Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2012 - Images by Peter 'Joli' Wilson
Aussie surfers scored a double victory at Snapper Rocks with Taj Burrow winning the Quiksilver Pro and (former world champion) Stephanie Gilmore winning the Roxy Pro.
“I’m feeling great mate!” said Burrow after defeating Brazilian Adriano de Souza in what was a tense see sawing 35 minute heat battle in front of a packed Snapper Rocks beach.
“I felt like I was in Rio [Rio de Janeiro],” said Burrow about the massive crowd that spilled into the water. “There were so many Brazilians here chanting for Adriano and I was a bit unnerved at first but it got me revved up, and I heard the Aussies bounce back with a really good roar on a couple of my waves, I could actually hear them as I was going through my turns. That’s a pretty special feeling.”
Burrow’s definitely needed some local support after de Souza had opened the final with an eight point ride nailing an air reverse on his very first turn.
“I was freaking after Adriano’s first ride, it’s quite an exclamation mark to come out on the first wave and try an air on your first turn,” explained Burrow later. “He did a sick turn and got eight (points) for just that one turn which is quite intimidating for sure but I knew I could get those scores too, if not better, if I could pick the right waves, but he (de Souza) sure makes it hard for you.”
Adriano de Souza, who had avoided a lot of the contest hype that focused on Joel Parkinson, Kelly Slater and Jordy Smith has come second in this event and would have dearly liked to have won, but Burrow got the better of him again today.
“We’ve met about 10 times now and Taj has won about six times,” said de Souza as he watched Burrow being mobbed by a massive media scrum. “I had the heat of my life against Taj last year and I would have really liked to have had a win today. What can I say, he belongs in the top three or four in the world and he has been knocking on the door (of a world title) for pretty much like 10 years. I’m sure we’ll met again and maybe next time it will be different.”
Both third place getters, Josh Kerr and Jordy Smith would have liked to have the results go differently too.
“If you’d told me a week ago I was going to get a third I would have told you I’d be stoked, “ said Kerr as he watched Burrow and de Souza battle out the final. “I really wish I was out in the final right now,” he continued with a shrug. “I had that heat this morning against Adriano and I really wanted to get through so I’m really disappointed right now, but I’ll take a third.”
Jordy Smith had his own reasons for wanting a win at Snapper Rocks after the news last week of the downgrading of the World Tour event at Jeffreys Bay (to a six star); Smith would have been the defending champion.
“I had an added incentive to win here because they’ve taken JBay (Jeffreys Bay, South Africa) away and I wanted to win one of the right hand point breaks this year.”
Smith was runner up two years ago at the Quik Pro and made the semis twice in the last three years so he was more than a little disappointed about his result.
“@#%*, I’m just really bummed, I wanted to make the final so bad. If you want to win a world title you’ve got to win finals,” he said. “I guess it’s a really good start to the year and now I hope to go and do really well at Bells, hopefully win or make the final at least.”
When asked about the conditions today he answered with a smile, “It wasn’t perfect Snapper but I’m happy to have beaten Parko out here (Joel Parkinson’s home break). He’s probably beaten me 10 times and I’ve only beaten him three, so I don’t think I’ve got it over him yet, (laughing) but those three times are all out here at Snapper.”
The 2012 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast didn’t have perfect waves and for a lot of the Top 34 surfers it was a nervous start to the year. The tour rookies didn’t really get a chance to shine with the seasoned pros filling the final top eight spots.
Taj Burrow has led the world tour ratings at this stage of the year before, but it’s another long year ahead. He just laughed when asked how he felt about his World Title chances this year?
“Right now, it’s all about rating points and having a few beers with my mates.”