Where there?s a Wills there?s a way through to the fourth round
By IAN MONAGHAN and AAP
BYRON Bay surfer Danny Wills has set up a clash with Mick Fanning, one of the favourites for the Quiksilver Pro World Championship Tour (WCT) title on the Gold Coast.
Wills, who claims Byron Bay's The Pass as one of his favourite surfing breaks, must have seen more than a passing resemblance to that right-hander in the solid metre-plus waves wrapping around the point at Snapper Rocks yesterday.
So much so that he had his round three encounter with American Chris Ward virtually wrapped up just six minutes into the heat.
He scored a tube ride on his first wave, just 60 seconds after the hooter sounded for the start, bursting out of a sizeable barrel into the lead with 8.83 (from a possible 10).
Ward, born in Texas but based in San Clemente, California, had trouble adjusting his much larger 80kg frame into the scoring zone, while Wills bottom-turned and slotted into a shorter barrel five minutes later for an 8.17pt ride.
Wills zipped off plenty of turns on his way down the Superbank, his 171cm frame much better suited to the speed of Snapper Rocks than Ward's 1.83cm. The Byron Bay 31-year-old finished with 17pts to his opponent's 14.17.
From the original 48 professionals who started the Quiksilver Pro a week ago, the first contest on the world tour in 2007, there are now only 16 remaining to contest round four.
Also starring with big wins yesterday were reigning world champion Kelly Slater, who scored an ominous 19.87 points in turning the tables on his round one vanquisher, Julian Wilson.
In doing so, he notched the contest's first perfect-10 wave.
Wills' opponent in round four, Coolangatta legend Mick Fanning, was also impressive.
He amassed 18.07 to defeat fellow Australian Jake Patterson.
Top-seeded surfers Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Taj Burrow (AUS) also advanced, though both surfers were forced to dig deep to find the form they needed to move to round four.
Parkinson later moved into the quarter-finals after defeating Hawaiian Bruce Irons, with officials opting to continue competition into the round four heats because of t he good conditions.
Round 3 Results: 1st moves to Round 4, 2nd is eliminated Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.94 def. Leonardo Neves (BRA) 16.17 Heat 2: Bruce Irons (HAW) 12.77 def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 11.50 Heat 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.17 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 13.50 Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.33 def. Bobby Martinez (USA) 12.07 Heat 5: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.67 def. Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 10.83 Heat 6: Mick Campbell (AUS) 18.07 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 12.00 Heat 7: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 17.57 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.64 Heat 8: Kelly Slater 19.83 (USA) def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.50 Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.07 def. Jake Paterson (AUS) 12.93 Heat 10: Daniel Wills (AUS) 17.00 def. Chris Ward (USA) 14.17 Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS) 17.43 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.84 Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.40 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.26 Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.67 def. Trent Munro (AUS) 14.50 Heat 14: Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.50 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.34 Heat 15: Ben Dunn (AUS) 10.30 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 3.90 Heat 16: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 16.17 def. Phillip Macdonald (AUS) 14.44.