South African surf star Jordy Smith took third place in the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover, the season opening event on the 2011 ASP World Tour, at Snapper Rocks in Australia earlier today.
Reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 39, secured an unprecedented 46th elite tour win by defeating defending event champion Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, in a hard fought final held in deteriorating wind affected one metre waves.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” Slater said from the podium after becoming the first to win the event three times. “It’s pretty easy. You go out and surf Snapper by yourself, it’s pretty fun. Everyone loves this event because the waves are so fun. I don’t think I’m the only one that thought Taj was the standout of the event. At some point he had to stop getting 9s and I just picked the right heat.”
Burrow, who was arguably the form surfer throughout the entirety of the event, went on an absolute rampage on the final day of competition to oust American Brett Simpson (USA), 26, in the Quarterfinals and dangerous South African Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, in the Semifinals, but fell just short of the score needed to surpass Slater for the victory in the back-half of their final duel, finishing runner-up overall.
“I’m excited about the tour for 2011,” Burrow said. “This was a fun event and it’s just a bummer the waves didn’t hang in there at the end. I couldn’t better a 3 (out of 10). Hats off to Kelly, he built a house and it worked. I’d just like to thank everyone that organized the contest, it was awesome.”
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, the runner-up for 2010 ASP World Title, surfed with style, punch and bite throughout the duration of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, securing exciting last-minute victories over Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, and Alejo Muniz (BRA), 21, to advance through to the Semifinals. However, the big South African was unable to overtake Burrow in a repeat of last season’s final.
“It’s disappointing when everything seems to be going well and the surf doesn’t cooperate,” Smith said. “Taj (Burrow) surfed amazing though and third place is still a good start for me. I’m looking forward to the next event and I’ll just put my head down and work hard until then.”
Despite finishing one place worse off than his runner-up spot in the corresponding event in 2010, Smith’s performances were a clear signal that he will be a strong contender for the 2011 ASP World Title.
He convincingly won his Round 1 encounter against Pat Gudauskas (USA) and Aussie wildcard Mitch Crews to move directly into Round 3 where, after the contest was delayed for seven days waiting for swell, he dispatched veteran campaigner Corey Lopez (USA) with the highest scores of the round (17.17 points out of 20) to reach the last 12.
Although he slipped up in Round 4, the so-called ‘demonstration round’ where none of the surfers are eliminated, finishing third behind Brett Simpson (USA) and Adriano de Souza (BRA), the South African roared back into contention with a morale-boosting, high scoring Round 5 victory over perennial ASP World Title contender and local hero Joel Parkinson to advance to the quarterfinals.
A last minute comeback against red-hot rookie Alejo Muniz (BRA) this morning set up Smith’s semifinal encounter with Burrow which he ultimately lost when the Australian posted two outstanding rides
Highlights from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be available via http://www.quiksilverpro.com.au
The next stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season will be the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger from April 19 – 30, 2011.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kelly Slater (USA) 11.20
2 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.17
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.77 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 8.20
SF 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.56 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.40
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.40 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 9.06
QF 2: Tiago Pires (PRT) 14.64 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.40
QF 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.30 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.60
QF 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.03 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.95
ASP WORLD TITLE TOP 5 (After Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast):
1. Kelly Slater (USA) 10,000 points
2. Taj Burrow (AUS) 8,000 points
3. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 6,500 points
3. Tiago Pires (PRT) 6,500 points
5. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5,200 points
5. Brett Simpson (USA) 5,200 points
5. Dusty Payne (HAW) 5,200 points
5. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 5,200 points
For further information go to www.aspworldtour.com
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Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
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About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing’s undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women’s World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships.
The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.