The opening stop on the ASP World Championship Tour went down in epic fashion, with the semifinals and final culminating at pumping Kirra. Interestingly the top 3 surfers from the 2012 tour (Parko, Slater, and Fanning) made it into the finals for first stop on of the 2013 tour.
In his semifinal heat against Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning was off to an early lead in what can only be described as a ‘barrel shootout.’ Fanning put Slater on the ropes with 9.93 barrel as both former World Champions went wave for wave in classic Kirra conditions. It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the heat that Slater scored a perfect 10, taking the lead for the first time in the heat. Ultimately Slater won the semifinal with a combined two wave total of 19.37 to Fanning’s 18.60. “It’s a tough way to go out but you can’t be too upset when you put together a heat like that,” Fanning said. “I had a really good start and put in some solid scores. Kelly just did his ‘Kelly Thing’ and got that incredible 10 and really put himself back in the hunt. Shame I couldn’t get into the final with Joel, but it’s a good start to the year so I’ll refocus and get ready for Bells.”
5 time World Champion Steph Gilmore took 3rd place in the Roxy Pro, and showcased her prowess as arguably the greatest female surfer of her generation with her barrel riding skills in her quarter final heat also held at Kirra Point. She went on to win the Quiksilver Superheat surfing against fellow surfing icons Dane Reynolds, Jordy Smith, Craig Anderson, and Wayne ‘Rabbit’ Bartholomew.
“You know the comp got off to a slow start with less than ideal conditions, but man it finished with some solid surfing. I mean I would have loved to see Mick make it into the final against Joel, but that heat against Kelly was amazing and so was Steph’s barrel at Kirra. I am pretty happy with how the team is surfing and I know they are all happy with their boards. We even had a few test pilots riding some DHDs throughout the competition and they were ripping. Mick, Alejo, and Wilko were all riding the Ducks Nuts and it was great seeing Wilko on his back hand at Snapper on one of my boards. Bring on bells!”