SNAPPER ROCKS, Queensland/Australia (Sunday, March 5, 2011) –The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, the opening event of the 2011 ASP World Title season, recommenced competition today with the elimination Round 2 battling it out in trying two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at the primary venue of Snapper Rocks.
While strong currents and unfavorable swell direction made the conditions challenging at times, the world’s best surfers persevered and put on an electric show in front of the capacity crowd at the southern end of the Gold Coast.
Brett Simpson (USA), 26, into his second year amongst the elite ASP Top 34, took the day’s top honors, collecting a 16.73 out of a possible 20, to eliminate compatriot Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 25, in their Round 2 battle.
“I’m definitely happy with my performance,” Simpson said. “From how the day started I was like ‘oh, they’re going to run it.’ It’s tough out there, but seems like it’s getting better heat-by-heat. I started with that fall on my first wave but was able to get those smaller ones and knew I just had to push it.”
“My game plan was to just go out there and push it,” Simpson said. “Pat (Gudauskas) and I have grown up surfing against each other our whole lives, so it’s always tough when you draw each other at this level, but that’s how it goes.”
Simpson plans to keep the defeats coming, working his way to an inaugural win.
“A win on the World Tour would be at the top,” Simpson said. “My wins at the US Open are my favorite, but a World Tour win on this level would be special. I’m just trying to get consistent and compete at a high level every 30 minutes and not have those sporadic performances and keep staying focused.”
Simpson will take on Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 29, in Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
Adrian Buchan (AUS), 28, opened up the day’s action with a convincing win over 2010 ASP Australasia Pro Junior Champion and wildcard Mitch Crews (AUS), 20. Buchan’s vicious backhand assault netted him a 14.17 out of a possible 20, which proved enough to withstand a late charge from his younger compatriot.
“I knew Crewsy (Mitch Crews) is capable of getting big scores and that last wave was the best wave that came through in that heat,” Buchan said. “I got that six for one turn and it looked like he had three or four on that wave, so who knows. The conditions are tough out there; it’s not the Snapper we’re used to.”
“Luckily I had the advantage of being able to watch the first heat of the round before mine,” Buchan said. “I think Bede (Durbidge) was out of position and that’s uncharacteristic for him. It’s tricky out there and these conditions even the playing field between us and the rookies. I didn’t want to take that heat lightly at all. I felt sharp and the boards felt good in Round 1, but I just didn’t finish my waves and you can’t have that. I just tightened the screws a little bit in that last round and felt a lot better.”
Buchan will battle Gold Coast fly boy Josh Kerr (AUS), 26, in Round 3 of competition.
Alejo Muniz (BRA), 21, Round 2’s sole rookie victor, put on a captivating display of surfing skill with his defeat over veteran Australian Kieren Perrow. Despite the trying conditions, Muniz exhibited tactics and composure well beyond his young years, netting a 12.60 out of a possible 20.
“It was pretty hard, I don’t think I’ve ever paddled that much in a heat before,” Muniz said. “I was thinking about where I had to be in the lineup and looking for waves with a long wall. My strategy was to stay busy and catch a lot of waves and have fun. In my first heat I was so nervous I couldn’t even catch a wave. I wanted to have fun in this heat because it’s my dream to be on the World Tour and I want to enjoy it.”
Muniz continues his roll from last month where he took out the ASP PRIME Hang Loose Pro in his native Brazil and will look to open his inaugural campaign amongst the ASP Top 34 in similar fashion.
“It (the Hang Loose Pro) was the best start of my career since I started to surf,” Muniz said. “I was trying to bring those feelings over here and I’m riding the same board. I was just trying to bring the memories from Fernando over here because I felt so good.”
Muniz was also one of three Brazilian competitors to win his heat in Round 2.”
Flanked by fellow Brazilian Round 2 victors Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, and Heitor Alves (BRA), 28, Muniz was in good company and will take on 2010 ASP World Tour Rookie of the Year Owen Wright (AUS), 21, in Round 3 when competition resumes.
Matt Banting (AUS), 16, wildcard into the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, caused the upset of the event today, eliminating local powerbroker and ASP World Title contender Bede Durbidge (AUS), 28, in the opening heat of the day.
“I knew when he (Durbidge) fell on that last barrel that I had it,” Banting said. “I started getting the shakes. It’s everything I’ve ever dreamed of to surf in World Tour events and now I have Kelly (Slater) in Round 3. It’s the most excited I’ve ever been. I’m over the moon. It’ll be good to just be out in the water again with Kelly in the next round.”
The young natural-footer will face reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 39, in Round 3 when competition recommences.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 7:30am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be former two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, up against progressive islander Dusty Payne (HAW), 22, in the opening heat of Round 3.
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1:Matt Banting (AUS) 9.43 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 4.00
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.17 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.10
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.83 def. Marc Lacomare (FRA) 8.66
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.40 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 4.80
Heat 5: Cory Lopez (USA) 7.83 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 4.77
Heat 6: Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.17 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 9.00
Heat 7: Dusty Payne (HAW) 12.33 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.83
Heat 8: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.60 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.27
Heat 9: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.73 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.06
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) 16.73 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.90
Heat 11: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.50 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 10.50
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.50 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.83
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 3 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 2: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Heitor Alves (BRA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 12: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
**ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Pauline Ado (FRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Heat 3: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)**