First surf contest of the season

Kelly Slater 2013 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

I intended to go to sleep at a reasonable hour on Tuesday night. But then I realized that it was Finals day at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at Kirra on the Queensland Coast in Australia..which meant that it would run when I should be sleeping. And since this is the first contest of the 2013 season, I really wanted to watch.

On the final day, there were four men left standing – reigning ASP World Champion Joel Parkinson, 2012 runner-up Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning and Michel Bourez. All had been surfing well through the event but I think that Joel and Mick were the two favored to make the finals – both locals who grew up surfing these breaks. In the end, Kelly took his 52nd career elite win on tour against Joel.

Kelly Slater Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

It was pretty much a tube shoot-out the entire day – barrel after barrel after barrel. In the first semifinal, as if on cue, Joel pulled into a gorgeous barrel to score a perfect 10. He continued to catch beautiful rides while Michel waited patiently out the back for his wave, but ultimately wins the heat 18.17 to 15.80.

In the second semifinal, Mick seemed to have the upper hand and local knowledge of his home break. He jumped to an early lead with a near perfect 9.93 while Kelly couldn’t seem to find the right rhythm. With Kelly chasing a score of 9.24 with 6 minutes left, he does that thing he always seems to do – conjure up the perfect wave. He pulls deep into a barrel and comes shooting out of it and finishes off the wave with a big wraparound cutback and a slashing turn for a perfect 10. He won the heat 19.37 to Mick’s 18.60.

Joel Parkinson Floater

The tube riding continued into the finals. In the first three minutes, there were three great waves ridden. They exchanged waves – the most memorable coming towards the end of the heat. Joel, sitting higher up the bank, took off on a wave. But, as he approached Kelly, Kelly took off on the wave too. Since Kelly had priority, Joel was forced to abandon a beautiful ride – one that might have given him the score he needed to overtake Kelly. If he stayed on, he would have been called for an interference, guaranteeing losing the finals. As Joel backed off, he fliped off Kelly. Awesome.

Kelly and Joel Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2013

So here’s the thing. During Kelly’s interview after his semifinal heat, he was asked how he does it – how does he keep coming out and winning year after year. He answered that he is really good at observing and taking note of what’s going on and how that applies to his sport. On the drive down to the competition site, he said that he kept getting stuck behind slow cars. It was stop and go but then the traffic just opened up. And he took that to the water which is basically what happened in his heat with Mick. It took a few fits and starts before he found his groove. And when he did? It just opened up for him.

He also spent a few hours before dusk the night before just watching the waves at Kirra and again in the morning. He watched and made mental notes of where the good waves were breaking, where the line-up would be and where he wanted to sit out on the water, visualizing it all. In both heats, he seemed to be far away from his opponent but he had settled into one spot where the waves were breaking in a way that tended to lead to more open barreling waves – what he wanted for the competition.

 

What’s your favorite sport to watch?

You can watch replays of all the contest heats here.

Next up is the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in Victoria, Australia March 27-April 7.

 

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Comments

    • admin says

      I love tennis! I have to admit, I do love baseball. Football? Only during the playoffs if there’s a team that I care about. I kind of love watching sports!

    • admin says

      Watching running is newer for me too. My kids walk by the TV and they’re like, “Oh, they’re still running?” haha.

  1. says

    What Kelly said in his post competition interview completely resonates with me…the “stop and go traffic and then it opened up” Running a marathon can be this way for me and I’m sure many others, you have these ups and downs and then when it all comes together everything opens up and you finish fast and strong. It looks like it was a fun contest to watch! Kelly Slater is the man and legend!

    • admin says

      It was really insightful what he said and really goes to show how much he both studies and observes but also just puts his trust out there in the ocean and universe. I swear it’s part of his secret sauce!

    • admin says

      haha. This post is just for you :-)
      I’m a pretty loud sports fan too. I’ve been known to wake up the kids at night from my screaming at the TV. Oops!

  2. says

    Very cool that your favorite won and did it in exciting fashion! I think his experience and wisdom probably help so much, something I appreciate.

    I got to watch some surfing when we were in Australia a few years back–awesome place for it, stating the obvious!

    My favorite sport to watch, hands down, is cycling. Even with all the cheating that has tainted it, it’s so exciting.
    misszippy recently posted..I’m mantra-lessMy Profile

    • admin says

      I never thought that I would like watching cycling but I do love it too. Actually, I’ve realized that I pretty much like watching all sports.

  3. says

    This totally makes me want to try to surf again. Steve surfs and my son has shown a ton of interest – so I clearly have to get up on my skills so that I can take my kids out into the waves.

    I love what Kelly says about using visualization, I’ve done that with running a lot and it works. I have also heard of an experiment that was done with basketball players improving their baskets without actually practicing but through visualization only. Isn’t that cool?
    ilene recently posted..Nine Things I {Almost} Know for Sure about ParenthoodMy Profile

    • admin says

      OMG if your son is interested at this age, let him try! I wish wish wish that I would have picked this up at an earlier age. They learn so fast! I really want to get my kids on boards. You don’t necessarily need to get in the water with him (tho’ I think that you would have fun). Just a good instructor/coach!

  4. surfmama101 says

    I watched it too but it was reasonable hours for me…. my hubby put in on big screen in the living room! Great show with great athletes!

    • admin says

      Yes! I didn’t know much about them until a couple of years ago. They aren’t really shown on TV. I usually watch online – which is probably why no one know much about surf contests!

  5. says

    Amazing how strategic and intelligent Kelly is with it. True story I wanted to name one of my daughters Kirra after the surf break. My husband said no.

    • admin says

      That’s awesome. It IS a beautiful name :-)
      And yes, Kelly is pretty incredible. And he’s come out to say that he’s all in for the 2013 season. I mean, if he wasn’t completely committed in the last couple of years, I can’t imagine how well he’ll surf this year when he’s focused on competing!

  6. says

    Wow you really stayed up to watch it! We were up until 11 or midnight PST and I thought that was late. I loved this contest. I mean, Snapper wasn’t nearly as good as it usually is, but I liked seeing the different spots. I think it kept the competitors on their toes. This was my favorite recent contest, I think. Although Pipe wasn’t too bad either.

  7. says

    I love that you stayed up to watch it! I’ve watched it a few times – but not really having any clue as to what was going on – other than cute surfer guys riding the waves (do I sound like a dumb 15 y/o or what? – HA).
    I used to watch a ton of sports on TV but I find that I just don’t have the time anymore. I love baseball and like that I can do something else while the game is on…perfect for my slightly ADD personality (hehe)
    Michele @ Nycrunningmama recently posted..Behind the ScenesMy Profile

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