Quiksilver Pro! Up to Round Five.
Rosy Hodge, sweet as can be, directed a microphone to Kelly Slater’s chin and asked, “Do you ever feel bad for your opponents?”
He smiled cheekily and said: “No.”
“A lot of talk about you and Joel over the last few days,” led-in another reporter.
“As a couple?” Kelly asked immediately, sending the lady into giggles.
Kelly was having fun out there, he progresses! And, yes, he did go left. Photo – ASP / Kirstin.
Just as there’s no one as sharp as Kelly in post-heat interviews, there’s still no one as dangerous in a heat. Today the Floridian beat Dusty Payne in the first heat of the day at the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast, then clocked the day’s highest heat total (18.27) to win his round four heat and bounce straight to the quarters. While he looked electric (frontside slob spin attempt, a Snapper lefthander with three amazing drifts), Kelly said afterwards that it ain’t all peaches. “I’m actually carrying three injuries right now,” he said. “I’m just scraping by, to be honest. A couple of days ago, I wouldn’t have been able to surf very well. I’ve just been stretching a lot. Trying to work the right muscles out, watching my diet. But, almost 30 years of competing full on, it weighs on your body. Dude, I got all kinds. A lot of guys hide these injuries, they don’t tell you. I don’t know how that’s gonna make your injury any better. I have my patella tendon here, and I have an old hip thing that I kinda battle a lot. That kinda makes my back hurt.”
Considering the small percentage of his career that Kelly’s been boosting into the flats, he gently warned about what could be a defining factor in future world title decisions. “I was talking to someone about that this morning and saying that’s the one thing with the air guys. There’s gonna be a lot of injuries, I think, and they’re gonna determine world champions. For the next 10 years you can expect John John and Medina to be in the world title talk every time, but who’s gonna hurt themselves more doing airs, y’know? You wanna be exceptionally good at the airs and those rotations and stuff, but your ankles and knees are gonna suffer at some point, or your lower back. I don’t do those airs (like the slob he’d just tried) every surf. If I did, I’d get hurt all the time. When I’ve got the focus and I need the score, I’m gonna try whatever I can on any section. Freesurfing, I don’t go as big as I can every section. Just playing the odds, you’re gonna get hurt a lot. It’s unfortunate for those guys, all eyes are on those two coming into this event. Everyone’s saying, “Who’s gonna be the next world champ? Medina or John John?” So it’s ironic that they’re both hurt in the ankle. They’re gonna have to be careful of that for the next 20 years.”
Matt Wilkinson, one of the days stand outs. Photo by ASP / Will H-S.
Kelly’s round four victory had almost been extinguished by Bede Durbidge and Matt Wilkinson. Wilko, today, revealed why he thinks he’s been jamming through heats so productively of late. “I’ve kinda realised that the judges score me for just doing big turns, and I don’t need to do stupid stuff anymore,” he said. “I’m not the little kid that they want to do airs and 360s and stuff. If I do solid turns, I’ll get solid scores. I know that I’ve still got all those little tricks in there, so when I need to, I can hopefully pull them out. I spoke to Richie Porta and he said, “That’s what we want you to do, you’re always trying to impress us but you don’t need to, you can do solid turns and score points.” And it was exactly the same in Santa Cruz, I was getting through heats and I wasn’t doing reverses – I wasn’t doing anything outrageous, I was just waiting for sections and doing solid turns. And I got through to the final. So I think if I keep this mindset, and know that I can do good turns, I can get through. It makes it a lot easier that trying to spin around and do stupid shit and fall off all the time.”
Tomorrow Wilko will take on the other most exciting goofy-footer in this event so far, Travis Logie. After one of the day’s best exchanges, Jordy Smith was left needing a 7.95 against his fellow South-African. Trav let Jordy have what he thought wasn’t the best wave, and Jordy lit it up. “You just nearly witnessed me having a full-on fight with myself on the beach, for letting him go on that last wave,” said Trav. “I was about to brawl myself. It was so ruthless in the dying minutes and I know the best way to beat Jordy is to come from behind and beat him.” Jordy went hard, the buzzer sounded, and both men stood staring at each other in the competitor’s area, waiting for the scores to drop. “What do you think?” Jordy asked trainer Jarrad Howse. “Biggest turn of the heat, that first one. Every move was clean. I didn’t wobble or anything.” While Jordy was absolutely right, it still wasn’t enough – the scores dropped and he’d scooped a 7.93, which was 0.02 points less than he needed.
Taj Burrow, in form. Photo by ASP / Will H-S.
With Snapper feeling a little more like itself today, Taj Burrow found his feet more solid: “I felt good, I love my board and I love those sections when they’re on offer. I was yet to have a really good heat but that one felt like I was getting there, f’sure. I wouldn’t change a thing, I like it out there. As I said yesterday, I feel lost at sea when I move down to Rainbow or Kirra, I’ve got no idea what I’m looking for. I like Snapper, sitting next to the rock.”
Julian Wilson, relaxed and winning. Photo by ASP / Will H-S.
Oh, and Julian Wilson. In victory over Joel that Julian called a “confidence-booster,” the Sunny-Coaster looked to be having way more fun than yesterday. “I felt way more relaxed today. My wave selection at the start of the heat put me on the back foot, I kinda was too relaxed and wanted to catch waves and do big airs and finners. But Parko got his first two waves and they were two of the right waves, they didn’t have too much wall on them and he did three turns on each and put good scores on the board. That kinda made me think, I’ve gotta catch good waves to beat these guys. So I really waited for that 8.9. Parko had a look at that wave and I had priority and I knew it was gonna be a good one because if I wasn’t going, he was going. It was probably the best-shaped wave of the heat and I just had to ride it. In the second half of that heat I finally felt like I was thinking smart, and thinking in the heat, not thinking about everything else around it.”
Reckon they’re gonna make it to the final tomorrow? We can only hope. Find out here in the a.m. – Elliot Struck
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST REMAINING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 7: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.23 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.34
Heat 8: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.00 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.50
Heat 9: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.63 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.37
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.16 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 9.53
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.44 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.43
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.67 def. Nat Young (USA) 16.36
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 18.06, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.83, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.07
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.60, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.53, Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.13
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.27, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 16.60, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.44
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.40 Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.60, Brett Simpson (USA) 8.23
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 4: Travis Logie (ZAF) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS:
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. TBD
QF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. TBD
QF 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. TBD
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. TBD