The 2012 ASP World Tour is officially underway, with the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro Gold Coast events enjoying four straight days of competition over the last week in Australia. When the event resumes, the all-Aussie semifinals will go down for the ladies, with Sally Fitzgibbons facing Stephanie Gilmore. On the men’s side, South Africa’s Jordy Smith and Brazil’s Adriano de Souza have both earned spots in the quarterfinal round.
“There’s definitely a different sort of pressure you have to deal with coming in as World Champ and defending your title, as opposed to chasing a title for the first time,” Moore said. “It’s a new experience for me.”
Support for Fitzgibbons was widespread, with messages of encouragement all over the beach. “It’s crazy to have people walking around in ‘Go Sally!’ shirts,” she said. “The support from fans and Roxy is what keeps me going out there. As I was paddling out for my heat, instead of the jittery nerves I’ve had in the past few years, I was stoked to start the season and had a smile from ear to ear.”
“I waited for that wave for about 15-minutes -- it was such a good feeling,” he said. “I knew I needed a big score and I knew I needed to wait for the big waves to get a barrel. I’m so stoked.”
Kolohe Andino scored his first win in his ASP World Tour debut, overcoming rookie nerves to defeat fellow Californian Brett Simpson. South African Jordy Smith scored 8.33 and 9.1 on his opening waves on Sunday, defeating Taylor Knox.
“I just had to make sure I was on the waves that allowed for those big power turns,” Smith said. “After losing yesterday, I promised myself I’d go out there and have fun. I’d built this contest up way too much in my head and now I’m feeling more relaxed.”
Julian Wilson scored the highest heat total of the day, an 18.57, in his matchup with fellow Aussie Adam Melling. “I lost in this round last year in a close one against Taj (Burrow) and went on to lose a bit early in the next few events so I was nervous before that one,” Wilson said. “I did want to make a statement. In my first two heats I wasn’t myself -- it didn’t feel like it was coming together for me. In that heat I felt a lot better; I felt solid on my board.”
Unfortunately, Fanning’s luck ran out on Monday, as he was defeated by Brazil’s Miguel Pupo. Andino was also eliminated by Red Bull teammate De Souza.
“It was a tough heat for sure,” De Souza said. “I respect Kolohe a lot; he’s only 17, but he can do a lot of damage out there. I was trying to defend my position in the top five and he’s trying to do well in his first event, (so) it was a good heat.”
Tuesday brought a wealth of action, with Fitzgibbons defeating Hawaiian Malia Manuel in the quarters. Despite a wrist injury, which kept her out of the water in December and January, Fitzgibbons looks solid and is continuing her momentum after her victory at the Australian Open. She will next face the formidable four-time World Champ Stephanie Gilmore in the semis.
Carissa did not fare as well, facing a charging Tyler Wright in a re-match of the 2011 Roxy Pro Gold Coast final. “I was lucky enough that I got the good waves,” Wright commented after the round. “If she got them she would have smashed me too.”
Jordy Smith (pictured above) and Adriano de Souza continued their strong runs, with each winning their Round 4 heats to transfer directly to the quarters. Smith advanced with only a .14 margin over Joel Parkinson in the non-elimination round -- the pair put on quite a show, in fact.
“I wanted to beat Joel 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 favorite surfers so it’s tough to come up against him.”
Smith again faces Parkinson in the quarters when competition resumes, with De Souza going up against Owen Wright.
Upcoming Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Adriano De Souza (BRA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
QF 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
QF 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Upcoming Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Laura Enever (AUS)
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
For more, visit the official ASP World Tour website.
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