The 2016 Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour kicked off yesterday with fun conditions opening the field at the Quiksiver Pro at Snapper Rocks and setting the stage for some surprise wildcard wins and standout performances.
The Superbank fired off some select surf at times, with building three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves pulsing through the primary venue of Snapper Rocks, but mostly made the world’s best work for stellar performances. Just weeks after the Superbank was delivering 12-second barrels, the forecast for the event window doesn’t look like it will pick up either.
That did not stop surfing’s’ best getting out and throwing down the challenge to the opening of the Tour. Italo Ferreira and Filipe Toledo picked up where they left off in 2015, with acrobatic moves making the most of the conditions in the opening heat.
Mikey Wright dished up one of the bigger upsets of the day in his heat against reigning world champion Adriano de Souza, and an in-form Kolohe Andino. Andino looked like he was cruising straight into Round 3 with under two minutes to go but Adriano struck back hard. He stole the lead with just over a minute left. Just when you thought Adriano had it in the bag, Mikey Wright pounced, the wildcard taking out a stunned Adriano and Andino.
Wildcard Wade Carmichael was matched up with Mick Fanning and Matt Banting in a wave to wave heat. Mick opened in solid form, looking as precise and pristine as ever, but Carmichael never let him get too far away. Fanning responded with more aggression on his next wave, yet Carmichael kept the big hits coming as the battle continued until the final bell.
Carmichael afterwards commented on how much fun he had surfing with Mick. “To be out there in a heat with Mick Fanning is pretty incredible. I honestly couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Also meeting a tough draw was Kelly Slater, who paddled out with Matt Wilkinson on a day when backsiders had an easier time exploiting Snapper’s tricky walls. In his first surf since arriving at Snapper, Slater looked fresh and opened strong. Wilkinson was relentless in persuit however, throwing out an assault that earned him a 9.33 on his last wave, which was enough to send Slater (and Banting) to Round 2.
The best was saved for last, with Joel Parkinson squaring up with John John Florence and the rookie to watch out for this year, Jack Freestone. Parko has not had the best run as of late, but that was all forgotten as his leveraged hacks were on point, with plenty of speed and flow. John John worked his magic but it wasn’t quite enough to catch Parko.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.00, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 11.10, Keanu Asing (HAW) 8.80
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.50, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.37, Julian Wilson (AUS) 6.06
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.36, Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.30, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 10.67
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.17, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.80, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.10
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.24, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 16.00, Matt Banting (AUS) 9.90
Heat 6: Michael Wright (AUS) 13.74, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.70, Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.10
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.90, Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.00, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.74
Heat 8: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.00, Kelly Slater (USA) 13.27, Conner Coffin (USA) 12.17
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA) 12.87, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 12.14, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.50
Heat 10: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.40, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.26, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 11.40
Heat 11: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 17.26, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.43, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.47
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.10, John John Florence (HAW) 13.56, Jack Freestone (AUS) 13.44
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Upcoming Round 2 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA)
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Heat 9: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 10: Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 11: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 12: Matt Banting (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Chelsea Tuach (BRB), Isabella Nichols (AUS)
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sage Erickson (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW), Laura Enever (AUS)
Heat 6: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Keely Andrew (AUS)