The people of the Queensland skipped church on Sunday and instead went to the first day of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. Two-to three- foot waves rushed down Snapper's conveyor belt and as the tide fell, the gentleman of the WCT made the thousands of the spectators glad they swapped the steeple for the Superbank.
Still, use your church voices
Watching the comp from the competitors area, a young Aussie girl with a stack of papers in her hand approached another young girl (I'm guessing from Brazil). "Are you Isadora?" the Aussie asked. "Yes," said Isadora. "Great. Can you sign this?" Isadora took the paper, confused. The Aussie explained, "It's the ASP's code of conduct. Basically saying that you won't, you know, yell in the competitor's area." Apparently all of the competitors, their families and coaches have to sign this if they want to hang out in the competitor's tent. I'd guess Filipe Toledo's dad served as inspiration for this document. Isadora asked if she could please read it over.
Josh Kerr…may be a little self-conscious about living in Southern California, as he keeps reminding us that he's from Coolangata. But all it really took was his Round 1 heat against Filipe Toledo and Mitch Crews to wipe "transplant" from our vocabulary. Kerr gave the fans a variety pack of airs, turns and tubes that left everyone satisified. Welcome home, Josh.
Taj Burrow…dropped an 8.67 on his first wave of the 2014 season and then backed it up with a 7.50, showing us once again that old in age and young at heart makes for great surfing.
Kelly Slater…won his heat, but barely. Trials winner Matt Banting lead until the dying minutes and really looked like he belonged among the best.
Joel Parkinson…did an air and seemed disappointed that it only netted him a 4.47. The fans and beach announcers were also let down. But let's remember, folks, that if Filipe or John John or Gabriel or about 15 other guys had done that same air it would have been 4 flat. Good call, judges. (Parko surfed the rest of his waves like he normally surfs, beautifully, and got a 7.5 and an 8.93.)
Dane Reynolds…surfed aggressively on a Fred Rubble that looked sharp beneath his feet. He helped Mick and Melling pack their bags for Round 2. As an aside: Dane's done two 6-stars already this year and is signed up for seven more WQS events. We'll let that fact speak for itself, as Dane certainly won't claim a requalification push, but we are optimistic.
Forgive me father, for I have sinned
We are in Australia, so Triple J was bound to pop up somewhere. But who would have thought it'd be in the people we expected more out of category. Julian, Jordy and John John all had shockers, minus John's stunning blowtail reverse, but even he couldn't close the heat. They'll each have to say a Hail Mary in Round 2 as penance.
They say that tomorrow…
They'll run. Something. Maybe the girls. Maybe the men. Nobody seems to know. Will let you know in the morning on Twitter @surfingmagazine.