Ladies And Gentleman, Start Your Surfing

Kelly Slater, Gold Coast Australia, Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, ASP World Tour, Snapper Rocks

Kelly started 2008 with a bang, and kept it going all year long. Can anyone hinder his domination? Photo: Bielmann/SPL

TransWorld SURF chooses their top finishers for the 2009 Quiksilver Pro at Snapper Rocks.

Days are beginning to get a bit longer, weather patterns are slowly morphing, and the 2009 ASP World Tour season kicks off this week! We know, we know, you're just as wound up over this as we here at TransWorld SURF are.

The 2009 ASP season is sure to be an action-packed year with quite a few chronicles that will unveil themselves: What will the Tour be like with Andy and Bruce freesurfing the world, and Rabbit no longer behind the scenes? Can anyone stop Slater in his pursuit for World Title number 10? Will the new format play a factor in shaking things up from top to bottom? Is the new crop of ladies capable of putting a stop to Stephanie Gilmore's domination? And of course, how tiny will Alana Blanchard's bikinis actually be?

These burning questions are only a few of many that will begin to unravel once the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast commences the '09 season this Friday, February 27th. With so much to come this year, we've decided to drop a bit of our exorbitant surf knowledge on the world by giving you the erudite look at the opening 2009 event.

Before we give you the inside look into our crystal balls, here's two trends at the Quiky Pro that have been reoccurring the last few years: 1. The winners the last four years have been Kelly and Mick trading off (Slater in '06/'08, and Fanning in '05/'07). 2. The last three years the winner of this first event has gone on to win the World Title (Kelly Slater in '06/'08 and Mick Fanning in '07).

With that, we present the cream of the crop for the 2009 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Stay tuned to for constant updates from the Gold Coast (head here to check out our Down Under Diaries) and full coverage of the Quiky Pro. To watch the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro live, head to or –Ryan Brower

Chris CoteTWS Editor-in-Chief

Winner: I think Parko is the hungriest this year. With a lot of training, and a solid boost of confidence coming from a Triple Crown win, AND an upcoming Pro Spotlight in TransWorld SURF, Parko's the man.

Rookie: Nathaniel will lead the Americans, while Bourez will lead the international field. Don't forget about Barca though, he's gonna shred some ass
Shocker: The guys coming back on Tour from the WQS are gonna look to scalp some 2008 top ten surfers, watch for some high-seed blood to be spilled by some low-re-qualifiers
Women's Roxy Pro Winner: Sally Fitzgibbons
Women's Rookie: Alana and Coco are gonna shred to at the least the quarter finals.

Casey KoteenTWS Managing Editor and the newest proud papa around here

Winner: Slater. Yeah, it's a total copout to pick Slater, but it's also usually accurate. So I'll go with accuracy over originality on this one.
Rookie: Dustin Barca. I have a feeling Barca's gonna cut loose and leave the safety turns to the old guys.
Shocker: While it wouldn't be shocking to have Josh Kerr have a big result, he's kinda snuck back on to the world tour, and I have a feeling he's gonna plant his flat in a big way at Snapper.
Women's Roxy Pro Winner: Duh, Steph Gilmore.
Women's Rookie: Sally Fitzgibbons.

Aaron Checkwood TWS Photo Editor

Winner: Mick Fanning is gonna win because he simply likes to win in front of all his fellow Goldy c_nts and will do anything to start the year strong.
Rookie: Barca will be the top rookie, cause to me, his style and flow will work well for Snapper and he's not afraid to punt in the meaty sections.
Shocker: Kelly in the quarters, cause I envision someone like a Flores or Kerr gunning for him and going all out to get ahead early.
Women's Roxy Pro Winner: Coco fits well for Snapper because of her compact stature and because they always run the Women’s heats on the smaller, less desirable days – perfect for a Coco assault.
Women’s Rookie: Coco as the rookie…see above

Justin Cote – TWS Online Editor and Gold Coast transplant

Winner: Parko: He’s overdue for a big win at home.
Rookie: Michel Bourez: Spartan will overpower Snapper.
Shocker: Bobby Martinez: This ain’t Rincon homey.
Women's Roxy Pro Winner: Stephanie Gilmore: Way better than the other girls.
Women’s Rookie: Alana Blanchard: Wins the bikini contest too.

Mike Fish – TWS Associate Editor

Winner: Joel Parkinson. The Coolangatta kids aren't going to let a yank take it again this year, and Parko's primed and ready to regulate.
Rookie: Nathaniel Curran. There's been no shortage of hype surrounding Nathaniel. And for good reason. He's going to come out of the gates running.
Shocker: Mick knocked out early. By an American… Hmmm.
Women's Roxy Pro Winner: Steph Gilmore. Sure, rookies like Coco [Ho] and Sally [Fitzgibbons] will be nipping at her heels, but this is Steph's home, and where she will start another roll toward World Title number 3…
Women's Rookie: Sally Fitzgibbons will definitely do some giant slaying and make it to the Semis. At least. Look for her to break more records this year.

Carl Steindler – TWS Photo Associate

Winner: Mick Fanning: home court advantage, local boy who has won there in the past and will have the crowd backing him. Plus, seeing Kelly dominate this last year has re-lit a major fire under his arse and he wants to prove he can still be the best and be a multiple title holder.
Rookie: Michel Bourez has the style, power and flair to light up on his forehand and get that major high score needed from the judges. Many of the other rookies surf more conservatively and I don’t think will take the chances he will…probably just Kerrsy.
Shocker: Bobby Martinez is still sponsorless and has something to prove to himself and the rest of the surf world. Has done well there in the past (rookie yr) and will be riding DHDs.
Women's Roxy Pro Winner: Steph Gilmore is still the best and most powerful female on tour in my humble opinion. She knows what it takes to win and the rookie gals this year (with so many hotties) may need a little time to settle in and adapt to their surroundings. Plus will also have the local peanut gallery erupting at her every turn.
Women’s Rookie: Coco Ho is the flashiest of the rookie gals and being so young will work to her advantage. Can throw tail all day long and won't be affected by the nightlife. Plus everybody loves her and she will also probably have a solid cheering section unless she faces Happy Gilmore.

Ryan Brower – TWS Edit Assistant

Winner: Taj Burrow knows his time to strike for a World Title is now. Andy's off Tour, and you know he's fired up after seeing his Aussie mate Parko take last year's Triple Crown.
Rookie: Though Dustin Barca is the rookie to watch this entire year, Michel Bourez is gonna be the highest finishing rookie for this first event.
Shocker: Chris Ward is sick and tired of sitting in the middle of the pack. After last year's Pipeline Masters performance, Ward is going to have his best year on Tour.
Women's Roxy Pro Winner: Stephanie Gilmore hasn't won at her homebreak since 2005, and being the reigning two-time World Champ, Steph is gonna take charge yet again.
Women's Rookie:
The new crop is going to be shaking things up big time this year, and Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons will be leading their charge at the Roxy Pro.

Nick Jiampa – TWS contributor and all-around-ripper

Winner: Slater: No explanation is needed. His experimentation with boards should help fuel his motivation.
Rookie: Kekoa Bacalso: He hasn’t been talked about much, and sneaking under the radar is a good position for a rookie to be in during his first contest on the World Tour.
Shocker: Josh Kerr: He lost that heat to Fanning on the Goldy in 2007 by a hair and he’ll be looking to show some maturity after a year off the tour. Chris Davidson could be another shocker.
Women’s Roxy Pro Winner: Stephanie Gilmore: Probably the most impressive female surfer on the tour, and she has home field advantage.
Women’s Rookie: Sally Fitzgibbons: A young and hungry Aussie who’s had a lot of success and should feel good at home in Australia.