Wills knocked out; praises Gilmore
By STEVE SPINKS
BYRON BAY World Championship Tour surfer Danny Wills bowed out of the Quiksilver Pro at the Gold Coast's Snapper Rocks yesterday.
In atrocious surfing conditions, Wills (9.10) was eliminated by fellow Aussie Trent Munro (14.26) in round three.
Wills was less than impressed by officials who insisted the heat started early despite conditions being predicted to improve later in the day.
"It's really disappointing actually," Wills said.
"They (officials) probably should have waited because they knew the conditions were going to get good.
"But they didn't wait and give us a decent chance."
Wills' disappointment also stemmed from the fact that the Gold Coast event is as close to a home contest for him.
"That's a big part of it," the 29-year-old said.
"I'm really healthy and fit and I've been surfing up here a lot.
"But it was hard because there was probably only three good waves when normally you get 10 or 15 up here."
The WCT veteran now heads to Victoria's Bells Beach for the Ripcurl Pro on March 22.
"I'll go down a week early and acclimatize and just try to switch this result off," Wills said.
"There's still 12 events to go."
One talking point from the week-long surfing contests at Snapper Rocks was the surprise victory of unheralded 17-year-old Kingscliff schoolgirl, Stephanie Gilmore, at the Roxy Pro.
"She was just amazing," Wills said with admiration. "I hadn't really seen her before, but she was unbelievable.
"She's so strong with great style similar to that of Parko (Gold Coast's Joel Parkinson). She'd give a few of the young juniors (boys) around here a run for their money.
"She attacks the wave and has great timing. "She'll be a force and basically she'll be world champion when she wants to be."
All the big names progressed at the Quiksilver Pro including Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Mark Occhilupo, but world number three Taj Burrow was a surprise loser to American Chris Ward yesterday.
Irons will take on his little brother Bruce in round four.