At dawn the ordinary rainy on-shore three-to-four foot conditions cleaned up to off-shore mid-morning with the heats kicking off at 11am. The first heat of the day was Travis Logie up against Taj Burrow. South African Travis Logie’s approach was to keep busy taking waves from the start of the heat with mid-range scores. However, West Australian Taj Burrow answered back with monster floater-to-power-gaff combinations and a powerful series of forehand turns.
Next up, Hawaiian Freddy Patacchia took on Tahitian Michel Bourez. Freddy P took three waves in the early minutes of the heat while the Tahitian remained relatively quiet throughout the first 10 minutes of the affair. Patacchia latched onto the lead following a series of small exchanges, unloading a barrage of backhand combinations, earning a 7-point ride and a heat in round four. Heat three was an all-Queenslander affair between the world-class act of Julian Wilson and progressive rookie Mitch Crews. Crews held nothing back in the bout, utilizing his local knowledge to select the most quality waves and decimating them with full-rail turns and power hooks. These manoeuvres take rookie Mitch Crews through to round four.
Heat four would see American veteran C.J. Hobgood take on Australian tactician Adam Melling in what would prove to be a scrappy affair. Both Hobgood and Melling would struggle to find average scores throughout the bout, but the competitors would share a flurry of exchanges in the final two minutes, with Hobgood emerging with the win.
Gabriel Medina of Brazil, who was injured at Snapper Rocks in 2013, showed no signs of hesitation today lighting up the righthanders with power and flair against Australian Ace Buchan in heat five taking Medina through to the next round.
Heat 6 would see a superheat between reigning three-time ASP World Champ Mick Fanning and dangerous Wildcard Dane Reynolds. While the two icons would get off to a slow start throughout, an explosive exchange at the halfway mark would put Fanning out front compliments of an 8.50. Reynolds displayed his organic approach on a last-minute ride, but would fall shy needed of the score needed to surpass the local favorite.
Snapper Rocks continued to clean up as Round 3 passed the midway point with 11-time ASP World Champion and 2013 Runner-Up Kelly Slater took on Quiksilver teammate Tiago Pires. Slater, the defending event champion, wasted no time in asserting his dominance, blasting a 9.07 and a 7.50 for a comprehensive assault on the Snapper bank. Pires struggled to find opportunity in the afternoon conditions and closes his Quiksilver Pro campaign out with an Equal 13th.
Next up would see Jeremy Flores lose out to Adriano de Souza in the first half of the heat following an interference call. This would be the fourth penalty of the contest imposed, in line with the revised 2014 ASP rules. With the incoming tide, all eyes were on the air game with Josh Kerr taking on and defeating Kolohe Andino with just a 1.14 point margin. In Heat 10, 2013 Rookie of the year, Nat Young paddled out in to a battle of the goofy-footers against Jadson Andre to take his round 3 win.
One of the biggest upsets of the day was to go down in the penultimate heat of the day with Owen Wright loosing to Brazil’s Migel Pupo after coming back from a long injury spell. Pupo, also back from surgery recovery was on fire, taking the better set waves of the two and ending Wright’s chances of a podium finish at Snapper Rocks.
The final heat of the day saw an all Aussie match up with local favorite Joel Parkinson just securing the win over Southern Aussie Dion Atkinson in the closest heat of the day. Joel will now join Nat Young and Migel Pupo in his round 3 heat and with a return in the swell, the next call is at 7.30am local time here at Snapper Rocks.