If the World Tour and it's sponsors wanted to put a show of aerial progression on display for metropolitan beaches around the world in 2011, Long Beach certainly fit the bill today for round one of the Quiksilver Pro New York.
After running Sunday's trials and Monday's opening ceremony in front of massive holiday weekend crowds, the contest kicked off today in clean two-to-three-foot waves. But while the entire East Coast has been awaiting Hurricane Katia swell to arrive, the morning low tide seemed to be more of a local windswell, the result, of a hard south blow on Monday. A steady rain didn't stop many New York fans from coming out to the matinee. The groundswell didn't seem to filter in until the tide push in the afternoon. It wasn't the kind of do-or-die tropical peaks anyone is hoping for, but it showed promise for the rest of the week and was plenty contestable.
How contestable? In heat 11, in which Brazil's Adriano de Souza, Josh Kerr, and Kai Otton squared off, there were 45 waves scored. Each surfer maxed out his wave count, picking off peaks, little running lines and rampy inside sections.
Once again, the surfer who garnered some of the most talk and Tweets today was the guy who didn't even surf. After withdrawing or simply not showing at every event thus far in 2011, Dane Reynolds decided to bow out, citing bruised ribs. This is following his knee surgery and comeback.
Josh Kerr, currently in the No. seven slot, is making a very solid run at a top five finish by the year's end. Kerr, who had been on again/off again for years, started the season with a pair of equal 13ths and then improved to a pair of fifths. For years, Kerr had been an air-show specialist, but he told the surfing world he was for real last week at Teahupoo, making the semis in thick death barrels. Today, he was back in his proven element, launching his way to an 18.57 heat score. He had the two highest scoring waves of the day, including a 9.50 for a single move (no handed air reverse) wave.
Julian Wilson watched the heat intently, noting that Kerr was scoring on the against-the-grain rights. However, he chose slower lefts to start the heat. After a full Kerr/De Souza air show, Taylor Knox led heat 12 with is ground game, until he found a few rights of his own to send Knox and Kai Otten to the possible chopper of round two.
"It didn't matter if it was a right or a left, I just wanted to get a score on the board," said Wilson, "I was getting a little flustered when Taylor got those waves, but then I got comfortable and found my waves."
World No. two, Joel Parkinson, goes right into round three, as does CJ Hobgood. The ASP rotates out the bottom six surfers following New York. After twelve years on tour and a world title, Hobgood is facing a possible boot off the tour. With is career very much on the line, he posted the second highest heat score of the day. Riding a quad, sir Kelly Slater held off Daniel Ross and local royalty, 20-year-old wildcard, Balaram Stack. Tiago Pires, in danger of spending the rest of the year watching the tour from a laptop in Portugal, capitalized on a Matty Wilkinson interference to make his own life a little easier.QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.56, Brett Simpson (USA) 13.50, Travis Logie (ZAF) 6.57
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.67, Gabe Kling (USA) 3.43, Dane Reynolds (USA) N/S
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.93, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.84, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.46
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.77, Owen Wright (AUS) 10.00, Bobby Martinez (USA) 7.10
Heat 5: Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.83, Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.73, Asher Nolan (USA) 8.60
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.20, Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.66, Balaram Stack (USA) 6.07
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.40, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.27, Cory Lopez (USA) 12.97
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 15.97, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.77, Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.00
Heat 9: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 10.80, Adam Melling (AUS) 10.50, Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.66
Heat 10: Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.76, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.73, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.65
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.57, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.37, Kai Otton (AUS) 11.54
Heat 12: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.00, Taylor Knox (USA) 12.60, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 10.60
QUIKSILVER PRO NEW YORK ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Balaram Stack (USA)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Asher Nolan (USA)
Heat 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Bobby Martinez (USA)
Heat 5: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 6: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 7: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 8: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
Heat 9: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 10: Chris Davidson (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 11: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 12: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) vs. Daniel Ross (AUS)