2012 ASP World Tour runner-up Kelly Slater recorded a perfect start for the 2013 season, winning the Quiksilver Pro. The victory added his 52nd career title to what is already an unparalleled resume.
The gods at Kirra Beach, on Australia’s Gold Coast, treated the final four to treasured clean barreling waves (three-to-five foot). It was a dream platform for the surfers and they delivered by treating fans to a surfing spectacle.
In the final, Slater was pitted against his latest rival, world champion Joel Parkinson.
In the 40-minute session, Parko started right at the hooter, opening with an 8.67 barrel. But that was only the beginning of what was to follow.
Slater ignited the tube fest with an inconceivable barrel that was awarded an 8.73. All of this occurred in the first three minutes.
That pace eventually slowed down, and the Australian wrestled the lead back.
But with 24 minutes to go, Kelly caught the wave that would eventually win it. The 41-year-old was not content with just camping in the tube, though, he hacked a formidable forehand turn to finish. Talk of another perfect score was warranted, but the wave was given a 9.83.
Consequently, Slater’s 18.56 was the benchmark for the last half of the heat. With just under five minutes to go, Parkinson found the barrel he was waiting for. However, a weak second section proved fatal and the wave was scored just an 8.80.
Parko’s 17.47 was not enough, giving Slater the title at stop No. 1 of the year.
The American sent a message that he wants world title number 12, which is an intimating situation for the top 34.
Earlier in the day during semifinal No. 1, Joel opened the heat by charging down the line to claim a monstrous double barrel, reminding fans of his world champion status in the process. Yet again, inside the first minute the Australian had already secured a perfect 10 ride, which he complemented with an 8.17 shortly thereafter.
His opponent, Michel Bourez, was unable to find the winning waves to match Joel’s 18.17 total, falling short with a respectable 15.80. Nevertheless, the Tahitian still had a good result after being the most dominant surfer in the early rounds.
The stage was set in semifinal No. 2 as a packed beach cheered on their hometown favorites—the “Cooly Kids.” They were hoping for a Joel vs. Mick final, however, Kelly was not on board.
Slater made two errors early when he got caught too deep in long pumping barrels. Fanning was quick to bounce, combing the American early. But as the 11-time world champion does, inside the final 12 minutes he registered a 19.37 two-wave total.
Even though Fanning was able to lock in two excellent scores and an 18.60 total, Kelly’s perfect 10 with just five minutes to go proved to be too much.
The world’s top 17 women also competed on the Gold Coast this week in the Roxy Pro. Young Australian, Tyler Wright, avenged her disappointing 2012 season by bouncing Sally Fitzgibbons in the last moments of the final to steal the first event of the year.
Wright credited her offseason distractions as being the reason for her early success. Namely, purchasing a motorcycle.
Kirra and Snapper Rock surrendered world-class waves all event long, particularly in the finals. There were lead changes, stellar waves, perfect 10s, wipeouts, rivalries, hometown heroes—all epitomizing contest surfing.
It set the precedence for what could be another exciting season on the ASP World Tours.
View the Quiksilver Pro ’13 on demand here.
View the Roxy Pro ‘13 on demand here.