Under cloudy skies and buffeted by gusty winds, the final eight heats of Round Three of the Quiksilver Pro were finished at Snapper Rocks Monday morning. With swell on the rise, contest officials consulted veteran Snapper experts like Mick Fanning and concluded that they would hold Round Four until tomorrow morning, when even more swell should be filling in on the Gold Coast.
Tropical cyclone Hamish has been creeping slowly down the coast of Queensland, and its effects were felt today by competitors and bystanders alike, but with just three days left in the competition window for the Quiksilver Pro and 23 heats yet to run, the green light was given to run heats eight through 16 of Round Three.
The morning low tide provided some worthwhile wave faces at Snapper Monday morning, and the ensuing action was essentially upset-free. The important heats of the morning included Jordy Smith's dispatching of American hero Taylor Knox, as the big, talented South African booked himself a spot in Round Four with a display of progressive but mature surfing that seemed indicative of the lessons Jordy learned on his tough rookie year in 2008.
Whitaker vs. Weare
Similarly, Dane Reynolds fended off a strong challenge from Hawaiian Rookie Roy Powers who surfed strongly but met his match. The day's competition ended with a flurry of waves, lead changes, and radical turns between two names not often mentioned in contest reportage: Tom Whitaker and David Weare. The Aussie and South African exchanged waves and priority in rapid-fire succession in the waning moments of Round Three, and though they finished with low scores, their battle was fierce, and in the end, Whitaker's smarts out-lasted Weare's progressive maneuvers.
“David and I are good mates," Whitaker said after the heat, "and it's always bad surfing against your buddies, and it was just so close…Everyone is ripping, and it is still ridiculously hard to win one of these things, so to win the first one of the year would be pretty special.”
Time's Running Out
Most on the beach assumed Round Four would run on Monday as well, but officials decided otherwise, hoping instead that postponing the final 15 heats until Tuesday or Wednesday would give them bigger, cleaner waves courtesy of Hamish. The cyclone will most likely be downgraded to a tropical depression by Tuesday morning, though solid surf accompanied by rain is forecast.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.50 def. Dustin Barca (HAW) 6.50
Heat 2: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 18.26 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 16.30
Heat 3: Chris Davidson (AUS) 13.67 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 8.27
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.50 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 14.50
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.10 def. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 14.50
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.83 def. Nic Muscroft (AUS) 11.07
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood (AUS) 14.34 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 9.00
Heat 8: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.84
Heat 9: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.34 def. Jay Thompson (AUS) 12.70
Heat 10: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.47 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 14.17
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.16 def. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 10.46
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.70 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.00
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.74 def. Drew Courtney (AUS) 11.16
Heat 14: Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.23 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 13.87
Heat 15: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.10 def. Tim Boal (FRA) 10.40
Heat 16: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 11.33 def. David Weare (ZAF) 11.16
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 2: Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 4: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (FRA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 7: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 8: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Tom Whitaker (AUS)