Today marks the beginning of the 2017 World Tour, with its first stop in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
While hopes are high for this year’s rookies to hit the ground running, the veterans prove they are serious in keeping their advantage. Majority of the heats resulted in top seeds taking the first place save for a few exceptions such as in Heat 7 where two former World Champions met face to face.
Mick Fanning took down Kelly Slater and Jeremy Flores in Heat 7 of the first round, proving that he is indeed back. In the early minutes of the heat, Slater paddled on a wave and established an early lead with a 5.83 while Fanning answered back with a 4.67 of his own. Fanning took another wave and scored a 6.10 but was not enough to take the lead.
Mick and Kelly exchanging waves:
Flores quietly focused on getting more waves and he was able to secure the highest single wave score of the heat with a 7.33. He then topped it off with another 5.80 putting Mick Fanning in trouble of being in the last place with the heat coming to an end.
But Mick Fanning did two clean turns, then a beautiful forehand hook and finished with a floater to the delight of his fans. Mick’s comeback wave was a 7.17 and it was enough to snatch the lead from Flores. Fanning finished with a final score of 13.27, overtaking Flores’ 13.13 total and in the process defeating Kelly Slater who only managed an 11.20 in this heat.
Mick Fanning’s Comeback Wave:
Matt “Wilko” Wilkinson won his heat against Stuart Kennedy and Ian Gouveia with a 13.67 combined total. Kolohe Andino also took first place in Heat 3 against Jack Freestone and Kanoa Igarashi with a total score of 11.33.
Meanwhile, another former world champ showed he still got what it takes to win. Gabriel Medina secured a 7.50 in the early minutes of Heat 4 against Wiggolly Dantas and Ezekiel Lau. Backed it up with an excellent combination of well executed turns that gave him a 7.83 . He sealed the win with his 8.67 ride off a barrel and a combination of vertical maneuvers, sending a message that he is aiming for another world title.
Gab Medina Taking Heat 4 of Round 1:
The reigning World Champion John John Florence owned his heat against Mikey Wright and Connor O’Leary. He combined a couple of 8s to finish with a total of 16.83, winning by a 3.33 margin against Mikey Wright. Florence’s combination of maneuvers have been fluid and at the same time deadly. John opened his 2017 season showing everyone why he deserved to wear the Yellow Jersey.
Another standout is Julian Wilson who won Heat 8 against Leonardo Fioravanti and Caio Ibelli with 16.80. Coming from a huge second place finish at the Australian Open of Surfing over a week ago, Wilson continued building on his momentum and hit the water with strong determination.
Joel Parkinson, another former World Champion, showcased his sharp surfing skills. He scored the highest single wave score of the event so far with a near perfect 9.23 ride right as the gates opened for Heat 9 of the first round. With Snapper Rocks being his backyard, he took advantage of his experience in choosing the best waves to surf. Parkinson won Heat 9 with a total heat score of 18.86 defeating Joan Duru and Italo Ferreira.
Joel Parkinson Dominates Heat 9 of Round 1:
Frederico Morais kept his surfing sharp in the off-season and dominated his heat against veteran Filipe Toledo and Adrian Buchan. Morais took off with a nice carve and continued with a combination of maneuvers that earned him an 8.73. It was the highest single wave score of the heat and he backed it up with another 6.67, winning against Filipe Toledo by 0.60 margin.
Former World Champion Adriano De Souza posted a 9.17, making him the winner of Heat 11 against Bede Durbidge and Josh Kerr.
Owen Wright appeared in his very first CT heat from the time of his injury at the pipe back in 2015. And he looked like he is in a great shape winning Heat 12 of the first round with a 16.83.
Owen and Ethan’s solid Round 1 Heat 12:
But it was Ethan Ewing, the reigning World Junior Champion and a CT rookie, who debuted a solid Round 1 performance scoring one of the only three 9.0 range scores in the entire round. He put in a lot of effort on the very first wave he paddled into in the CT and earned 9.10 for a series of verticals he managed to maneuver with excellence.
The event is now on standby after a few heats from the second round were finished. Stay tuned to get the latest news on the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
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