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Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: Round 3 Recap

kelly slater quiksilver proSnapper Rocks is definitely heating up. Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast came to an end yesterday and saw all of surfing’s heavyweights aligning themselves for a winning run at the WCT’s opening event. Misdirected swells and swinging tide have kept the conditions at Snapper fluctuating and was the motive for an extra five minutes tacked on to every heat. For surfers like Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow, and Andy Irons who came out absolutely firing, five minutes was all they needed to seal their spot in the 4th round. For others like Bruce Irons and Bobby Martinez, even with the extra five they could just not get their game going.

RISERS – There were several heats in round 3 that were over just as quickly as they started. Within minutes of making it out to the line-up for their respective heats, Jordy Smith, Fanning, Burrow, and Irons, and many of the other favorites found themselves with nearly insurmountable leads. This early aggressiveness was key in round 3 as the surfers who fell behind early spent the rest of their heats searching for waves that could produce the massive scores needed to compete. With Snapper breaking like it has been, it has made it quite difficult to tell which waves will set up for big rides and which will simply fade. Smith, Burrow, and Irons in particular really unleashed incredible performances in their heats. Taj’s 9.87 was wave of the day as he unleashed an assault of 15 or so brutal turns and snaps on an unsuspecting wave. This guy really looks to be in top form as we move into the 4th round. Slater, Parko, and Dean Morrison all looked as solid as ever in Rd. 3 as well.

DROPPERS – The struggles of Julian Wilson against Fanning was understandable. Before he even knew what hit him, Wilson was facing a combo situation as judges had heavily rewarded the world champ for his series of trademark ‘Fanning swoops’. Possibly cracking under the hype that has surrounded Jordy as well as surfing a break that does not favor goofies, Bobby Martinez really struggled to get anything going whatsoever while Jordy simply did what Jordy does and blew minds. With that being said, Bruce Irons gave what had to be the most disappointing as well as uninspired performance of the round. Paddling out into deteriorating conditions in what was the last heat of the day, Irons look disinterested from the outset. Adrian Buchan put together a solid, but not amazing combination of waves and held an early lead that someone of the caliber of Irons should have easily been able to overtake. But Bruce just sat and sat. It wasn’t until around the 12 minute mark that he finally took off on a wave. Even once up and riding for the first time in the heat, the disinterest was apparent and his body language screamed he would rather be someplace else. Irons finished his Quiksilver Pro bid with a meager score of 6.44 in his outgoing heat. The 3rd round also saw rookie Dane Reynolds get taken out by local Dean Morrison. Reynolds had one wave that scored very solidly, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Morrison’s knowledge of a break he has surfed thousands of times before.

KEY MOMENT – I’m not sure how many who were watching the webcast caught this, but the scoring of Andy Irons top wave in heat 15 surely has to raise the eyebrows of the ASP as well as everyone on the ‘CT. Iron’s wave was definitely on the more ‘unconventional’ side as he followed some vicious snaps with a straight-air and closed the wave off with a 360 off of the lip. He ended up with a 9.17 on the wave which seemed about right. It was how the judges ended up with that score that shows that even they are confused on how to score progressive surfing. Three of the judges gave Irons scores that ranged from 9.6-9.7, and the other two had it at 8.0. How is that possible? In all my life I don’t think I have ever witnessed a range of scoring that large while watching sports that use human judging to decide their winners. There is a clear philosophical difference on the criteria that is being used to score waves as evidenced by a nearly 2 pt. swing in scoring. Obviously there is confusion amongst surfings hierarchy on which direction the sport is moving and what constitutes a championship surfer.

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Posted by Shaun on Monday, March 3rd, 2008 in Surfing.

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