Kelly Slater Wins Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast!
After almost two weeks of shifting contest locations from Rainbow Bay to Snapper Rocks, competitors, spectators, and contest organizers had their dreams come true when the final day’s heats were held at Kirra! Long, draining barrels greeted the last 4 surfers in the event as thousands of cheering fans covered every inch of dry land in view. Definitely a great start to the 2013 ASP World Tour!
When competition began, World Champion Joel Parkinson faced off against Tahiti’s Michel Bourez in semi-final #1. Parko got right at it, posting a perfect 10 point ride on an amazing double barrel. Parko then posted an 8.17 for a series of lethal carves finishing with a layback bash in the closeout. Bourez fought back with an incredible tube ride that scored an 8.87, but the damage was done and Parko moved on to the finals.
Semi-final #2 was a heat that will be talked about for years to come. Mick Fanning and Kelly Slater dueling in perfect Kirra barrels? Yes, please. With the quality of waves and the caliber of their tuberiding, they both should have won! Mick had Kelly on the ropes early with two epic barrels that netted Fanning a 8.67 and a 9.93. Kelly bounced back with a deep tube for a 9.37. Needing a high 9 to advance past Mick, Kelly found the wave of the day, took off extremely deep, and exited the barrel looking at the sky for a perfect 10! Mick had a chance on a few as time winded down, but it was not to be.
The final was set with Parko and Slater eager to get in the water. After a 30 minute Crowds Call Super Heat that featured fan voted surf superstars like Craig Anderson and Stephanie Gilmore, the two finalists made their way into the lineup.
Parko struck first in the final, snagging a deep barrel and ending it with a soul arch claim. Kelly answered right back with a smaller long tube, and then a second deep tube on a bigger wave to take the lead. Parko’s second wave saw the World Champion get a nice clean barrel which he followed up with an incredibly long floater and closeout bash. Parko was in the lead again. Then Slater put the nail in the coffin with an insane barrel followed by the most vicious layback snap that should have been awarded with a perfect 10, yet only received a 9.83. Regardless, it was enough to force Parko to hunt down a near perfect score to win. After a few minutes, Parko got a double barrel on a smaller one, but it was not enough to take the lead. Then, a huge set came through with Parko taking off super deep on a gem with Slater having priority. Slater’s competitive mastery took over. Knowing Parko was needing a big score Kelly dropped in. Although there was no way that Parko could have made the wave anyway, he gave Slater the bird while in the barrel for what is surely to be the most famous photo of the year. After a few more tries Parko could not come up with the score and Slater took the first victory of the year!
“It was just fun today,” Slater said. “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.”
For the past decade, every interview with Kelly Slater during the first event of the year usually includes the inevitable question if the champ will retire or go for another title. When asked the question again this year, Kelly answered in his usual vague way without committing to anything. But if you watched any of Kelly’s heats during the Quik Pro, it’s obvious that he is VERY into it. The paddle battle with Bede Durbidge in Round 4 would be proof alone, but taking out the win? Yeah, Slater is in 100% for 2013. And after the tough loss at last year’s Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach to Mick Fanning you can expect Slater to pull out all the stops for another chance to ring the bell in a few weeks.
Video Highlights – Semis and Final
Watch all the Men and Women World Tour competitors go at it again at the second stop on the ASP World Tour, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach on March 27th!
Photos courtesy ASP Images.