Garrett guns for final wildcard spot
By ADAM HICKS firstname.lastname@example.org BYRON Bay surfer Garrett Parkes has been hand-picked to try out for the final spot in the Gold Coast Quicksilver Pro.
The top 45 spots in the Association of Surfing Professionals 2008 World Tour event were filled by Mick Fanning and co.
Two more places were offered as wildcard entries to the sponsors’ favourites.
That left Parkes and 15 others to compete today at Snapper Rocks with only the winner to progress to the ASP WT season opener.
Quicksilver media manager “JJ” said Parkes was one of only eight surfers selected by the company to compete in today’s trial.
“He is a standout performer, he is one of the best young team riders we’ve got,” he said.
“He is a great surfer and the waves out here really suit natural footers.
“This is a very hard trial as only one goes through, but this will expose him to the top leagues and be good for his development as well.
“There is a lot of history there for young surfers to do well and upset big names.”
Parkes, the Under-16 World Champion, said the trail was the biggest opportunity of his career so far.
“I’ve got this one chance and I want to make the most of it while I can,” he said.
“I’d love to win it. If I get the waves I can definitely have a chance but mostly this is about experience and exposure.”
Already sounding like a seasoned professional, Parkes said he was not daunted by the thought of the world’s best surfers watching him from the beach.
“Mick Fanning and Taj Burrows were here today,” he said. “I don’t really mind. I’m just going to get out there, catch a few waves and have a bit of fun.
“If I think about it too much I’ll get nervous.” The seas off the Gold Coast have produced up to two-metre swells this week, but organisers expect Parkes will paddle out in three- to four-foot clean waves with an on-shore wind.
Conditions otherwise described as ‘fun’ by Parkes. Parkes will be supported from the beach by his mother, father and sister.