Snapper is upon us, almost. Heat re-caps, fantasy surfer, and late night webcasts will soon consume an unhealthy portion of our lives. The sand is in good shape, a collosal Quik Pro contest site has been erected, and the forecast promises a week of 3-5 foot walls. All that remains is for that first hooter to sound.
Much has been said about the expensive re-imagining of the ASP, especially regarding their policy on photographer copyrights. However, as far as we can glean, the webcast will remain free, the competitors' faces are basically unchanged, and the online viewer experience will be much the same as previous years.
Present to provide a slice of fresh meat is the young Australian, Matt Banting, who took out the trials on Thursday. After winning the 6-Star ASP event in Newcastle, momentum seems to be on his side, but Slater represents a mighty obstacle in round one.
"Last year a few things didn't go my way and luck was on the other guy's side," Banting said. "Getting a win in Newcastle and now here feels great. I'm surfing smart heats and feeling fit and looking forward to the main event. I can't wait to be up against Kelly again, I've had two cracks in the past and he's gotten me both times. It's been three or four years and I'm stronger and more experienced than last time so we'll see how it goes."
Keely Andrew, current No. 2 on the ASP Australasia Junior Qualifying Series, tore through the field of 12 surfers to secure a spot in the Roxy Pro. The young Sunshine Coast surfer progressed past four-time World Champ, Lisa Anderson (USA), and many others with more experience in a contest vest.
"I came in with a lot of confidence and I'm leaving today with even more," Andrew said. "I've always wanted to be up against the top pro surfers so it will be a lot of fun. I'm here to turn some heads and hopefully make some heats."
Round 1 Heat Match-Ups
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Bebe Durbidge (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Matt Wilksinson (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS)
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS), Adam Melling (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 8: Nat Young (USA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Artiz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Heat 10: John John Florence (HAW), Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 11: CJ Hobgood (USA), Adriano De Souza (BRA), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF), Owen Wright (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 1
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Pauline Ado (FRA), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Malia Mauel (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS), Alana Blanchard (HAW), Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Laura Enver (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 6: Coco Ho (HAW), Lakey Peterson (USA), Dimity Stoyle (AUS)