Parko to lead charge
By Bob Anthony
COOLANGATTA'S Joel Parkinson will be among the first surfers back in action when the Quiksilver Pro resumes this week.
Parkinson will be in the second sudden-death heat to hit the water at Snapper Rocks after treacherous conditions yesterday forced organisers to put the tournament on hold for the third consecutive day.
However, forecasters have predicted the wild conditions will ease today with the expected arrival of light to moderate south westerly winds.
While the conditions may not be ideal, Parkinson, defending champion Mick Fanning, Coolangatta's Dean Morrison and Tugun's Troy Brooks will be banking on their local knowledge to get them through to the quarter-finals.
The Quiksilver Pro and Roxy Pro events have until March 12 to be finalised and smaller surf is forecast for tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday.
Parkinson, the 2002 event champion, has drawn Brazilian Peterson Rosa in the second heat of round three while Brooks faces a tough challenge in heat three against West Australian Jake Paterson.
Byron Bay's Danny Wills will take on fellow Aussie Tom Whitaker in heat 10, straight after world No.1 Kelly Slater matches up against South African Travis Logie.
Fanning, who secured the crown in inspirational fashion last year, must overcome Hawaiian power surfer Pancho Sullivan if he is to defend his title.
Morrison, who claimed the Quiksilver Pro title in 2003 will carry local hopes when he takes on American Taylor Knox.
There will also be plenty of interest in the women's event when it resumes, especially with the much-talked about showdown between defending Roxy Pro champion Stephanie Gilmore and Tweed Heads' world champion Chelsea Georgeson.
With both having surfed Snapper on a regular basis, it will be a case of who can extract the most out of the contest break in heat four with friendships being cast aside.
Also generating plenty of interest will be the return of Layne Beachley in heat two who will take on South African Heather Clark.