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Quiksilver Pro Rd. 1 Recap

dane reynoldsIt was a super windy day throughout the opening round at the Quiksilver Pro today. With steadily building winds whipping around and changing directions throughout the day there were tricky conditions prevalent throughout the opening heats at Duranbah. The locals held their own as expected with Parko, Fanning, and Dean Morrison all winning their heats. Here are a few of todays highlights from D-bah:

luke munroTop Heats – There were a number of exciting battles throughout the day, but heats 7 and 15 were the two that caught my eye the most. Parko ripping it up in tailor-made conditions for him at a break he’s surfed many many times was no surprise. However, watching Brazilian Neco Padaratz put a couple of very solid waves together was a welcome site as I really see this being a huge year on tour for Neco. Dane Reynolds in heat 15 was everything everyone expected and more. After going for a couple of huge moves early and not quite pulling them out, he settled down and put together one of the most impressive run of waves seen all day. Unfortunately for Dane he was in the same heat as Aussie Luke Munro who was absolutely on fire and put on one of the top performances of the day. Munro finished off his scores with a 9.50 to pull out the win and move on to the 3rd round.

Not So Top Heat – Heat 5 ended up being a 2-man event right from the beginning. Trying to rest the leg he injured at Pipe recently, Fred Patacchia was content to paddle out and enjoy some rays for a half-hour while hoping the condition of his leg improves before the second round. With Freddy P taking it easy, it left Andy Irons and french-man Mikael Picon to battle it out for the second-round bye. It may have had something to do with the drilling he took on the rocks earlier in the week, but Irons just did not look himself at all and was visibly frustrated as Picon ended up outsurfing him to take the heat. Although he looked out of sync today, he is A.I. and I’m sure he will be just fine as he moves on through the following rounds.

The Rookies – With all of the hype and hoopla surrounding the full-time arrival of Jordy Smith and Dane Reynolds (I’m as guilt of it as any), I was very interested to see how they would hold up under the pressure. While it’s still too early to say and this was only one heat here are my thoughts. Dane easily had the better heat of the two and was really catching his rhythm as the heat progressed. Jordy looked solid early on in his heat but just could not do enough with the waves he caught to catch Luke Stedman. Overall it was an impressive opening to the season by both Reynolds and Smith and both appeared largely unaffected by the pressure.

kelly slaterKelly Slater – Watching Kelly today and seeing him fall a little behind early on in the heat to Rodrigo Dornelles I once again had the same feeling I commonly had when watching the Chicago Bulls during the Jordan-years. With the clock ticking and Slater needing a 6.54 to overtake Dornelles and bypass the second round, Kelly sat calmly in the water and everyone watching knew what was about to happen. With about two minutes left in the heat, Slater ripped off a smooth 7.10 ride to take the heat and move straight into the 3rd round. Just another case of Kelly Slater doing what has made him the living-legend he is. When asked about his plans for the tour beyond the Gold Coast, Slater replied nonchalantly: “Well I got a heat tomorrow or the next day and that’s it, I’m definitely not going to surf all the events, that’s for sure.” Kelly also spent a few heats up in the booth at Snapper announcing with Tom Carroll. With 10 world championships between the two it was great to hear their points of view for a while, especially on the future of Dane Reynolds during his heat. It was also quite entertaining to watch their reactions as the cameraman seemed to increase the shots of backsides of some of the Gold Coast’s finest with Carroll and Slater on the call.

Forecast – While the swell that has left over what was surfed on today will continue to diminish, Ben Macartney from Coastalwatch appeared very optimistic about a swell that is building and likely to move through next weekend. The Superbank is in fantastic condition and if this swell comes through as expected it will provide an unbelievable arena for a display of world-class surfing at what will more than likely be Snapper Rocks as the contest moves into the later rounds.

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Posted by Shaun on Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 in Surfing.


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