Jordy third in ASP surfing season-opener
10 March 2011
South African surfing star Jordy Smith finished in third place in the ASP Tour's season-opening event as world champion Kelly Slater claimed victory Down Under on Wednesday.
Reigning 10-time ASP world champion Slater (USA) captured the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover and scored an unprecedented 46th elite tour win by defeating defending event champion Taj Burrow (Aus) in a hard-fought final held in deteriorating wind-affected, one-metre waves.
"I'm having a lot of fun," Slater said from the podium after becoming the first man to win the event three times. "It's pretty easy. You go out and surf Snapper by yourself. It's pretty fun.
"Everyone loves this event because the waves are so fun. I don't think I'm the only one that thought Taj was the standout of the event. At some point he had to stop getting nines and I just picked the right heat."
Burrow, who was arguably the form surfer throughout the entire event, went on an absolute rampage on the final day of competition to oust American Brett Simpson in the quarterfinals and the dangerous Jordy Smith in the semifinals. However, he fell just short of the score needed to surpass Slater for the victory in the back-half of their final duel and had to settle for second overall.
"I'm excited about the tour for 2011," Burrow said. "This was a fun event and it's just a bummer the waves didn't hang in there at the end.
"I couldn't better a three (out of 10). Hats off to Kelly, he built a house and it worked. I'd just like to thank everyone that organized the contest, it was awesome."
Style, punch and bite
Smith, the runner-up for 2010 ASP World Title, surfed with style, punch and bite throughout the duration of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, and grabbed exciting last-minute victories over Joel Parkinson (Aus) and Alejo Muniz (Bra) to advance to the semifinals. However, the big South African was unable to overtake Burrow in a repeat of last season's final.
"It's disappointing when everything seems to be going well and the surf doesn't co-operate," Smith said.
"Taj (Burrow) surfed amazing, though, and third place is still a good start for me. I'm looking forward to the next event and I'll just put my head down and work hard until then."
Despite finishing one place worse off than his runner-up spot in the corresponding event in 2010, Smith's performances were a clear signal that he will be a strong contender for the 2011 ASP World Title.
He convincingly won his round one encounter against Pat Gudauskas (USA) and Aussie wildcard Mitch Crews to move directly into round three where, after the contest was delayed for seven days waiting for swell, he dispatched veteran campaigner Corey Lopez (USA) with the highest scores of the round (17.17 points out of 20) to reach the last 12.
Although he slipped up in Round 4, the so-called "demonstration round" where none of the surfers are eliminated, finishing third behind Brett Simpson (USA) and Adriano de Souza (Bra), Smith roared back into contention with a morale-boosting, high scoring round five victory over perennial ASP World Title contender and local hero Joel Parkinson to advance to the quarterfinals.
A last-minute comeback against red-hot rookie Alejo Muniz set up Smith’s semifinal encounter with Burrow which he ultimately lost when the Australian posted two outstanding rides.
Highlights from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be available via Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
The next stop on the 2011 ASP World Title season will be the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach presented by Ford Ranger from 19 April to 30 April.
ASP WORLD TITLE TOP 5
(After Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast)
- 1. Kelly Slater (USA) 10 000 points
- 2. Taj Burrow (AUS) 8 000 points
- 3. Jordy Smith (RSA) 6 500 points
- 3. Tiago Pires (PRT) 6 500 points
- 5. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5 200 points
- 5. Brett Simpson (USA) 5 200 points
- 5. Dusty Payne (HAW) 5 200 points
- 5. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 5 200 points
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