Just eight men and four women remain after the world's best surfers were put to the test in tricky two-to-three foot surf at Snapper Rocks in the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro on Australia's Gold Coast on Tuesday.
Tyler Wright (AUS), 17, the runner-up at the 2011 Roxy Pro, eliminated reigning ASP Women's World Champion and 2011 event winner Carissa Moore (HAW), 19, in a re-match of last year's final. Wright was ferocious in her assault on the waves at Snapper Rocks, posting two excellent scores en route to causing the biggest upset of the event.
That result could leave the way clear for Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21, the 2011 ASP Women's World Tour runner-up to Moore, who clocked a pair of scores in the 8-point-range to eliminate newcomer Malia Manuel (HAW), 18, in the quarter finals. Manuel would end up with Eqaul 5th and the bragging rights as the highest placed rookie at the 2012 Roxy Pro.
"That was a really good result to start the year off," Fitzgibbons said. "Yesterday I was struggling with my board choice and wave selection and it's good to fix that up. It was really nice out there with really fun waves. I'm feeling fired up. I'm still finding my feet after having not too much surfing time in the off season with a wrist injury, but it's all coming together and I'm looking forward to the semi-finals."
Fitzgibbons will take on four-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, in the semi-finals when competition resumes. The Gold Coast natural-footer seems to have found her form at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast and will be a dangerous draw.
Alongside the high-powered women's action was the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and Adriano De Souza (BRA), 25, won the first three-man, non-elimination heat of Round 4. The lead changed multiple times between De Souza, Owen Wright (AUS), 22, and Josh Kerr (AUS), 27, with the Brazilian taking out the two Australians and advancing directly into the quarter finals.
"I just tried to concentrate on my myself because Owen (Wright) is one of the form surfers of this event and Josh (Kerr) can also do some damage out there," De Souza said. "I tried to catch the best waves and sometimes luck is on your side and it worked out for me in that one. I'm stoked to skip Round 4 and move straight into the quarter finals."
De Souza will once again face Owen Wright (AUS), 22, who went on to win his afternoon Round 5 heat, in Quarter Final 1 when competition resumes.
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, the reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and last year's Quiksilver Pro winner, didn't take his foot off the gas in his morning Round 4 heat win. The iconic Floridian built momentum throughout the affair, even changing equipment mid-heat to adjust to the conditions.
"On that first wave I could tell my board didn't have the pop I wanted," Slater said. "Because the waves are so small, you need a small board to fit in the pocket, so I switched to a shorter, wider board. None of us really got in sync in that one. It was really tough to pick the right waves. I only woke up 40 minutes before my heat. I thought we were going to be off today so I was sleeping in and I got a call saying 'get up, we're on.'"
Meanwhile, Jordy Smith (ZAF), 24, edged out Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, and Miguel Pupo (BRA), 20, in an exciting Round 4 exchange. Smith and Parkinson put on an epic show for the crowd and finished the heat with only 0.14 separating their score lines.
"I wanted to beat Joel (Parkinson) bad," Smith said. "He has beaten me pretty much my whole life, so I've got a lot to get him back for. He's also one of my favourite surfers so it's tough to come up against him. Miguel (Pupo) is another tough one because he's got all the tricks in the book. Choosing the right waves is pretty key out there."
Smith will face Parkinson in a rematch during Quarter Final 3 when competition resumes on Wednesday morning at 7.30am local time.
UPCOMING QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST QUARTER-FINAL MATCH-UPS:
HEAT 1: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
HEAT 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
HEAT 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 5 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.20 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.43
HEAT 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.44 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.84
HEAT 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.00 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.06
HEAT 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.03 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.27
QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 4 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 15.37, Owen Wright (AUS) 15.134, Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.00
HEAT 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.13, Heitor Alves (BRA) 11.10
HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.44, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.30, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.04
HEAT 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.34, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.33, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.33
UPCOMING ROXY PRO GOLD COAST SEMI-FINALS MATCH-UPS:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST QUARTER-FINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) 18.03 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.47
QF 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 13.57 def. Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.23
QF 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 17.00 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.00
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 4 RESULTS:
HEAT 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.13 def. Sarah Mason (NZL) 10.80
HEAT 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.73 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.50
HEAT 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 18.13 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.50
HEAT 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.03 def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.23