Three-time Foster's ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW) was eliminated by Quiksilver Pro wildcard Jake Paterson (AUS) in Round 2 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Samsung at Snapper Rocks today, Sunday, Mar. 4, 2007.
Paterson, who announced his retirement at the end of 2006 after a decorated 17 years on tour, was given a wildcard into the event and without the pressure of tour ratings points being on the line, rose to the occasion putting on a phenomenal display of power surfing.
"I couldn't have asked for a better way to wrap up my career, not that it's completely over or anything, but this was a dream heat today," Paterson said. "I was pretty disappointed with my first round performance so I really wanted to make sure that I got a couple of good waves. Andy couldn't put a foot right and everything that came to me was a dream – it was meant to be I guess."
Spurred on by unbridled patriotism, Paterson left Irons needing a combination of two good scoring rides to advance into Round 3.
Irons, realizing that he could not catch up exited the water with two minutes left in the heat.
"Andy and I have had a huge rivalry over the years so it was good that I got one up on him," Paterson said. "My goal was to hopefully knock out one of the title contenders early on – aside from one of the Australians – I want to see Australia bring home the title, so I hope I helped out the boys a little bit."
Unfortunately for Paterson, if he wants to advance out of Round 3, it will be at the expense of fellow Australian and title-hope Mick Fanning. They will meet in Heat 9 of the next round.
After losing to Wildcard Julian Wilson (AUS) in Round 1, reigning and eight-time Foster's ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) left no opportunity for another upset, easily defeating local wildcard Dale Richards (AUS).
“I think Dale fell of a bunch of times but I fell of a bunch of times too," Slater said. "There wasn't that much wave pushing back out there."
Slater will again draw Wilson in Heat 8 of Round 3.
Adriano de Souza (BRA) thrilled the throngs of Brazilians on site with his victory over Troy Brooks (AUS). One of five Brazilians surfing Round 2 today, de Souza was the only South American to advance. He will join fellow countrymen Leonardo Neves (BRA) and Raoni Monteiro (BRA) in Round 3.
"I found a couple of nice waves behind the rocks and I'm pretty excited to get through here at Snapper Rocks," De Souza said. "I have a lot of Brazilian fans sitting on the sand, the flags are up, so I'm pretty stoked. Every guy from my country is going for me in the water so I'm pretty happy."
Pancho Sullivan held it down for the Hawaiians, beating Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 14.76 to 12.80.
"Going into it I felt a little nervous, I was watching Shaun in the first round and he looked really lose and comfortable out there," Sullivan said. "I've been carrying an injury since about the start of the year, so I haven't been able to surf a lot. I spent all of last week trying to build up my surf conditioning and even though I didn't feel 100 percent that heat, tactically I surfed a pretty smart. I didn't hit my stride on any particular wave, but I felt like I got it done."
South African Travis Logie defeated local icon Mark Occhilupo (AUS) late in the day, putting in an incredible performance on his backhand.
“I've looked up to Occy my whole life," Logie said. "He was the reason I started surfing and he was one of my heroes. Coming up against him is difficult because you feel bad beating someone you have looked up to so much. He was a really tough competitor so I was really nervous. I was really hoping to get through, really, really, really!”
Several excellent scoring rides in the 9.0 range were posted today. Those scores belong to: De Souza 9.07, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 9.50, Phil Macdonald (AUS) 9.23, CJ Hobgood (USA) 9.10 and Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.10.
Movie stars Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson spent the afternoon checking out the Quiksilver Pro from the surfer's area. The Hollywood duo is currently filming a feature in Australia. McConaughey was sighted with Slater at Snapper Rocks last weekend as well.
"I'm just starting to get into surfing," McConaughey said. "Even if I get out there and have a crappy day and I'm just sitting around and I don't catch a wave, I think, 'look where you are, you're in the water on the beach, good sights all around, got sunshine!' So even when I'm not getting a wave, I'm getting out there everyday as much as I can."