With John John, Jordy, Julian Wilson, Dane and Owen Wright all bowing out by the 3rd Round or earlier, the odds that the first leg of this year's world tour would go to either Kelly, Mick, Parko or Taj must have been like a zillion to one. But in a thrilling run of come-from-behind wins that saw Gabriel Medina eliminate Mick Fanning in the quarters, Taj in the semis and Parko in the final, the Brazilian phenom marked a historic victory as the first Brazilian to win the Quik Pro Goldie and only the second ever goofy-footer.
"It's an honour to win this event," said Medina. “This is the hardest event of the whole Tour and I feel like all the best surfers in the world, Mick (Fanning), Parko (Joel Parkinson) and Taj (Burrow), have won it. It’s been a dream to win since I was a grommet. I’ve been watching those guys on videos and reading about them in magazines. Today I had the opportunity to compete against them and I couldn't let this chance go. It's weird, it's really weird, but it feels so good."
"Second two years in a row is heartbreaking, but on the other hand it's still a great start to the year," Parkinson said. "I said the other day that World Titles aren't won or lost at the first event. If I didn't have a shocker at Bells last year I would have been right in the Title race, so hopefully I can improve on that this year. Gabriel (Medina) is a huge talent, he deserves the win and has been on fire today so congrats to him."
Kelly on the other hand fell to Brazilian tour veteran Adriano de Souza in the quarters, his 5th consecutive loss to the Brazilian.
"It was frustrating because I fell on a couple of waves," Slater said. "Adriano was on the better end of being in sync with the sets, it seemed like the better waves always came when he had priority. I probably could have been more patient. You don't know out there because you catch a wave and hope it builds down the line. I never really felt on today, I was pretty tired after that heat. A bit of a lapse in concentration for me."
Meanwhile for the girls it was five-time world champ Steph Gilmore who claimed the Roxy Pro. After dispatched reigning champ Carissa Moore in the semis, the Australian had little trouble going on to take down her South Africa's Bianca Buitendag in the Final and her fifth event win.
"I haven't felt this feeling in a while," said Gilmore. "It’s the best feeling in the world to have all your friends and family around and hi-five everyone. I paddled up to Joel (Parkinson) before my heat to get some of his good vibes because he kept getting so many great barrels. From the beginning of the heat I had it in my head that it's only 30 minutes and I only had to catch two good waves and just have fun. So that’s what I did. Winning the heat against Carissa was such a big confidence booster for me. It's going to be a long hard year but I'll do as much as I can to try and win the Title."
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
Final: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.33 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.27
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
Semifinal 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.13 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.10
Semifinal 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.70 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 9.67
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results:
Quarterfinal 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.00 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.46
Quarterfinal 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.83 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.00
Quarterfinal 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.53 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 12.17
Quarterfinal 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.93 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.26
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
Final: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.80 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.47
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
Semifinal 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 17.10 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.40
Semifinal 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 15.90 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.50