Welcome to the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro 2012 – another exciting international event for Queensland's iconic Gold Coast.
The Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro 2012 is a major event on the surfing calendar, attracting more than 52,000 spectators last year.
This year's action in the water will be augmentted by the glamour of the Association of Surfing Professionals World Surfing Awards at the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre.
The Gold Coast is cementing its status as a premier sporting events destination, with a growing calendar of attractions supported by Events Queensland. With its world-class beaches, climate and hospitality, the Gold Coast is also known as being famous for fun – whether it's the surfing, theme parks or fine dining, there is so much to see and do.As Chairman of Tourism Australia and Events Queensland, I understand the importance of events in driving visitation, showcasing the region and providing vital support to the local tourism industry.
Support for the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro is part of a strong commitment by Events Queensland to bring major events to the region. These events include the Australian Surf Lifesaving Championships, Kellogg's Nutrigrain IronMan Series and IronWoman Series, Coolangatta Gold, Gold Coast Airport Marathon, Pan Pacific Masters Games, BMW Magic Millions, the NRL Indigenous All Stars match, Armor All Gold Coast 600, HSBC Sevens World Series and more.
Chairman Events Queensland
Snapper Rocks has always been a good wave, it's just that a decade ago it got a little better. Perched at the head of Rainbow Bay, the jagged volcanic rocks laid down 20 million years ago catch the northward flow of sand, forming a rifling sandbottom righthander that has sired four generations of incredible surfers. There are more good surfers per square metre here than anywhere else in the world. Since its formation in 1964, Snapper Rocks Boardriders has arguably been the most successful boardriding club in Australia, featuring surfers like Peter Townend, Rabbit Bartholomew, Joel Parkinson, Dean Morrison and Steph Gilmore.
In 2001 the Tweed River Sand Bypass Scheme started pumping sand into Rainbow Bay, creating a mile-long sandbank that runs from Snapper Rocks all the way through to Kirra – which soon became known as The Superbank. A high performance wave that offers a submarine barrel behind the rocks before winding down into a rippable skate park wall, Snapper is regarded by many as the funnest, most hi-fi wave on tour. And while the Quiksilver Pro is based at Snapper Rocks, the event can move between Duranbah Beach and Kirra to find the best waves.
- 36 surfers enter, one surfer leaves... with the trophy.
- The draw works this way: Round 1 (12 x three-man non-elimination heats), Round 2 (12 x man-on-man elimination), Round 3 (12 x man-on-man elimination), Round 4 (4 x three- man non-elimination heats), Round 5, Quarters, Semis, Final (man-on-man elimination).
- Heats are (generally) 30 minutes, and a surfer is scored on his best two waves.
- There are five judges per heat, with the lowest and highest scores being dropped and the remaining scores being averaged out of 10.
- As per the ASP criteria, the judges are looking for: "Commitment and degree of difficulty, innovative and progressive manoeuvres, combination of major manoeuvres, variety of manoeuvres, speed, power and flow."
The greatest surfer in the world got just a little greater in 2011.
After a sublime back half of the ASP season Kelly Slater stormed home to win his 11th world title on the sands of San Francisco's Ocean Beach. Eleven world titles, huh? Still doesn't sound real. But when you scale such dizzy heights, the numbers tell just a fraction of the story. Eleven World Titles is a feat that will never be matched, but it's the style in which he's won them that makes him special. He's won World Titles by blowing people's minds, he's won them by fighting tooth and nail, he's won them by staying one chess move ahead of great rivals. He's won World Titles 20 years apart. The influence he's had on surfing, the charisma he's brought to the game, and the evolution he's sparked are hard to quantify. Likewise, the number 40 to Kelly is just a number.
Kelly turned 40 on February 12, but while most of his peers consider 30 a good age to walk away from the game, there is no indication that Kelly is done with pro surfing yet. He's convinced his best surfing is still out there somewhere.
As his career has tracked over 20 years, Kelly has become the master of finding a reason to get up in the morning and keep winning. Whether that reason be a new rival, a new surfboard, or as it was last year a whole new generation of challengers forcing him to push and evolve his surfing.
So the big question is what can we expect from Kelly this year? He hasn't committed to doing the whole tour in 2012, but didn't do so in any of the past five years when he's won World Titles. What we do know is that he will be at Snapper Rocks in February, and so should you.
- 2. Joel Parkinson - 30, Coolangatta, Australia
- 3. Taj Burrow - 32, Yallingup, Australia
- 4. Gabriel Medina - 18, Maresias, Brazil
- 5. Owen Wright - 22, Lennox Head, Australia
- 6. Adriano de Souza - 25, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- 7. Julian Wilson - 23, Coolum, Australia
- 8. Jordy Smith - 24, Durban, South Africa
- 9. Alejo Muniz - 22, Santa Catarina, Brazil
- 10. Michel Bourez - 26, Toahutu, Tahiti
- 11. Josh Kerr - 27, Coolangatta, Australia
- 12. Damien Hobgood - 32, Satellite Beach, USA
- 13. John Florence - 19, Pipeline, Hawaii
- 14. Mick Fanning - 30, Coolangatta, Australia
- 15. Jeremy Flores - 23, Capbreton, France
- 16. Heitor Alves - 29, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 17. Miguel Pupo - 20, Sao Paulo, Brazil
- 18. Adrian Buchan - 29, Avoca, Australia
- 19. Kieren Perrow - 35, Byron Bay, Australia
- 20. Bede Durbidge - 29, Nth Stradbroke, Australia
- 21. Raoni Monteiro - 29, Saquarema, Brazil
- 22. Brett Simpson - 27, Huntington Beach, USA
- 23. Adam Melling - 26, Lennox Head, Australia
- 24. Kolohe Andino - 17, San Clemente, USA
- 25. C.J. Hobgood - 32, Melbourne, USA
- 26. Tiago Pires - 31, Ericiera, Portugal
- 27. Jadson Andre - 21, Natal City, Brazil
- 28. Matt Wilkinson - 23, Copacabana, Australia
- 29. Patrick Gudauskas - 26, San Clemente, USA
- 30. Dusty Payne - 23, Lahaina, Hawaii
- 31. Travis Logie
- 32. Taylor Knox
- 33. Kai Otton
- 34. Yadin Nicol
- 35. Moskova Trials Winner
No one who was at Snapper Rocks that day will forget it. It was March 3, 2010, and California's Dane Reynolds was drawn against local boy and defending champ, Joel Parkinson. Snapper was four foot, the odd one a little bigger. It was low tide, shallow, hollow, and muscular. Parko ripped; got himself barrelled, drew beautiful lines. But he didn't stand a chance. For that 30 minutes Dane Reynolds was the best surfer in the world. Kelly said so. But it was sadly also one of the last times we'd see it. Dane walked away from the tour in 2011, his competitive streak an inch wide, intent instead on chasing waves and pushing his surfing away from the madding crowd. His fans, meanwhile, craved more of what they saw at Snapper. They wanted Dane to be crowned the best surfer in the world. Dane was happier just being Dane. Late last year he posted his "Declaration of Independence", explaining in his famously quirky style where he saw his surfing headed.
THE MOSKOVA TRIALS (GUYS)
The Moskova Trials is a one-day shootout to determine the final spot in the 36-man field for the Quiksilver Pro. Eighteen surfers, including local rippers and Quiksilver team riders from all around the planet, will compete for the chance to surf against the world's best. The Moskova Trials will be held at Snapper on February 24.
THE MOSKOVA TRIALS (GIRLS)
Twelve girls – including 4-time world champ Lisa Andersen – will contest the final spot available in the Roxy Pro field. The Moskova Womens Trials will also be held at Snapper on February 24.
QUIKSILVER KING OF THE GROMS
The Quiksilver King of the Groms is a global competition for surfers 16 and under. The Australian KOTG final will be held during the Quiksilver Pro, and will feature surfers like the freakishly talented 14-year-old Jack Robinson (top). The winner of the Australian final will travel to France in September to contest the international KOTG final.
On finals day at the Quiksilver Pro a handful of surfing's most famous names will paddle out for an exhibition freesurf between the semis and the final. Last year we had former world champs Tom Carroll, Martin Potter, Occy and Rabbit Bartholomew all in the water, and the boys showed they've lost none of the old magic... nor their love of dropping in on each other.
The guys from VX Sport will be tracking the surfers with GPS monitors, measuring top speeds and supplying performance data.
And if watching the world's best male and female surfers isn't enough for you, there's plenty else to do in and around the Quiksilver Pro.
- Check out the Land Rover tent on site at Snapper Rocks as they'll be giving away a signed Kelly Slater surfboard every day of the event. They'll also be giving away weekend escapes with accommodation and a Land Rover of your own to drive around. Drop in to enter.
- Quiksilver and Roxy athletes will be doing signings at the event pop up store at 3pm daily.
- Using traditional Aboriginal rock painting techniques, you can contribute to the indigenous mural created by the Dhinawan Dreaming mob. The guys from Dhinawan Dreaming will also be a part of the Quiksilver Pro's official opening ceremony.
- Visit the Vegemite Surf Groms tent, find out more about this grassroots learn-to-surf program, have your photo taken in the tube and maybe even grab a slice of Vegemite on toast.
- If you're over 18 head up and see the team in the Rainbow Bay Surf Club, grab a cold Corona and watch the world's best surfing action from the balcony.
- Grab a Sharpie and your "Best of Boardriding" sticker from the Quiksilver and Roxy pop-up store, fill it in, and slap it up on the "Sharpie Best of Boardriding Wall" (below).
- Plenty of our event partners like Olympus, Peters Drumstick, Red Bull, Gold Coast Tourism, Telstra, Schick Hydro, Surfing World, and Lipton Ice Tea will have marquees on site and be handing out free samples.
- Dune Care, supported by the Quiksilver Foundation, will be running a working bee at Rainbow Bay on March 3 at 1.30pm.
- The annual Quiksilver Foundation Golf Day is on at Palm Cove Golf Course on February 22 to raise money for the Foundation's charities.
While you're watching the world's best surfers why not drop in and grab some official event merchandise from the Quiksilver and Roxy pop- up store at Snapper Rocks. The store not only stocks event merchandise from tees to hats, but also a fullv range of gear from both Quiksilver and Roxy, Moskova, and Freedom Dolly. There'll be everything from boardies and bikinis to surfboards, skateys and sunscreen in store, so why not drop in and check it out in between heats.
The full range of Quiksilver and Roxy Pro event merchandise will also be available online at quiksilverpro.com.au and roxypro.com.au. And thanks to the crew from World Surfaris and Kirra Surf if you make a purchase at either of these sites between February 7 and March 13 you'll go into the draw to win an all expenses paid trip for two to the Pohnpei Surf Club in the Caroline Islands to surf the famous righthand pits of P-Pass.
- 3. Stephanie Gilmore - 24, Tweed Heads, Australia
- 4. Tyler Wright - 17, Lennox Head, Australia
- 5. Silvana Lima - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- 6. Coco Ho - 20, Sunset Beach, Hawaii
- 7. Sofia Mulanovich - 28, Lima, Peru
- 8. Courtney Conlogue - 19, Santa Ana, USA
- 9. Pauline Ado - 21, Anglet, France
- 10. Laura Enever - 20, Nth Narrabeen, Australia
- 11. Malia Manuel - 18, Kauai, Hawaii
- 12. Lakey Peterson - 17, Santa Barbara, USA
- 13. Sage Erickson - 21, Ojai, USA
- 14. Rebecca Woods - 27, Copacabana, Australia
- 15. Paige Hareb - 21, Oakura, New Zealand
- 16. Stephanie Gilmore - 20, Lacanau, France
- 17. Jacqueline Silva - 32, Florianopolis, Brazil
Sal arrived on the Gold Coast for the first day of last year's Roxy Pro and the signs were there that things had changed. "The first day I got there I surfed super-early – it was like 5am – and I was walking down to Snapper with Dad, still half asleep, and we walk past this huge billboard. We kinda walked past it then both stopped and looked at each other, then looked back and there I am, all lit up. I went, 'Look, a giant-sized me!' It's crazy, because I come from such a small town that it's too strange to even seem true... me on a billboard."
Sal lived up to her new billing, surfing through to the Roxy semi-finals where she met the girl who she'd shadow for the rest of the season – Hawaii's Carissa Moore. The heat was a turning point for women's surfing, Sal and Carissa's surfing captivating a packed beach and a huge international viewing audience. Sal, however, came up agonisingly short. "I felt my surfing was there to win it, but it didn't play out for me. I think through the day I kinda felt every emotion. I was ecstatic with my surfing, but so bummed that I lost. I knew I'd surfed well but when you lose you're still so bummed. It was a good start though." Sal continued her golden ascendancy by taking her maiden win at the next event at Bells. She and Carissa then jousted for the World Title throughout the rest of the season, Carissa eventually edging Sally out. "I was obviously pretty gutted that I got so close and didn't win, but I learned so much last year and I have to take that with me. I've never been so excited about the new season rolling along as I am now."
"For sure, I felt a shift," recalls Sally Fitzgibbons of the performance level during last year's event. "Having the Roxy Pro as a platform is really good, because there were a lot of eyes on us and we got that chance with some reasonable waves and the guys were all there watching and being on TV, you felt it was an opportunity for us. I've felt our level collectively has been there for a while now, but it's been hard to show it in the waves we've had. Last year at the Roxy Pro we had the waves and the surfing lifted. It felt exciting for our sport, it really did. I felt the push. It felt like an opportunity and everyone stepped up." In a nod to just how epic the girls' performance was in 2011, the competitor's area at the Roxy Pro was filled on finals day with their male peers; Kelly, Ace, guys who weren't even scheduled to surf that day but had turned up to watch the show. Sal might have lost that day, but it was a huge win for the girls as a whole. So where does it go from here? The girls who were the agents of change last year will all be at Snapper in February. What can we expect from them at the first event of the 2012 ASP season? "I think definitely the progressive side of our sport is where that momentum might take us," says Sal. "A big part of what the guys do now in contests are airs, and with the momentum the girls have I reckon that's where we'll see our surfing evolve."