SNAPPER ROCKS, Queensland/Australia (Tuesday, March 2, 2010) – Pulsing two-to-three foot (1 metre) righthanders raced down the point at Snapper Rocks today, bearing witness to the concluding eight Round 2 heats of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover.
The opening event of the 2010 ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast has assembled to greatest gathering of surfing talent in the sport’s history, and today’s afternoon action including mixed results with thoroughbreds and new bloods lacerating the rippable conditions.
Andy Irons (HAW), 31, former three-time ASP World Champion, posted his first ASP World Tour heat win since returning from a sabbatical from full-time competition in 2009. Although showing shades of old in his Round 2 victory over fellow Kauai surfer Roy Powers (HAW), 29, Irons maintains he needs to make improvements if he’s to challenge for the Top 5 again.
“I’m stoked to be back,” Irons said. “Everyone’s really nice and cool and really supportive. So yes (it’s great to be back), and with all the fans, you know it means the world to me. It just makes me really want to come back and do well, and not just come back just to be here. It’s definitely nerve-wrecking though to be around all the media. It’s not normal, at all. But I used to do it a lot, so I should be able to get a hang of it pretty quick, but it hasn’t happened yet. So hopefully in a couple more days, I’m still in the contest and I get used to it, and hope that the waves get bigger.”
Despite posting an impressive 7.90 out of a possible 10 for a deep forehand barrel followed a series of critical forehand re-entries, the powerful Hawaiian is working through his equipment to find a formula that works for him.
“I’m just trying to feel it out,” Irons said. “It’s the first time I’ve gotten to surf Snapper without a thousand people. It’s still pretty new to me. I’m just trying to figure out boards. Boards are so important out there, and it’s really hard to find the right one. I have to improve a lot more. I have to find the right board. The waves are just really slow and mushy today so I rode a longer board. I usually ride a 5’11” and I rode a 6’1” in that heat. Snapper is a perfect wave, but it really hard to perform here - I don’t know why.”
Irons will take on current ASP World No. 8 Bobby Martinez (USA), 27, in Round 3 when competition resumes.
Dean Morrison (AUS), 29, former event winner (2003) and current ASP World No. 16, posted the highest-scoring heat total of the round this afternoon, detonating in familiar surroundings to the tune of 15.17 out of a possible 20, dispatching of 2010 ASP World Tour rookie Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 21. While Morrison has been threatening over the past several seasons, another victory on the Gold Coast would be the ideal start to the dangerous natural-footer’s 2010 campaign.
"That win in 2003 pretty much means everything because it’s the only one I ever won,” Morrison said. “It’s always nice to come back here and compete and hopefully I’ll try to do it again."
Morrison will face compatriot Kai Otton (AUS), 30, in Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast when competition resumes.
Prior to the completion of the men’s Round 2, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast saw it’s first eliminations of the event with the two Round 2 heats completed in clean morning conditions at Snapper Rocks. Former ASP World Champions Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 26, and Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 26.
"Winning here in 2010 would be an awesome start,” Hedges said. “I had a year off and then last year I kind of had an OK year, but I'm starting to get back into it, now I'm feeling pretty comfortable. I'm pretty amped there are a lot of good events on tour this year."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
For the first time in the events’ storied nine-year history, the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast events are being televised LIVE on FUEL TV in Australia, beaming the world’s best surfing right into your living room.
Highlights from today’s Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover are available via quiksilverpro.com.au
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 9: Dean Morrison (AUS) 15.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.33
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.83 def. Nathan Yeomans (USA) 11.37
Heat 11: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 9.53 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 8.07
Heat 12: Mick Campbell (AUS) 15.17 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 14.00
Heat 13: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.00 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.54
Heat 14: Daniel Ross (AUS) 12.43 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 7.97
Heat 15: Andy Irons (HAW) 14.57 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 13.36
Heat 16: Luke Stedman (AUS) 10.44 def. Drew Courtney (AUS) 9.57
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 2: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 3: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Andy Irons (HAW)
Heat 6: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 7: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 10: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) vs. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW)
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 12: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 13: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 14: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 16: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)