Intensity Reaches Fever Pitch On Eve Of ASP World Tour Kick-Off

Andy Irons is back to full-time life on the Tour. Photo courtesy ASP/Scholtz

Andy Irons is back to full-time life on the Tour. Photo courtesy ASP/Scholtz

COOLANGATTA, Queensland/Australia (Friday, February 26, 2010) – The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover, Event No. 1 of 10 on the 2010 ASP World Tour, is one day from commencing its waiting period, and with swell projected over the next couple days, the world’s best surfers could be doing battle as early as tomorrow.

With the greatest assemblage of surfing talent in history preparing to do battle in some of the best waves on the planet, the ASP Dream Tour’s global audience will enjoy 15 ASP World Titles represented amongst the ASP Top 45 as well as one of the most daunting rookie classes in memory.

Andy Irons (HAW), 31, former three-time ASP World Champion, will return to full-time competition this season, kick-starting his 2010 campaign at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

“This is really big for me,” Irons said. “Just coming back and seeing the whole show – it’s definitely a show.”

After a sabbatical from full-time competition in 2009 (choosing only to compete in select events), Irons return to the ASP World Tour provides another interesting dynamic to what is already being heralded as the greatest assemblage of surfing talent the world has ever seen.

“I’m excited,” Irons said. “It’s been a while. I’ve surfed a few contests since two years ago, but haven’t had much luck. I’m just excited to get back into a singlet, surfing good waves and just having fun with it.”

While Irons is considered one of the most dangerous competitors to ever don a competition singlet, the well-built Kauaian is looking at 2010 as a rebuilding year.

“I’m just cruising,” Irons said. “I have nothing to prove. I have already accomplished all my dreams and I just want to go out and win contests. I’d love to do well of course. The ASP World Title is probably not in my picture this year, I’d say, I’m more just out there to get my feet wet, and get back into things and feel comfortable again. I think this is going to be more of a learning year again.”

Irons will face veteran Australians Tom Whitaker (AUS), 30, and Jay Thompson (AUS), 27, in the opening round of competition.

Mick Fanning (AUS), 28, reigning two-time ASP World Champion, Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, 2009 ASP World Runner-Up, Kelly Slater (USA), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion, and the rest of the ASP Top 45 will all have their work cut out for them this season as the ASP reduces the field to 32 following the fifth event of the season.

Adriano de Souza (BRA), 23, current ASP World No. 5 and last year’s event Runner-Up, has enjoyed a constant ascent in his tenure amongst the world’s best, but admits this season’s reduction in field puts everyone in the same boat.

“I have been very fortunate the last two years and have achieved my goal of cracking the ASP Top 5,” De Souza said. “I don’t feel like this is my year to challenge for the ASP World Title, but my goal is to make Top 5 again. I have been training hard over the off-season and working with my shaper to get good boards.”

“The reduction in field has everyone a bit nervous,” De Souza said. “You can’t rely on a strong push in the back half of the year. You have to be on your game from the first event. You’re going to see some intense surfing at Snapper Rocks.”

For the first time in the event’s storied nine-year history, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will be broadcast LIVE on FUEL TV in Australia, beaming the world’s best surfing right into your living room.

To find out how you can watch the world’s best surfers in one of the world’s most iconic pointbreaks LIVE on FUEL TV, check out foxsports.com.au/fueltv.

The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast pres. by Land Rover will feature the world’s best surfers from February 27 through March 10, 2010 and will be webcast LIVE via quiksilverpro.com.au.

The Roxy Pro Gold Coast, featuring the ASP Top 17, will run in conjunction with the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

For more information, log onto aspworldtour.com.

QUIKSILVER PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Dane Reynolds (USA), Roy Powers (HAW), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez (USA), Tiago Pires (PRT), Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 4: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Marco Polo (BRA)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Blake Thornton (AUS)
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS), Chris Davidson (AUS), Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Garrett Parkes (AUS)
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), Blake Ainsworth (AUS)
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Mick Campbell (AUS), Craig Anderson (AUS)
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Drew Courtney (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 12: Taylor Knox (USA), Luke Stedman (AUS), Nathan Yeomans (USA)
Heat 13: Tom Whitaker (AUS), Andy Irons (HAW), Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 14: Kieren Perrow (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 16: Dean Morrison (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS)

ROXY PRO GOLD COAST ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:

Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Carissa Moore (HAW)
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Bruna Schmitz (BRA), Tyler Wright (AUS)
Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Nikita Robb (ZAF)
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), Lee Ann Curren (FRA)
Heat 6: Melanie Bartels (HAW), Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Amee Donohoe (AUS)