This is the biggest surfing event in the history of South Australia and with huge points and prize-money on offer a star studded international field showed up to fight for the inaugural Fantastic Noodles Kangaroo Island Pro crown. In conjunction with the surfing event there’s a massive music festival happening, meaning that the usually deserted beaches of Kangaroo Island are packed with thousands of spectators.
Kolohe Andino (USA), the number 1 seed at the Fantastic Noodles Kangaroo Island Pro, and currently rated 26th on the ASP World Tour ratings after winning the last 2 ASP 6-Star rated events opened the day with a win. Andino will be looking to make it 3 ASP 6-Star wins in a row to solidify his ranking for a spot on next year’s ASP World Title Series.
“Kangaroo Island is like an ideal place for me,” Andino said. “It’s really country, there’s not a lot of people around, it’s great. There was even some wallabies hopping around our cabin the other night, my friends and I were freaking out, it was pretty cool. I feeling confident at this event, even though I feel like I wasn’t surfing too good in that heat, I’ve got good boards and I’m stoked to get through.”
Dean Bowen (AUS) was one of the standout performers of the day, using his lethal backhand attack to advance to the next round. Bowen is world renowned for his big wave antics, but today proved he can mix it in the small surf too.
“I haven’t been surfing that good lately so it’s good to get a couple of scores and get some confidence,” Bowen said. “This is my first time to Kangaroo Island and I love the place. My Dad wanted to come, so we came together which is great because I don’t think I’ve done a trip with him for about 2 years.”
Mitch Crews (AUS) showed the mass of onlookers his aerial game, launching to the skies to advance to the next round along with 2nd placed and former ASP top 10 rated surfer Phil MacDonald. Crews has had a stellar first year competing on the ASP Star Series and is currently rated 68th on the ASP World Rankings.
“The lefts looked good, but I just wanted to go right and do airs because the wind was perfect for it,” Crews said. “I’ve just come back from a concrete jungle in America and to be here in the outback of Australia is great. This is full desert, like legit Australia with wild animals, I’m sure the Americans are kind of tripping.”
Dion Atkinson (AUS), the highest rated local South Australian surfer advanced to the next round of the Fantastic Noodles Kangaroo Island Pro in the craziest of circumstances. Atkinson was struggling to find a good wave during the 25 minute heat and was in 3rd place with a minute left on the clock. A nice looking wave came through and Atkinson went for it when 2nd placed Jake Sylvester (AUS) got in his way and scored an interference and was deducted points, meaning Atkinson advanced through to the next round.
“I only needed a 4-point-ride and there was a wave I could have easily got it on,” Atkinson said. “I had to go and he (Jake Sylvester) had to try and hold me off, then he got the interference and I got through. You only have a few of them happen in your career so you’ve got to take it when it goes your way.”
Jay Quinn (NZL) survived a see-sawing battle against Dean Morrison (AUS) and Nick Vasicek (AUS) who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Quinn took an early lead in the heat with a decent score, but was unable to find a back-up and lost first position until he found a another scoring wave in the dying minutes.
“It’s good to get through the first heat of course,” Quinn said. “I got a 6.84 (out of a possible 10) then waited pretty much the whole heat for my 7.40, but you take the win anyway you can get it really. I feel pretty good here, I just need to get the waves and make things happen. It’s a pretty crazy set-up here, it’s my 1st time to South Australia and it’s pretty remote, but there are lots of people around.”
A call will be made at 7am tomorrow for a possible 7:30 start.
The event will be webcast LIVE via http://www.prosurfinglive.com/live/2011/ki