Martinez advancing through season-opening Quiksilver Pro

Santa Barbara’s very-own globe-trotting professional surfer Bobby Martinez and the rest of the world’s top surfers have begun their 2010 season in Australia this week, congregating at Snapper Rocks for the Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro.

Martinez is off to a hot start, reaching the contest’s semifinals after winning two heats on Thursday. The 27-year-old has already greatly improved on a disappointing season-opener from 2009, when he bowed out after the second round in 33rd place. Martinez brought down Damien Hobgood in the fourth round and Kai Otton in the quarters.

Santa Barbara native Bobby Martinez surfed his way into the semifinals of the season-opening Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Australia on Thursday. (ASP/Kirstin Scholtz)

Ventura’s Dane Reynolds reserved his spot in the quarterfinals by defeating Kelly Slater. Reynolds then pulled out the second-highest heat score of the contest in his quarterfinal bout to beat Joel Parkinson 19.20 – 17.47.

Taj Burrow and Jordy Smith filled out the semifinal bracket making for a superstar final four. Burrow and Martinez will face off in one semifinal with Reynolds and Smith in the other.

Martinez dispatched Hobgood with precision-like efficiency in the quarters. He committed to only three waves in the 30-minute heat, two of which scored him a 7.93 and a 8.13. The end result was Martinez 16.06, Hobgood 12.43.

WATCH HIGHLIGHTS FROM MARTINEZ-HOBGOOD ROUND FOUR HEAT

It’s the SB native’s fifth year on the World Championship Tour. He finished eighth in 2009, his best season-ending result since a fifth-place in his rookie year of 2006. Since ’06, Martinez has established himself as a perennial top-10 performer. The goofy-footer has shown he’s especially dangerous at Teahupoo and Mundaka, having won each event twice in four tries.

A win in Australia would give Martinez a huge boost in his quest for a first world title.

QUIKSILVER PRO QUARTERFINAL RESULTS

Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.70 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.40.

Heat 2: Bobby Martinez (USA) 16.66 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 10.64

Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 19.20 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.47

Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.10 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.77

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