast. I can’t imagine surfing that wave on my backhand.
Conditions: I’ve never seen good Snapper in person, but hopefully there’s some sick tubes behind the rock.
Dave "Nelly" Nelson, TW SURF Senior Photog
Winner: Kelly—he's still got that fire to win.
Rookie/wildcard: Julian Wilson is probably the best up and coming surfer in the world right now. And I like the way he surfs.
Who will punt: Dane Reynolds because that's what he does.
Who will not punt: Taylor Knox because he's more into full rail gouges. But he'll still rip.
Conditions: It's going to be a good year because last year wasn't all that good.
Aaron Checkwood, Photo Editor
Winner: Taj Burrow. Going into the end of last year his focus and conditioning seemed to be strong and it was showing. It's always a toss up between him, Mick, and Joel, but I'm gonna stick with Taj.
Rookie/wildcard: Alejo Muniz. Everyone's all about Julian, well, because he's Julian. I like Alejo simply because of his power at Snapper (if it's there) and the fact there's zero stress on him.
Who will punt: Owen Wright. I think he's a champ contender and wouldn't be surprised by a solid start here.
Who will not punt: Dane. I heard he's not surfing.
Conditions: Pint high and glassy at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club upstairs.
Justin Cote, Online Editor
Winner: Kelly Slater is gonna make the local blokes cry into their beer glasses when a Seppo wins at Snapper.
Rookie/wildcard: Quiksilver wildcard Matt Banting is going to get smoked—the 16-year old seems like a waste of a wildcard to me when Quik has guys like Clay Gnarzo on the roster.
Who will punt: Who cares? I'd rather see a big turn than another chop hop that gets announcers all butt pumped.
Who will not punt: It's safe to say that Taylor Knox will not (intentionally) do an air in any of his heats. That said, he’ll be throwing buckets all the way to Surfer’s Paradise.
Conditions: It's gonna be warm and rippable. Even Surfline could get that right…
Ryan Brower, Edit Assistant
Winner: I want to say Taj, but I think this is the season we finally realize Taj will never win a World Title. That said, Jordy sets his path to one with a victory on the Goldie.
Rookie/wildcard: Julian Wilson's got a target on his back in the shape of a swoosh, and it'll be up to him to stand up and perform or roll over to hungrier veterans.
Who will punt: Bede Durbidge. Guy had the highest total in this event last year (yes, higher than Dane's "heat that changed surfing").
Who will not punt: Adriano de Souza is going to struggle this year.
Conditions: Parko and Mick both say the bank needs sand, so hopefully the pump gets going soon.
Jeff Baldwin, TW SURF Sales Turkey
Winner: I believe in aliens. Kelly Slater is one!! He'll show up win and leave the rest grumbling in shame… AGAIN.
Rookie/wildcard: I'd rather see Matt Hoy go straight on his single fin after an all night-er. Rookies… really, let them go MMA on each other, last man standing wins!
Who will punt: Every f—king one of them!! I'm already dizzy. But Josh Kerr will punt the puntiest punt.
Who will not punt: Gabe Kling…. enough said.
Conditions: There's always surf. It'll be green warm and killable for two dudes in a heat. Free surfs will remain total chaos!