GOLD COAST, Queensland/Australia (Wednesday, February 16, 2011) -The world's best surfers have converged on Australia's Gold Coast for the opening event of the 2011 ASP World Title season, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover, which will take place from February 26 through March 9, 2011 at the world-renowned breaks of southern Queensland.
Utilizing the high-performance pointbreak of Snapper Rocks as the primary venue, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast has the ability to go mobile to several nearby world-class waves, offering the ideal forum for the ASP Top 34 to open up their respective 2011 ASP World Title campaigns.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 23, 2010 ASP World Runner-Up, is coming off an extended stay in his native South Africa where he has been recharging for the upcoming season, testing out new equipment and becoming mentally and physically prepared for taking on the world's best.
"I really enjoyed spending Christmas and New Year at home," Smith said. "It’s been eight years since I last spent the holidays in South Africa. So I made the best of it down in Cape Town with my mates and Blake, my filmer from the USA, and also spent time with my family in Durban."
"I have being testing a bunch of boards, just feeling them out regarding different thicknesses, as I have lost eight kilograms this summer working out, surfing and training with my friends." Smith said. "I have put a lot of time in spinning, jogging, core work and just eating right. Cape Town offers so many different surf breaks at this time of the year, so I have been spending time surfing them up and down the coast and capturing great footage for my new movie."
Finishing Runner-Up at the 2010 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, coupled with his incredible run amongst the world's elite last season, Smith has firmly established himself as a major contender at the opening event of the season.
"The first thing that comes to mind regarding Snapper is that it's one of the best rip, tear and slash waves around," Smith said. "This wave offers so many ways that one can surf it. In the past three years, I have seen so many different version’s of surfing, all surfers taking a different approach to Snapper. I feel one has to surf it tight in the pocket and look for the tube. As the wave draws off and runs down the sand bar, it offers a big range of huge maneuvers to be had. There are so many talented surfers, wildcards and new guys from the World Rankings who will be all showcasing themselves in this event. All and sundry will want to come away with a win, for sure."
Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, 2010 ASP World No. 4 and perennial ASP World Title threat, has moved from strength-to-strength in the off season, scoring excellent surf in a variety of locales.
"I’ve had such a good start to 2011," Burrow said. "I’ve started training earlier and harder than any other year and I’ve also scored the best waves of my life! A trip to P-Pass and a freak cyclone swell in Western Australia have me grinning from ear to ear! Can’t wait to jump in the water at Snapper. I’m so excited about surfing right now!"
Defending Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast winner, Burrow's affinity with the event venue is world-renowned and the electric natural-footer will look to repeat last year's early season magic.
"I want to win contests for sure," Burrow said. "I want to surf fast and loose and do a lot more airs in my heats. Snapper is amazing, so happy to have taken down the event last year. It’s such a high performance wave. I love it when the sand is packed in there and the bank is groomed for getting piped and doing wild turns!"
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, closed out the 2010 season in sensation fashion, claiming the Billabong Pipeline Masters on the North Shore of Oahu. The young Frenchman opted to stay and train in Hawaii during the off season to better prepare for the year ahead.
"I stayed in Hawaii until February and the waves were incredible," Flores said. "We got some crazy sessions and I was lucky to have a house to train with all the boys there too. "I really enjoy being there and surfing heavy waves, and the life style really reminded me of where I’m from. I wanted to cry when I had to leave!"
The ASP Top 34, comprised of the world's best surfers, are breaking boundaries daily in terms of high-performance surfing. No one knows this more than Flores, who acknowledges the need to enhance his own repertoire in order to stay current amongst the world's best.
"I’m just concentrating on still improving my surfing and training a lot," Flores said. "I feel more confident surfing when the waves are perfect for sure now, but I have to keep working on some new moves and big lines and find a good quiver. I think it’s all about having magic boards."
Despite his young age, Flores has extensive experience in and around the Gold Coast, having travelled here annually for the past several years. His reverence for the region, coupled with his newfound confidence amongst the world's elite make him a man to watch in the 2011 ASP World Title season.
"Snapper is the funnest wave," Flores said. "I have been surfing there since I was so young. You can really do big turns on it, big carves and when the banks are good you can get perfect long barrels. Hopefully Kirra is on and the comp moves there. I remember back in the day watching the World Title events there and it looked incredible, barrel after barrel. The level is so high today on tour. They are all amazing surfers that I look up to. I’m just going to enjoy watching all the heats. It’s going to be exciting for sure."
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast will run from February 26 through March 9, 2011 and will be webcast LIVE via http://www.quiksilverpro.com
Running in conjunction with the men's event will be the Roxy Pro Gold Coast presented by Land Rover, the opening event in the ASP Women's World Title season.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
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About ASP: The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is the recognized world governing body of professional surfing and has been crowning surfing's undisputed World Champions since 1976. The ASP sanctions and crowns World Champions for the following tours: the ASP World Tour, the ASP Women's World Tour, ASP World Junior Tour, ASP World Longboard and Masters Championships. The ASP is dedicated to showcasing the world’s best surfing talent in a variety of progressive formats and has revolutionized the way the world watches surfing via their webcasts and other media platforms. The organization is divided into seven different regions: Africa, Japan, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America, and South America.