With building three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves pulsing through the primary venue of Snapper Rocks...
The 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) officially kicked off today as the world’s best surfers hit the waves at Snapper Rocks for the first round of competition at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by BOQ.
With building three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves pulsing through the primary venue of Snapper Rocks, the world’s best surfers commenced the 2016 season in fine fashion.
Italo Ferreira (BRA), 2015 Rookie of the Year, came out of the gates strong in Heat 1 against Ryan Callinan (AUS) and rookie Keanu Asing (HAW). Ferreira’s backhand was tack sharp and proved the Brazilian has only improved since his rookie season, setting his sights firmly on a WSL Title contention.
“Last year was the most amazing year of my life,” Ferreira said. “I surfed with my heroes and had a good year. I’m really excited to be back this season and hope I can do better. Very happy to win the first heat of the year.” Michel Bourez (PYF) showcased his power surfing in Round 1 Heat 2 with a 7.00 point ride, the highest in his heat. Bourez will advance straight to Round 3 after edging out Adam Melling (AUS) and Julian Wilson (AUS).
“It is pretty hard to have the best strategy there,” said Bourez. “It is breaking all over the place and you have to be super lucky to be at the right place at the right time. That wave came out of nowhere and I was pretty lucky to be there.”
Filipe Toledo (BRA), defending Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, led Round 1 Heat 3 against CT veteran Jadson Andre (BRA) and injury replacement Stuart Kennedy (AUS). The three battled wave for a wave, but Toledo pulled out a 7.83 to secure his position. Toledo will advance to Round 3, and Andre and Kennedy will battle in elimination Round 2.
“Coming here again to defend my title with really good boards and with the wind in the first round makes me more comfortable and excited for the next round,” said Toledo after the heat. “I am now trying to push harder in ways that I really need to improve. Last year I had a good feeling fighting for the title so this year I feel more comfortable. I know I have the potential to be there, too.”
Mick Fanning (AUS), three-time WSL Champion, quickly put up a solid score in Heat 5, but it was trials winner Wade Carmichael (AUS) who put the pressure on by returning with an 8.93 ride. The all-Australian match-up continued to heat up as both Fanning and Carmichael exchanged high scoring rides, but it was Fanning who came out on top at his home break.
“I wasn’t tense, I was laughing and relaxed. Even paddling out in the heat I wanted to surf and get a couple of good waves and it was fun,” said Fanning winning after his heat. “I always just want to go surfing. I’m not as freaked out to be the first one in the water anymore it is more about just surfing when I want to surf and being in love with it.”
Heat 6 saw a heated battle unfold between reigning World Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA), Kolohe Andino (USA) and event wildcard and Quiksilver surfer Michael Wright (AUS). Andino quickly set the pace with a big 9.10 ride, but Wright and De Souza continued to fight for the lead against Andino. This heat saw a big upset with wildcard Wright edging out De Souza and the yellow jersey by 0.04 points. “I was pretty stoked for Quiksilver to give me the wildcard this year,” said Wright. “It was a little dusty at the start, but that last one was a pretty fun and I was stoked to get a couple of good waves.”
CT veteran Jeremy Flores (FRA) battled rookie Davey Cathels (AUS) in Heat 7. Cathels put up strong scores, but it was not enough to defeat Flores’ two-wave score of 15.90. Cathels came close with 15.00, but will head to Round 2 with fellow Australian, Adrian Buchan who had a combined score of 10.74.
“It is just another day, another year in the office,” said Flores following his heat. “We are lucky to have such an incredible job, but we have to take it seriously. It is my tenth year and I feel like I still have a lot to show.”
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Upcoming Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 9: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 12: Matt Banting (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
- Link: Quiksilver Pro 2016 Live