COMPETITIVE rivalries are heating up ahead of the Quiksilver Pro, with Joel Parkinson remarking he's going to hit hard at defending champion Taj Burrow.
Association of Surfing Professionals world champion Joel 'Parko' Parkinson was confident ahead of the first heat of the surf competition.
"Yeah can't wait. I'm gunna kick his a**e," he said.
However, Burrow was evidently feeling little pressure, despite citing Parko as his biggest threat in the competition.
"Biggest threat? Just looking around the room there's no easy heats. They're all pretty deadly so I think its gunna be a pretty action packed event," he said.
"Probably Joel right here next to me is gunna be tough. I'm obviously on a high from winning the last couple of events and world titles so it's always a good place to be, relaxed and confident. That's I know when I surf my best, so it'll be good."
Parko seemed at ease with the media pack at the Quiksilver Pro opening and was obviously feeling relaxed thanks to his championship win.
"I guess it's easier to have the monkey off my back, but I enjoyed it last year. My philosophy was enjoy it," he said.
"I've done a lot of exciting stuff over the last couple of months and it seems when the event comes around this is gunna be a little bit of a relaxing holiday and I get to do what I love to do, surf and compete."
USA wildcard Dane Reynolds was pleased to be competing next to Parko, Burrow and other big names in the Quiksilver Pro.
"I always like surfing this break and I've had some good match-ups for heats against Parko that was memorable a few years ago and I look forward to having a good match-up again in the rounds," he said.
Parko and Stephanie Gilmore made some comments regarding the event's move down the shore, from Snapper Beach to Rainbow Bay, and said that it would likely take away the home field advantage for local surfers.
Queensland tourism manager Jann Stuckey was thrilled to open the event and even admitted she'd dabbled in surfing when she was younger.
"It's been a long time since I've stepped on a board. But I'm a great advocate of the surfing community here," she said.
"This weekend we will see the world's top 45 male and 15 female surfing athletes take to the surf to compete under what promises to be some pretty high performance conditions."
Renowned surf journalist Sean Doherty said Kelly Slater was absent from the event due to personal reasons, while Hawaiian competitor John John Florence was also missing due to "surfing reasons".
Parko mentioned he was enjoying his time back on home turf, after a well deserved holiday with his wife and kids.
"Loving being home. Always good to be here, especially when you can compete and sleep in your own bed and stay in a great routine," he said.
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