Former ASP World Champions Kelly Slater (USA) and Andy Irons (HAW) brought their championship form to the beach to advance into Round 4 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast pres. by LG today.
Despite having 11 ASP World Titles between them, Slater and Irons slipped down the ratings in 2007, finishing 3rd and 6th in the world respectively. Their Quiksilver Pro campaigns have seen both surfers reemerge reenergized.
“I guess people are expecting big things out of rookies Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith this year so I’m sure the other surfers are trying to pick up their level to say, ‘Hey we’re in this thing too.’” Slater said.
Slater’s Round 3 heat total of 17.93 (out of 20.00), left Brazilian rookie Heitor Alves needing two excellent scoring rides to twist fate. The 8X ASP World Champion will face Brazilian Adriano de Souza in Round 4, but is not sure what is next once the Quiksilver Pro wraps up.
“I guess you have to have some sort of plan, but right now I’m sort of floating, figuring out what feels right and I guess I’ll figure it out in the next few weeks,” Slater said. “At this stage I’m not going to Bells, and if I don’t go to Bells then I’m not sure which will be my next event.”
If Slater wins his next heat he will face either Irons or Kai Otton (AUS) in the Quarters. Slater and Irons have not surfed in a heat together since they both made the Pipemasters Final in 2006.
Their rivalry will go down in history as one of the sport’s greatest and Irons is not anxious to see Slater bow out now.
“I don’t believe it,” Irons said of Slater’s claim that he won’t be at Bells Beach. “I’ll believe it when the first heat goes out and he’s not in it, until then I’ll assume he’s competing in every event because I’ve heard this five times before. As far as I’m concerned I hope he sticks around, he’s a valuable person for the tour and for surfing. I know he does a lot for me, he keeps me motivated and makes me try my hardest, so I hope he doesn’t retire.”
Irons beat Ben Bourgeois (USA) 17.84 to 11.33 and was adamant about surfing his own game.
“When the waves come, there are high scores possible, it’s just a matter of being patient and waiting to make sure you get on them,” Irons said. “I watched everyone else’s heats and everyone is surfing well, but I just wanted to make sure I took my time, did my own thing and didn’t surf like anyone else.”
The first two heats of Round 4 were run today before conditions at Snapper Rocks deteriorated. Locals Bede Durbidge (AUS) and Joel Parkinson (AUS) advanced and will now meet in Quarterfinal 1.
The next heat to hit the water will be rookie Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. former Quiksilver Pro winner Dean Morrison (AUS). Reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), World No. 2 Taj Burrow (AUS) and ASP Rookie of the Year Jeremy Flores (FRA) are also on deck in Round 4.
The competition could be wrapped up in one day, but there are two more days in the event waiting period and event officials will watch conditions and coordinate accordingly.
The Quiksilver Pro pres. by LG will be webcast LIVE on www.aspworldtour.com/quikpro.