surfing to secure his win with a 13.00 combined score (out of a possible 20).
Trials winner Fioravanti charged through the heat with big attempts but was not able to lock in the two-wave requirement to defeat the Brazilian superstar. After falling off the elite tour last year, Fioravanti leaves in 25th place and will head back to the Qualifying Series tour.
“The wildcards can be so dangerous as we just saw with Mikey [Wright] taking out John John [Florence] so I knew Leo [Fioravanti] was going to be hard,” Medina said. “It was really hard to find a good wave out there, but it looks like there are some good waves coming, so I’m stoked to get through. I’m feeling fit and my boards feel great, so I’m really excited to have the 2018 season underway.”
With the withdrawal of 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA), Michael February (ZAF) was given the opportunity of a lifetime to take his spot as an injury replacement. February took full advantage of his position and took down 2016 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast event winner Matt Wilkinson (AUS) in a tight Round 2 matchup. After back-to-back finals at Snapper Rocks, Wilkinson was a clear favorite, but the powerful goofy-foot was unable to get into a rhythm, leaving February to take his first victory on the biggest stage in surfing.
“Kelly [Slater] messaged me to explain his situation, which was really cool to get his perspective and share mine with him,” February said. “It’s unfortunate for him to have to pull out, but I’m stoked to have the opportunity to surf in a Championship Tour event. The end of last year was so tough as I just missed out on qualification so to have a chance now feels amazing. It’s been a weird couple of days waiting to find out if I’d be in the event so it’s great to now be in and to win my first heat feels incredible.”
[caption id="attachment_26704" align="aligncenter" width="1500"] Injury replacement Michael February (ZAF) eliminated 2016 event winner and 2017 event runner-up, Matt Wilkinson (AUS), in Round 2 Heat 3 of the Quiksilver Pro.
Caption: © WSL / Sloane[/caption] 2012 WSL World Champion Joel Parkinson (AUS) found redemption in his Round 2 heat, posting the highest two-wave total of the event so far, an excellent 17.03. Parkinson’s local knowledge was evident as he escaped the biggest barrel of the day to dispatch of California’sPat Gudauskas (USA) on his return to the CT. The two-time Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast event winner also squashed any question of a looming retirement. “It’s funny that after all these years the first elimination heat of the season always gets that nervous feeling going,” Parkinson said. “Motivation in competition is easy to find because surfing is something that I have always loved and that’s why we do what we do. I’m looking forward to doing this for the rest of this year and hopefully a few years to come.” 2016 WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) will also advance through to Round 3 after eliminating compatriot Ian Gouveia (BRA) in Heat 4. In his first Championship Tour event representing Japan, the last thing Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)wanted was an equal 25th finish, but this was a possibility before he came up against Keanu Asing (HAW) in Heat 8 of Round 2. Asing had a fair bit to prove also as he made his return to the CT after being relegated to the Qualifying Series in 2017. With conditions slowing at the bottom of the tide, the two traded average scores throughout the heat, but it was Igarashi who came out on top at the heat’s end. 2018 CT Rookies Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Tomas Hermes (BRA), and Wade Carmichael (AUS) survived their first Round 2 elimination heats today after defeating Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Joan Duru (FRA), and Jesse Mendes (BRA), respectively. Event organizers will reconvene at 6:30 a.m. local time to make the next call. Surfline, WSL forecast partner, is calling for: Mid period, mid-size E swell from former Cyclone Hola will fill in today. There is good confidence we will see NE to E swell Wed-Thu, easing slowly into and over the weekend as the swell direction shifts more ESE/SE. Long range guidance points to more mid-size ESE/SE swell around the last couple to few days of the event window. Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 2 Results: Heat 1: Mikey Wright (AUS) 15.10 def. John John Florence (HAW) 10.76 Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.00 def. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 7.90 Heat 3: Michael February (ZAF) 11.03 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.97 Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.40 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 10.07 Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.03 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.67 Heat 6: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.67 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.80 Heat 7: Frederico Morais (PRT) 12.16 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.90 Heat 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 10.60 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 8.86 Heat 9: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.90 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.83 Heat 10: Conner Coffin (USA) 12.20 def. Yago Dora (BRA) 10.60 Heat 11: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 14.93 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 12.17 Heat 12: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.74 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.13 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Matchups: Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA) Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Conner Coffin (USA) Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Tomas Hermes (BRA) Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA) Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS) Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS) Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Michael February (ZAF) Heat 8: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA) Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS) Heat 11: Connor O’Leary (AUS) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF) Heat 12: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Matchups: Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW) Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS) For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.]]>