HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, March 15, 2009) The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour season opener ended in dramatic fashion at the famed Kirra Point for the first time in over a decade after several lay-days at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile. Floridian twin-brothers C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 29, and Damien Hobgood (Satellite Beach, FL), 29, utilized their surgical backhand attacks on the roping Gold Coast righthanders while posting impressive performances on the way to their fifth place finishes.
The Quiksilver Pro was the first of 10 events on the ASP Dream Tour, with the world's top 45 surfers battling throughout the season in an attempt to earn the title of ASP World Champion.
2001 ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood was in stellar form throughout the event's entirety, consistently posting impressive scores on the way to his Quarterfinals berth. The talented goofy-footer ousted ASP Dream Tour rookie Dustin Barca (Kauai, HI), 26, and Brazillian Jihad Khodr (Curitiba City, BRA), 25, before he was eliminated by eventual event winner Joel Parkinson (Coolangatta, AUS), 27.
"There are some great waves out there but it is still difficult," Hobgood said. "The first heat is always the guinea pig, I went out with the frame of mind that I'm either going to get a 9.00 or a 2.00. There is potential for it to get really good out there, that wind just needs to turn a little more offshore."
ASP Dream Tour staple Damien Hobgood, who had a tough 2008 campaign due to a shoulder injury last year, seems to have made a full recovery in the off-season. The explosive goofy-footer defeated local standout and event wildcard Julian Wilson (Coolum, AUS), 20, in the final seconds of his Round 4 heat with an amazing backside barrel-ride, advancing him into the Quarterfinals where he eventually fell to former ASP World Champ Mick Fanning (Tweed Heads, AUS), 27.
"Julian (Wilson) is such a good surfer," Hobgood said. "I've actually been watching him a lot lately, he's really inspired me with how mature his surfing is. Before the heat I was just hoping that I wouldn't get smoked."
Free-Surfing extraordinaire Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA), 23, was the top Californian in the event, earning a ninth place finish. Reynolds put on several mind-blowing performances throughout the Quiksilver Pro, but he fell just shy of a Quarterfinals berth when he was narrowly defeated by ASP World Tour veteran Taj Burrow (Yallingup, AUS), 30, by the score of 17.00 to 16.23.
Other American surfers including Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 37, and Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 38, earned equal 17th place finishes.
Orange County native Chris Ward (San Clemente, CA), 30, Timmy Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA), 26, Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 26, ASP Dream Tour rookie Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 24, and ASP World Tour sophomore Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 28, each finished equal 33rd.
The second stop on the ASP World Tour will be the Rip Curl Pro held at the famed Bells Beach from April 7-18, 2009.
For Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast presented by LG Mobile information log on to www.quiksilverpro.com.au.