Meanwhile Kelly has a new cornerman as the top 34 duke it out at Duranbah.
If pre-contest preparations are anything to go by then things are shaping up for the Quik Pro to kick off at D’bah, that little border town beach that serves up a constant offering of juicy A-frame peaks. It’s the rock-flanked nook that keeps on giving and may well be cast as the saviour of the Quik pro. The goofys will no doubt be relishing the prospect of a few lefts, particularly with the predicted southerly wind providing the perfect updraft for airs.
The WCT A-class were busy with their annual surfers meeting for much of yesterday, but Jordy Smith made his presence felt for the early and once school was out the D’bah show really got under way.
After lunch a full gaggle of pro surfing lensmen lined the shore at D’bah and all those little surfing posses set up camp on the beach. Kelly arrived late with former Bells finalist, Adam Robertson, in his corner and a couple of different crafts under his arm. While Robbo posted up behind the lens Kelly did battle with the D’bah masses. The king’s completion rate may not have been great but he wasn’t holding back – launching backside rotations and slamming down closeout snaps on foot-snapping shallow sections. That famous foot didn’t seem to be bothering him but as per usual he seems undecided about what it is he will be riding. He caught a couple on one of his short, wide, creations before dashing up the beach to feel out the other one. Robbo had obviously been commissioned to provide feedback on the relative merits of either craft.
Jack Freestone was the standout of the early afternoon, while Avalon’s lanky flyer, leaping Letty Mortensen stole the show with a big backside rotation later in the day. Mick Fanning lurked in the lineup for much of the afternoon, dropping the hammer on a couple of huge turns and letting all who were watching know if he wanted to pull on the jersey and run amok he could.
Meanwhile Taj Burrow had been busy contesting the pre-trials so he could take part in the actual trials. Talk about a fin blast from the past. Now wouldn’t that be something if ‘Teebs’ surfed his way through to the main event and rattled a few rookies and went toe to toe with a few old sparring partners?
All photos by Simon "Swilly" Williams