Slater and locals on top
WORLD number two Joel Parkinson redeemed himself on day two of the first major surfing event of 2012 by easily disposing of wildcard trials winner Garret Parkes of Byron Bay in yesterday's opening heat of the World Championship Tour event at Snapper Rocks.
The day before, "Parko" was clipped by Lennox Head's Adam Melling whose last wave in round one relegated Parkinson into the sudden-death loser round, where only the winner advances, at the Quiksilver Pro.
Parkinson who is rated behind 11-time world champion Kelly Slater was back to his best, notching up two eight-point rides to move into round three.
Once again Slater was sensational on Saturday to show all and sundry that even at 40 he can still compete almost posting a 10-point ride (9.87).
Kelly has won this event three times previously and knows it as well as the locals, including Parkinson.
"Thirty seconds before our heat started I saw a really good one behind the rock," Slater said.
"So my plan was to wait for the deep ones. If you watch the heats and see who won and how they won, it's all about wave quality.
"The waves are fun when you get them; you just have to catch the second wave of the set because the first wave comes through and cleans it all up."
While Kelly dominated on Saturday morning with 18.80 out of 20 points, he was outscored by one of the rookies on the ASP World Championship Tour, Hawaii's John John Florence.
At only 19, the natural-footer from the north shore who is recognised as the latest Mr Pipeline for his winning heroics at Pipe, topped Slater's score in round one.
So far Florence is the highest scorer of the tournament with 9.90 and 9.70, almost a perfect score out of 20.
Byron Bay's Kieren Perrow who won the Hawaiian Pipeline Masters at the end of last year was feeling confident and pulling into some shallow- water peaks at Snapper Rocks to dispose of former world champion Clifton James Hobgood.
Perrow had a face-to-face encounter with the Snapper Rocks sandbank, busting his lip.
"On my second wave, my head got crunched into the bank and I hit it hard, almost seeing stars," said Perrow. "I'm out to have a good year."
In the Roxy Pro women's round two, Cabarita Kiwi Sarah Mason created the biggest upset by eliminating Hawaii's Coco Ho rated number six in the world.
On Saturday it was Lennox Head rider Tyler Wright with the highest scores, a 9.30 and 8.40 out of 10 while former four-time women's world champion Stephanie Gilmore was looking like the "Steph" of old, registering a nine-point ride to be back in contention.