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Afternoon Delight
Both the Semis and the Finals of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast and Roxy Pro happened after 3:30 p.m. There had been rumors all day about how the ASP planned to finish the event. They'll finish tomorrow because there's not enough daylight. Or, They'll finish today because the swell's dying. But nobody knew. It wasn’t until Stephanie Gilmore and Bianca Buitendag paddled out for their Final that they decided to finish the men. Wait…sorry, we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Rubbing sticks and stones together
The day started at 8 a.m. with Round 4. Round 4! It would be a very long day. These are some of the things that happened in the first six hours of the 10-hour very long day:
Mick Fanning…smashed Mitch Crews with an 18.4 heat total in Round 5.
Freddy P…spoke up about getting consistently underscored (he lost to CJ Hobgood by .33 in Round 5).
Miguel Pupo…lost to Parko in the Quarters but impressed everyone along the way. He's like the Brazilian Nat Young — calm, consistent and smart.
Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning…forgot to batten down the hatches and the Brazilian storm (Gabriel Medina and Adriano de Souza) drowned their hopes of a Snapper victory. Gabriel's win over Mick in the Quarters was the result of a 9.40 he got under Mick's priority with less than five minutes left. This come-from-behind trend would repeat itself twice more for Gabe.

Make the sparks ignite
In the Roxy Pro Semis:
Stephanie Gilmore…ousted Carissa Moore in the Semis with a 17.10. Carissa has been out EVERY morning at dark and practicing. But 12 days at Snapper couldn't compete with a lifetime of experience and Carissa starts the year off with a 3rd.
Bianca Buitendag…of South Africa, all 6'3" of her, dominated California's Lakey Peterson on her backhand and it was around this heat that the commentators learned to pronounce her name…bait-en-dag…or something.

In the Roxy Pro Final:
Stephanie Gilmore…ran away with it. But did Bianca ever have a chance? Stephanie had location, stance, skill and experience on her side as she strung together a series of turns that befitted a 5x world champ. It was Bianca’s first final, she was nervous, and she was simply outmatched.

Ooh-ooooh, Afternoon Delight!
In the Quik Pro Semis:
Gabriel Medina…needed a 7.21 against Taj Burrow and with 40 seconds left, he took an inside runner, surfed it about as well as it could have been surfed and got a 7.23. Taj was devastated. For the second time today, Gabriel mentions that God told him to go down the point and not give up.
Joel Parkinson…found barrels where there were no barrels before. He absolutely annihilated Adriano de Souza, comboing him with a 18.70 heat total, the highest of the contest. With 13-minutes left he could have gone in and not sweated it, but instead he goofed around, entertained the crowd and came back to the beach with 3-minutes remaining. Alas, he’d peaked too early.

In the Quik Pro Final:
Gabriel Medina…might have been the only one that thought he would win. Him and the gaggle of Brazilians I was surrounded by on the beach. And God. But Parko was far-and-away the best surfer of the event and like Steph, he had the crowd, stance and experience on his side. And he seemed to have tapped into a special power that allowed him to find barrels that nobody else could see. Deep barrels. Big ones, behind the rock. Parko owned the week, the day and the final until Gabriel, again, found an inside grower. And again, he surfed it about as well as it could have been surfed. The sun was setting as they announced that Gabriel had edged out Parko by .05. The Brazilan crowd erupted around me and Parko caught one more wave he knew wasn't enough. The mob rushed to meet Gabriel in the water. They raised him on their shoulders. They chanted "Brazil!" as he raised the flag above his head. The day and the contest were over, but the season's just begun.

They say that tomorrow…
We'll be hungover on a flight home. Peace!
—Taylor Paul