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Rookies Keep Charging at Quiksilver Pro

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It was all about the rookies again today in the remaining heats of round three of the Quiksilver Pro presented by Samsung.

The event, the first on the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour, was held in one metre (three foot) waves at Duranbah Beach which sits just over the hill from the home base of Snapper Rocks in Queensland, Australia.

The Quiksilver Pro has played host to numerous upsets so far but none have turned more heads than Pancho Sullivan’s (HAW) round three heat 13 demolition of defending event champion and current world number three, Mick Fanning (AUS), who, prior to the event was Sullivan’s training partner.

Surfing in conditions that were much better suited to the dynamic surfing of Fanning, Sullivan showed true determination and strength to gain the speed to enable him to pull off some hefty turns which inevitably won him a berth in round four.

“I’m just ecstatic right now,” said Sullivan. “I knew it was going to be a really tough heat as Mick is one of the most dynamic surfers on tour. We’ve been surfing and training a lot together in the lead up to the tour and I knew it was going to take my best surfing to beat him. He can win every single event.

“I’m just happy that I got this opportunity to push my surfing out there in the tough conditions – you have to be able to do it in anything. I’ve been looking at improving my surfing in small waves in the off-season. If I can keep up the momentum, I’m hopeful I can make a run for the title with the other guys.

Despite his strong show and his solid stance in the face of adversity, Sullivan admitted that for a while there he was wondering if he was up to the task.

“I started to doubt myself today before the heat because I was thinking ‘I have Mick Fanning and he’s so fast’. I had to reassure myself that I could win and that I needed to give 100 per cent and then live with whatever the result is.”

Taking out last year’s world number six in Trent Munro was the highly acclaimed Brazilian whiz kid Adriano de Souza.

Looking very adept in the beach break conditions, de Souza was all over everything that came his way as he executed some massive forehand and backhand top turns and aerials.

“I am feeling pretty good,” said the pint-sized 19-year-old. “I can feel my heart rate is up with excitement as the waves are so similar to my home in Brazil.”

De Souza paid tribute to his fellow rookies and as expected was full of self-pride with his win over such an accomplished opponent.

“Its excellent, all the guys from the World Qualifying Series who got through round three was great,” said de Souza. “Especially Sullivan getting past the big names like Mick Fanning and all the guys from the top 10 of last year’s tour. I am pretty stoked that I’m through and was able to beat Trent Munro, he surfs really well and is one of my favourite surfers.”

Possibly the biggest spectacle of the day was heat 11 of the round where Taj Burrow (AUS) left it to the latter stages of the heat to outclass a rampaging Toby Martin (AUS).

Burrow opened up early with a whopping 9.63 out of 10 on his first wave, on which he pulled out every trick in the book. Large aerials, tail slides, reverse turns… you name it, Burrow completed it.

Coming back from a foot injury Burrow has been training hard prior to the event and it really showed but when Martin began to dominate the heat up until Burrow’s last ride, things looked shaky for the West Australian.

“It was definitely pretty scary out there,” said Burrow. “I scored that 9.6 on my first wave but then Toby surfed really, really good. In fact it was the best I’ve seen him surf in ages. He ripped this one righthander in particular and I knew I had a challenge ahead of me.

“I managed to get a few short ones and then scored a left where I did three big backhand turns and a reverse. I was definitely under the pump as Toby put the pressure on. I was worried I wouldn’t get the score that I needed to get in front because the ocean went flat and every minute that ticked by the more worried I was. It’s tricky and you have to work hard, but I can’t complain.”

Another to upset the Foster’s ASP Men’s World Tour top 10 applecart was Marcelo Nunes (BRA) who like Burrow pulled out everything in his repertoire to beat last years world number 10, 2001 world champion CJ Hobgood.

“The conditions were hard out there but I did well in that heat because I managed to find the right waves,” said Nunes. “I did one air on one of those waves and got a good score – a 7.5. It’s always hard to compete against CJ given that he has been a world champ and has spent many years on the tour. I’m just happy to have beaten him.”

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