Round 1 commenced today at Snapper Rocks, with a big turnout of spectators and photographers, especially for Heat 5 with former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 6, Kelly Slater.
The day was cloudy with onshore winds and afternoon showers, and 3-5ft waves with small barrels and big walls. Some very fine surfing took place over the course of the round. Winners of today’s 16 heats go straight through to Round 3. Winners are: Brett Simpson (USA), a rookie on the World Tour, Jeremy Flores (France), Tiago Peres (Puerto Pico), Kelly Slater (USA), Adriano de Souza (Brazil), Dusty Payne (Hawaii), Taylor Knox (USA), Jadson Andre (Brazil) and Australians Adrian Buchan, Chris Davidson, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Tom Whitaker, Luke Munro, Owen Wright (another rookie) and Bede Durbridge.
Owen Wright, 20, a 2010 ASP Dream Tour rookie, bested Kelly Slater as a wildcard on two occasions last year, in Bells Beach and Portugal. With his arsenal of aerials and high-performance turns, and a fierce competitive record, Wright is definitely one to watch.
As usual, Kelly Slater was in a class of his own, making 360 degree turns and aerial manoeuvres look like a walk in the park.
The master in action. These 3 shots are from his second wave which scored 8.50, and combined with his 5th wave of 9.27 for a winning score of 17.77, with Benn Dunn on 9.50 second and Marco Polo on 7.34 third.
I never noticed until I was editing this what big feet Kelly Slater has – must be what gives him such a stickfast grip to the board!
More images and reports as the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro progress.