Opening Day At The 2011 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

The world's surfing elite has gathered for the 2011 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and Roxy Pro Gold Coast in Australia. Shockingly, world champion Stephanie Gilmore has already been defeated by Tyler Wright.

2011 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.  Photo: ASP/RobertsonThe 2011 ASP World Title season commenced today with the world’s best surfers battling one another in rippable two-to-three foot waves at the primary venue of Snapper Rocks for Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

With little swell projected for the coming week, event organizers opted to make the most of what was on offer today, completing Round 1 of both the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast. With Snapper Rocks offering up barrels and air sections on offer throughout the day, the capacity crowd on the beach and watching online were treated to some impressive opening day action.

Taj Burrow, defending Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, has had another banner start in 2011, defending his title up the road at the ASP 4-Star in Burleigh Heads last week before setting the pace as the form surfer of Round 1 today at Snapper Rocks.

Burrow’s combination of impressive tube-riding and high-performance netted him the highest heat total of the day, a 16.67 out of a possible 20, to best American opponents Bobby Martinez and Cory Lopez.

Jordy Smith, 2010 ASP World Runner-Up, has returned to Australia following an off-season spent in his native South Africa, and the well-built natural-footer continued to shine amongst the world’s best. Smith blitzed opponents Patrick Gudauskas and Mitch Crews, with unmatched power and aerial prowess.

Mick Fanning, former two-time ASP World Champion, secured the day’s highest single-wave score, a 9.33 out of a possible 10, for a Houdini-esque barrel and some unbridled power surfing.

“I’m pretty stoked I got that one good wave at the start and that settled the nerves,” Fanning said. “It was really slow and really wobbly out there. There wasn’t really any wind, so I’m just pretty stoked to feel one out and make it through that first heat.”

A past two-time winner of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast (2005, 2007), Fanning leads an incredibly deep local talent pool as the contest the best in the world.

“Competing at home adds to the nerves because you know the wave so well and spend so much time out there and ask yourself ‘am I at my best or not?” Fanning said. “Over the years I’ve gotten used to it, but the first few years there were definitely lots of nerves out here at home.”

Kelly Slater, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, remained calculated in dealing with the day’s deteriorating conditions. The Floridian scrapped past wildcard Matt Banting and Kai Otton to advance directly to Round 3 of competition.

“I don’t really approach heats with wildcards differently,” Slater said. “My game plan stays the same. There are heats where you know you have to let loose, but today was more focusing on getting the good waves and completing them. It’s not exceptional out there, so if you find a clean face and get a few good carves, you’ll probably get the highest score of the heat. I was just trying to find the clean ones.”

The ASP Top 17 Women took to the lineup following men’s competition for Round 1 of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. With one of the most impressive assemblies of female surfing talent in the sport’s history comprising the event’s field, it was youngster Tyler Wright, who fired the first shots of the season across the bow, besting reigning four-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore, in their Round 1 bout.

“I kind of just did my own thing out there and knew which waves were going to be the best,” Wright said. “Steph (Gilmore) has been out of the water for ages and had a lot on her plate lately. Owen (Wright) gave me some moral support and watching him this morning I kind of just learned from what he did. I have my whole family down here which is nice and the whole vibe is just good. I love this place.”

With her day’s high heat total of a 17.96 out of a possible 20, Wright advanced directly to Round 3 of women’s competition while Gilmore has been relegated to the elimination Round 2.

Other Roxy Pro Round 1 standouts included Sally Fitzgibbons, Coco Ho, Silvana Lima, Carissa Moore, and Jacqueline Silva. 

When competition resumes, up first will be Bede Durbidge up against wildcard Matt Banting in the opening men’s heat of Round 2 and Rebecca Woods battling Courtney Conlogue in the opening women’s heat of Round 2.

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