Julian Wilson (AUS) caused the upset of the young season, ousting reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) from Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast competition in Round 3. Photo courtesy ASP.
SNAPPER ROCKS, Australia (Sunday, March 8, 2009) - The first eight heats of Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile were completed today in three-foot (1 metre) waves at Snapper Rocks, and wildcard Julian Wilson (AUS), 20, caused the upset of the season in eliminating reigning nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 37, from competition.
The opening event of the 2009 ASP World Tour season, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast commenced Round 3 action this afternoon following the completion of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast this morning, won by reigning two-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 21.
Wilson, who is surfing in his third Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast as a wildcard, wasted no time in taking it to Slater in the last heat of the day, racking up a 6.83 out of a possible 10 to open up before sealing the deal with an 8.50 out of a possible 10.
"I'm over the moon right now," Wilson said. "I was so nervous before that heat just thinking about what I could do to beat Kelly [Slater]. For so long, he has been unstoppable. I started the heat on the inside and got the first wave, which is what I wanted to do. It feels so good to beat him."
Slater, who was riding an unconventional board that was shorter and wider than his usual equipment, never found a rhythm in the tricky afternoon conditions, and despite some mind-blowing, singular maneuvers, was never able to link together a complete wave.
“The waves I got were bad," Slater said. "I surfed alright on one wave and I am frustrated obviously, but I would have had the same result with the best board of my life so it definitely wasn’t the equipment thing. A lot people want to put it down on that, but I am excited about my boards and I have a lot more fun riding these boards.”
While Wilson certainly held the most dramatic heat of the day, fellow Australians and Coolangatta kids Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, and Mick Fanning (AUS), 27, shined at their home break, posting some of the highest scores of the season.
Parkinson, current ASP World No. 4 and former winner of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast (2002), posted the highest heat total of the day, and 18.50 out of a possible 20, for his unparalleled command of the Snapper Rocks lineup.
“I had that really positive vibe," Parkinson said. "It's so good to be surfing back at Snapper. I like this wave so much more and I think it shows in my performance."
The stylish natural-footer was in particularly lethal form in his Round 3 heat, given that he was up against dangerous ASP Dream Tour sophomore Tiago Pires (PRT), 28.
"I always think a new year resets itself and everything starts fresh again," Parkinson said. "Tiago (Pires) was honestly one of the most under-rated surfers last year. Hopefully he can get some strides and get some momentum for the rest of the year.”
Fanning, former ASP World Champion and two-time past winner of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast (2005, 2007), was another to decimate Snapper Rocks this afternoon, posting an excellent 18.10 out of a possible 20 to eliminate 2009 ASP World Tour rookie Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 23.
When Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 3 action recommences, up first will be current ASP World No. 2 Bede Durbidge (AUS), 25, against replacement surfer Jay Thompson (AUS), 25.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 6am for a possible 7 a.m. start.
Highlights from today's Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast action are available via quiksilverpro.com.au.
For more information, log onto aspworldtour.com.
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.50 def. Dustin Barca (HAW) 6.50
Heat 2: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 18.26 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.30
Heat 3: Chris Davidson (AUS) 13.67 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 8.27
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.50 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 14.50
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.10 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 14.50
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.83 def. Nic Muscroft (AUS) 11.07
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (AUS) 14.34 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.00
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.84
REMAINING QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 10: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Greg Emslie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 14: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Roy Powers (HAW0
Heat 15: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 16: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. David Weare (ZAF)