Tweed teen on the rise
TWEED Heads teenager Dale Richards (pictured) will face one of surfing's toughest challenges when the world championship tour (WCT) season-opening Quiksilver Pro continues at Snapper Rocks today.
Richards, who turns 19 today, faces a sudden-death showdown with eight-times world champion Kelly Slater after both lost their opening round heats yesterday.
Richards impressed in yesterday's tricky conditions but was eventually beaten by three-time world champion Andy Irons and world no.19 Greg Emslie while Slater was spectacularly upset by wildcard entry Julian Wilson.
Richards and Slater will now do battle in the second round.
"I've actually never really thought about competing against Slater but I'm looking forward to it now," Richards said about the upcoming clash.
"I've just seen him in the movies and watched his first heat, that's all."
Slater, the defending champion, said Richards' local knowledge could prove crucial.
"Dale ... obviously knows the wave real well," he said.
"He hasn't had the chance to surf these events so much so we'll see if he can get himself real calm and just focus on what he is doing."
Photo: STEVE ROBERTSON