Quiksilver Pro: Semifinalists Decided In Pumping Barrels

Joel Parkinson Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Joel Parkinson will head up against his good mate Mick Fanning in what promises to be a scorcher of a heat later today. Photo: ASP/Getty Images

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A confident looking Mick Fanning moved into the semifinals of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast after defeating Jeremy Flores and Damien Hobgood. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

COOLANGATTA BEACH, Australia (Tuesday, March 10, 2009) – The Semifinalists of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile were decided today in pumping four-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves at Coolangatta Beach.

The opening event of the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast utilized its third venue today, having used nearby Duranbah Beach for the opening rounds before returning the primary site of Snapper Rocks and finally to today’s Coolangatta Beach where the local boys dominated Round 4 and the Quarterfinals.

Mick Fanning (AUS), 27, former ASP World Champion and past two-time winner of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, was in devastating form this afternoon, defeating Damien Hobgood (USA), 29, in the Quarterfinals with the highest heat total of the day (an 18.53 out of a possible 20).

“It was a fun heat,” Fanning said. “I was lucky to get the jump on Damo [Damien Hobgood] at the start. I wanted to wait for a good opening wave and it came. On that 9.93, I went into it and saw it chandelier’ing so I reset my feet and just tried to hit it strong. It went all white and I was lucky it had an opening. It was pretty fun.”

Now into the Semifinals, Fanning will find himself battling Coolangatta stable mate Joel Parkinson (AUS), 27, for a spot in the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final.

“Joel [Parkinson] and I have been great friends since we were little kids,” Fanning said. “It will be a really tough heat. We are always pushing each other. Sometimes it’s pretty and sometimes it’s ugly, but I’m definitely looking forward to it. I don’t really know what the conditions will be like tomorrow. All of the maps that I look at said it was going to be a lot bigger than we have seen today. It could be 100-foot or it could be two-foot.”

Parkinson, current ASP World No. 4 and past winner of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast (2002), was near unstoppable today at Coolangatta Beach, defeating Chris Davidson (AUS), 31, and C.J. Hobgood (USA), 29, in Round 4 and the Quarterfinals respectively.

“My Quarterfinal felt like it was a little bit bigger than my heat this morning – a lot more water moving,” Parkinson said. “My strategy stayed the same, but more effort was needed throughout the heat. It was hard to stay in position, the current out the back is so strong!”

Taj Burrow (AUS), 30, current ASP World No. 3, survived a photo finish against Adrian Buchan (AUS), 26, in the last Quarterfinal of the day. Requiring a score with 20 seconds left, Burrow declined the jet-ski assist to the line-up, optioning to sit in front of Kirra Point instead.

“I could not find a wave,” Burrow said. “The tide was filling up and I just panicked. I behind the eight-ball for most of the heat. I got kind of a keeper towards the end and my only option was to sit down the end at Kirra Point. A little slab came through and I took off late and it barreled for me and I got a little pump in to squeak out. I definitely threw a little claim in there because I was pretty sure I got the score.”

Burrow’s score of an 8.33 out of a possible 10 on the final wave of the day secured his Semifinals berth, but perhaps gave the Western Australian a confidence boost to go all the way this season. Long thought to be Australia’s heir apparent to the ASP World Champions’ Throne, Burrow has failed to secure professional surfing’s ultimate prize, but today’s performance could have set him on the path to glory.

“That ASP World Title is the plan for sure,” Burrow said. “I’m doing what I can to make it possible, so I have to tell myself that.”

Burrow will now face an in-form Adriano de Souza (BRA), 22, in Semifinal 2.

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 9am at Snapper Rocks for a possible 10am start.

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will crown a champion tomorrow, and up first will be the local showdown between Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson in Semifinal 1.

Highlights from today’s Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be available via www.quiksilverpro.com.au

For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com