HE says he's talking the season seriously, he's won the opening event of the year and Parko is the runner-up. This isn't 2005, or even the last hurrah of the old guard in 2012 - another year dawns with the old guard dominating another generation of youngsters.
If you didn't get what we meant. Kelly Slater has won the 2013 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in pumping Kirra barrels over Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning came in 3rd, Michel Bourez 4th and Taj Burrow in 5th. It's sad and ligament-tearingly ironic that the young pretenders (John John and Medina) have been laid low by tender crunched ankles, a direct result of landing the moves which set them apart from the rest. Kelly, for all his concerns over old injuries hampering his surfing he is the one planted on the top step of the podium.
They’re all important but it’s nice to get off to a good start. The three top seeds: Joel, myself and Mick all finished in the top three spots Kelly Slater
“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.”
Today 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 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.”
A big part of the story of the contest was the loaded forecast amidst shifting sandbanks, which made contest director Jake Paterson's job much harder than it could have been. We know from our own experiences from working on WCT events that each contest brings its own challenges. Jake was really up against it from day one as the forecast threatened and did deliver the best conditions right at the very end of the ten day waiting period. Tomorrow, Thursday, March 14th, will be even better than today as the swell really fills in but the waiting period is up.
"It was a tough week for Jake Patterson." Said Kelly "Making the calls on when and where to surf, he's got all of us in his ear. Being on the other side of it he now realises how hard it is to be a contest director. But coming down to the last day and we get Kirra. It was epic."
Coming down to the last day and we get Kirra. It was epic. Kelly Slater
Forecast uncertainty is an event director's greatest headache. Nothing is 100% guaranteed when forecasting a swell here due to the spot's limited fetch and especially this week all decisions were shadowed by the unpredictability of Cyclone Sandra to the north. This sort of uncertainty makes every decision difficult, passing up average but guaranteed waves in the 'now' for potentially better better ones in the future takes courage. Add in the much-reported sand issues on the famous Coolangatta points and you have a big test on your hands. We weren't involved in the forecasting but it was really pleasing to see the event, Jake and the surfers get the conditions they deserved for the final rounds.
Parkinson looked unbeatable in his first heat, collecting a perfect 10 in his morning semi before posting an excellent 17.47 in his against Slater. However, the impressive scoreline would prove insufficient against the American’s onslaught and the reigning ASP World Champion would post a runner-up finish in the opening event of the year.
“When Kirra is doing what it’s doing out there today, it doesn’t feel like an event,” Parkinson said. “I had some great waves and a lot of fun, and to get to do it with the singlet on is icing on the cake. I appreciate all the local support out here today and it is a good start to the season. Bring on Bells.”
Mick Fanning went down in a barrel shootout this morning with Slater. Despite opening up with an impressive scoreline and an early lead, the Kirra local would ultimately fall to Slater in the dying moments of the heat.
“It’s a tough way to go out but you can’t be too upset when you put together a heat like that,” Fanning said. “I had a really good start and put in some solid scores. Kelly (Slater) just did his ‘Kelly Thing’ and got that incredible 10 and really put himself back in the hunt. Shame I couldn’t get to the Final with Joel (Parkinson), but it’s a good start to the year so I’ll refocus and get ready for Bells.”
Michel Bourez had a tough one against Joel. “It was such a hard heat against Parko.” Bourez said. “He’s a local and he got a 10 on his first wave. It was kind of embarrassing for me as I was waiting and sitting out there for too long and Joel was able to catch a lot of waves. It’s alright though. It’s my best result at this event. I feel great, my boards are going well and I can’t wait for Bells.”
The next stop on the 2013 Tour will be the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford from March 27 – April 7, 2013. Want to watch any of these heats? Hit the heat review button.
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
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