Kelly Slater (USA), 41, 11-time ASP World Champion and 2012 ASP World Runner-Up, has started his 2013 season by winning the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, beating local and reigning ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31. The capacity crowd couldn’t have asked for more from the venue, Kirra, which was pumping three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) barrels for much of the day.
The day kicked off with a win for Joel Parkinson, launching himself into the final. He opened his semifinal account with a couple big scores from which Michel Bourez (PYF), 27, was unable to recover. Kelly’s path through the semifinals was a test against Mick Fanning, who received massive cheers from the crowd as he pushed for an all Australian final. Mick opened his account which a sweeping duck-in, duck-out barrel and posted two big scores early in the round. Kelly continued to push but was closed down twice by two narrow tubes. Regaining his focus, he responded by surfing a deep thoughty barrel to produce a perfect ten, sending himself to the final. Afterwards, in an interview, Kelly referred to the heat with an anecdote about being held up by traffic and getting through (i.e. regaining his focus to produce that 10)!
All week Quiksilver have been using ‘crowd’s call’ to give viewers the vote as to who surfed in the superheat (something I hope we see again in the Quik Pro France later this year). Jordy Smith (RSA), 26,
Dane Reynolds (USA), 27, Rabbit Bartholomew (AUS), 58, Craig Anderson (RSA) and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, paddled out into Kirra for the heat. Rabbit surfed the best tube late in the heat but the crowd voted Steph Gilmore to take home first prize, a MR classic original single fin. Either way – a fun warm up for the final.
Slater and Parkinson opened their 40-minute Final bout with a rapid-fire exchange of tube-riding displays, vaulting the lead back and forth before Slater nailed a 9.93 for an incredibly-deep barrel punctuated by a full-velocity forehand carve. “It was just fun today,” Slater said (short and simple…I like it!)
“I really wanted to surf Kirra as I made known the other day and it was great fun out there. We thought the swell was going to be too East, but it’s really really good out there and to get to surf it with Joel (Parkinson) is even better. He’s one of the best and we had a lot of fun out there.” Today’s win marks Slater’s 52nd elite tour victory of his career, but the iconic Floridian admits that it’s a long season ahead in terms of the hunt for the 2013 ASP World Title.
“They’re all important but it’s nice to get off to a good start,” Slater said. “The three top seeds – Joel, myself and Mick all finished in the top three spots and Michel (Bourez) had a great event too. Momentum shifts throughout each season and a lot can happen. It’s probably the most talented field that has ever been on tour and there are nine more events. I’m committed to the tour this season.”
For me it’s incredible to see Kelly at the peak of his sport at the age of 41 as well as Rabbit surfing so well at 58. It really shows the power of looking after yourself in life and that there are really no limits!
The next stop on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) will be the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach from March 27 – April 7, 2013 so stay posted for that.
Check out the days highlights:
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 18.56
2 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.47
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.17 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.80
SF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.37 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.60
CURRENT ASP WCT TOP 5 (Following Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 10000 pts
2. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 8000 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 6500 pts
3. Michel Bourez (PYF) 6500 pts
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 5200 pts
5. Julian Wilson (AUS) 5200 pts
5. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 5200 pts
5. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5200 pts