Reigning ASP World Tour champions Mick Fanning and Stephanie Gilmore have been joined by other big names for the third round of the Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro, respectively.
A first-round win at Snapper Rocks on Australia's Gold Coast secured Fanning’s passage to the last 32 and a match-up with American Brett Simpson. He’s now been joined by Jordy Smith (pictured above), who finished second in his round one heat but then posted the top score of the event so far – 17.86 – in a rain-affected round two. He'll face Tiago Pires in the third round.
“You always want to try to impress the crowd and whoever’s watching, but you’ve got to slow it down sometimes and try to get the scores,” the 22-year-old South African commented. “I just surf, like, 70 percent or 80 percent, and then, in the later rounds, I give everything.”
"I love to compete in front of the home crowd, it’s always good fun." –Mick Fanning
“Giving everything” in round two resulted in a massive 9.93 out of 10 scored for one wave.
“It was such a good wave. I’m sure anyone could have had a good score,” added Smith, modestly. “I’m just lucky I got it. It was kind of slow in the beginning and then walled up all the way down the bank.”
Fanning, meanwhile, has credited a relaxing winter off, fitness training and the fact that he is surfing his home break this week for his early good form.
“I love to compete in front of the home crowd, it’s always good fun,” Fanning said after his first-round heat win. “The preparation was good this year, I had holidays over Christmas, and when I came back to Australia, I just got straight back in the gym and started working, so I’m feeling fit.”
In the Roxy Pro, Sofia Mulanovich (pictured at left) came through her second-round heat to join reigning champion Gilmore, who qualified in the first round heats, in the last 16.
“I’m just excited to see the level of surfing from all the girls today,” said Gilmore, who has won the last three world titles. “They’re all ripping and it’s really good to see for women’s surfing.
"Of course, I’m happy to advance through to round three, and we’ll see where we end up.”
Peruvian star Mulanovich, herself a former Tour champion, will face talented youngster Carissa Moore in the last 16, while Sally Fitzgibbons’ next opponent is the runner-up to Mulanovich in the last round, Bruna Schmitz.