The world’s best male and female surfers have arrived on Australia’s Gold Coast for the commencement of the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) with the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover scheduled to begin on Saturday.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, reigning ASP World Champion and former Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast event champion, looked relaxed as he joked with media and the other surfers. Parkinson admitted that he’s feeling less pressure and looking forward to using a relaxed approach to the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour season with hopes of replicating last year’s success.
“It’s good to have the monkey off my back,” Parkinson said. “My philosophy last year was to enjoy it and I really did and I’m looking forward to this year, and this event in particular. I’ve had to do a lot of stuff outside of surfing since I won the ASP World Title, so this event will be like a holiday for me. I get to get back to what I love and that’s surfing and competing.”
Parkinson went on to elaborate about the condition of the sandbank at Snapper Rocks, explaining that the change in venue from previous years will level the playing field.
“I shouldn’t be telling everyone this, but I don’t think there will be a lot of local advantage this year.” Parkinson said. “Usually Snapper is good for the locals because we know the break and we have more time here to hone our skills. This year, I don’t see the event running at Snapper too much. I think we will be moving between Rainbow and Kirra.”
Parkinson will face compatriot Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 24, and an event wildcard in Round 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
Dane Reynolds (USA), former ASP Top 34 competitor and wildcard into the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, has stepped away from full-time competition, but remains one of the most exciting surfers in the world as well as an ardent competitor when the opportunity arises.
“I still watch all the events whenever I’m at home or have access to a computer,” Reynolds said. “I enjoy competing, I just do it less often now and in some ways that puts more pressure on myself to do well, because it’s not like I can go ‘oh well ,there’s always Bells next week’. I’ve been working on boards at home, but our poinkbreaks are really different from over here. I surfed yesterday and I feel good. I’m excited for a big Round 1 match-up against either Kelly (Slater) or Joel (Parkinson).”
Reynolds will face one of the events top seeds in Round 1 of competition.
Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, perennial ASP World Title threat and defending Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, will be one of the favorites heading into this week’s event, but admits that the competitive field is as dangerous as ever.
“Everyone rips out here,” Burrow said. “We had a surfer meeting this morning and I was looking around the room thinking that there are no easy heats. It’s going to be an action-packed event. I’ve had a good strike rate at this event over the past few years so I’m feeling good. Joel (Parkinson) will be hard to beat, he’s on a high after winning events and the ASP World Title and I know I surf my best when I’m confident. I’m looking forward to getting started.”
Miguel Pupo (BRA), 21, and Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), 31, have both withdrawn from competition due to injury and have been replaced by Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 27, and Willian Cardoso (BRA), 23, respectively.
Running in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be Event No. 1 of 7 on the 2013 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, featuring the best female surfers in the world.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, reigning five-time ASP Women’s World Champion and defending Roxy Pro Gold Coast winner, is back on top this season and will look to begin her year with a big result at home at Snapper Rocks.
“This is my favourite stop on the ASP World Championship tour because it’s my homebreak,” Gilmore said. “It’s the start of the year so there’s a lot of excitement. The girls on tour are all looking really fit and have been surfing the warm-up sessions really well. It will be an exciting event.”
Jan Stuckey Minister for Tourism, Small Business, Commonwealth Games and Sunshine was in attendance for today’s opening press function and
“I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land of which we site and give them thanks,” Minister Stuckey said. “It is with a great degree of pride that I join you here at Rainbow Bay, in my electorate of Currumbin, of all the titles I carry as a government minister, the one that I am most proud of is Minister for Currumbin. This weekend we will see the world’s best surfers take to the water and compete for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro titles and I’m sure that the competition will provide plenty of entertainment for visitors and locals alike.”
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Travis Logie (ZAF), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW), Kai Otton (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Kolohe Andino (USA), TBD
Heat 6: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), TBD
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Nat Young (USA)
Heat 9: Julian Wilson (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS), Michel Bourez (PYF), Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Laura Enever (AUS), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Rebecca Woods (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), TBD
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Paige Hareb (NZL), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 6: Malia Manuel (HAW), Lakey Peterson (USA), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
The Quiksilver and Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover will run from March 2 – 13, 2013 and will be webcast LIVE via quiksilverlive.com
For more information, log onto ASPWorldTour.com