The Gold Coast awoke Saturday morning to a bump in swell overnight and beautiful, sunny conditions, and by 6:30 a.m. Quiksilver Pro officials were already hauling the contest buoys from Snapper over to Duranbah for an early start to Round Two. The weekend crowds started gathering early, and by the time Heat One was done and Bede Durbidge had forced Danny Wills off the World Tour for good, it was already impossible to park anywhere near Duranbah.
The first four heats of the day were no-brainers, as Bede, Joel Parkinson, C.J. Hobgood, and Adrian “Ace” Buchan easily swept aside their competition, booking spots in Round Three. The morning surf was solid and contestable, so Bobby Martinez’s Heat Five loss to Tour newcomer, Aussie Drew Courtney couldn’t be blamed on the waves. Freddy Patacchia’s return to form (he beat Phil McDonald, and that isn’t always an easy task on the Goldy) was a welcome relief to those who watched his form dip in 2008 and hoped for a comeback. Fellow North Shore resident and Tour Rookie, Dustin Barca performed a bit of an upset when he sent one-time Quik Pro runner-up Chris Ward home early. In Heat Eight, South African David Weare put on a great performance to upset Kai Otton, who made a huge splash on Tour last year.
Change Of Venues
Around 11:30 a.m., with half of Round Two already in the bag, officials made the call to finish the day at Snapper Rocks, where the waves had increased in size if not quality. One might wonder if it was the potential for a far bigger crowd at Snapper that pushed them to change venues, but honestly, who could hold that against them? And anyway, the gamble paid off, and Snapper (though not hollow or particularly good Saturday) was contestable and the masses flocked. By the time Heat Nine hit the water at half past noon, there were at least of couple thousand spectators on the sand.
Californian Timmy Reyes and Brazilian Jihad Khodr were the first two out, and Khodr surfed a solid heat despite a less-than-beautiful air that he somehow landed and then claimed, eliminated Reyes from the event. Tommy Whitaker and Dayyan Neve proved that if you surf a heat smart, you don’t have to necessarily surf it well to advance, and both did, out-thinking Gabe Kling and Michel Bourez. Crowd favorite Chris “Dave-O” Davidson dispatched Frenchman Micky Picon to the adulation of the crowd, which was becoming more and more nationalistic as the day grew hotter and the Snapper pub filled up.
Dane vs. Nathaniel
In an all-Ventura, California Heat Thirteen, good friends Dane Reynolds and Nathaniel Curran were converted from Tour traveling companions to gladiators, and Reynolds not only came out on top, he put in a performance that should worry Slater as he chases world title number ten, which many think he’ll win by Trestles. Reynolds’ first wave was well chosen, and after some solid turns, he popped a clean frontside air and followed it immediately with a perfectly rotated air reverse, which caused the crowd to explode and prompted the judges to issue the first perfect ten of the 2009 Quiksilver Pro. But not only did the second-year Tour vet surf progressively, he also used priority like an old pro (something he struggled with a bit in 2008), shutting down high-scoring opportunities for Curran by using tactics, not just aerials. Reynolds finished the heat with a two-wave score of 18.83 points, the highest yet.
“There is less of a build up this year, because the rivalry between Jordy [Smith] and myself has been forgotten,” Reynolds said when asked if he was feeling more comfortable competing with his rookie year now in the rearview mirror. “Last year, I tried my hardest not to think about it, but it was difficult to surf under that pressure and always having Jordy on the back of my mind. It really messed with me mentally.”
Jordy Redeems Himself
The following heat saw San Diego County’s Taylor Knox surf like a kid half his age and beat Aussie Mick Campbell in the process. The next match-up was a repeat of 2008, when local hero and former Quik Pro winner Dean Morrison went up against Jordy Smith. Last year, Morrison out-tacticked Smith, knocking him out of the competition in the losers’ round and putting a question mark over his recent seven-figure contract with O’Neill. But Jordy wasn’t going to tolerate a repeat of 2008, and the big kid surfed a smart, solid 30 minutes that looked like they required every iota of Jordy’s focus and energy, and beat Morrison by 0.1 points to advance to Round Three.
In the final action of the day, Roy Powers dispatched Ben Dunn to make it a clean sweep for Hawaiians in Round Two.
Outlook: Kelly vs. Julian
With rumors of some wild weather in the form of a cyclone approaching and 31 heats still to run before a winner is declared, Quiksilver Pro officials will almost certainly call the contest on for Sunday morning at either Snapper Rocks or Duranbah, depending on morning conditions. The match-up of Round Three will certainly be Heat Eight, when nine-time World Champion Kelly Slater takes on Quiksilver’s newest world superstar, wildcard Julian Wilson in what could be a decisive heat in the race for this years ASP crown. Do NOT miss it. It should be on around 5:00 p.m. Saturday in California … perfect time for a beer. Check out www.quiksilverpro.com.au for both live and archived action.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.00 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 8.67
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.56 def. Corey Ziems (AUS) 10.27
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.33 def. Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 10.06
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.33 def. Marlon Lipke (DEU) 10.50
Heat 5: Drew Courtney (AUS) 13.60 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.53
Heat 6: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.53 def. Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 12.73
Heat 7: Dustin Barca (HAW) 11.34 def. Chris Ward (USA) 9.50
Heat 8: David Weare (ZAF) 15.73 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 15.50
Heat 9: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 14.26 def. Tim Reyes (USA) 13.67
Heat 10: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.33 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 8.83
Heat 11: Dayyan Neve (AUS) 11.34 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 8.74
Heat 12: Chris Davidson (AUS) 16.67 def. Michael Picon (FRA) 12.34
Heat 13: Dane Reynolds (USA) 18.83 def. Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.24
Heat 14: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.00 def. Mick Campbell (AUS) 12.50
Heat 15: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.50 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 14.50
Heat 16: Roy Powers (HAW) 14.67 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 12.23
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Dustin Barca (HAW)
Heat 2: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 3: Dayyan Neve (AUS) vs. Chris Davidson (AUS)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW)
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (AUS) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
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)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinals Match-Ups:
SF 1: Paige Hareb (NZL) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
SF 2: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Melanie Bartels (HAW)