Kelly Slater of Cocoa Beach(Photo: © ASP / Cestari)

Brevard County's top two surfers, Kelly Slater and C.J. Hobgood, will be paired up in the first round of the season-opening World Surf League event, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, which begins Saturday in Queensland, Australia.

Slater, 43, the 11-time world champion from Cocoa Beach, is seeking to win that elusive 12th title after three years of near-misses. He finished fourth last season after a pair of runner-up finishes.
Slater comes into the season with 54 career championship tour victories and a 75 percent career heat win percentage.

Hobgood, the 2001 world champion from Satellite Beach, is back on tour after a near-miss himself, but the goofy-footer was granted the top wild-card spot for the season after finishing a career-low 33rd.

Hobgood, 35, comes in with four career championship tour wins and a 50 percent winning percentage in all heats.

Joining Slater and Hobgood in the three-main pairing will be Hawaii's Freddy Patacchia.
The winner of the heat advances to Round 3, while the other two must compete in an elimination Round 2 heat.

The first round:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA), Glenn Hall (IRL)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Matt Banting (AUS), TBD
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), TBD
Heat 7: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kai Otton (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Italo Ferreira (BRA)
Heat 12: Owen Wright (AUS), Nat Young (USA), Adam Melling (AUS)

The award winners at this week's preseason banquet:
Breakthrough Performers: John John Florence (HAW) and Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat of the Year: John John Florence (HAW)/Kelly Slater (USA) at Tahiti & Tyler Wright (AUS)/Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) at Bells Beach

Move of the Year: Julian Wilson (AUS) and Lakey Peterson (USA)
Wave of the Year: Kelly Slater (USA) and Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
WSL Junior Champions: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) and Mahina Maeda (HAW)
WSL Longboard Champions: Harley Ingleby (AUS) and Chelsea Williams (AUS)
WSL Women's Runner-Up: Tyler Wright (AUS)
WSL Men's Runner-Up: Mick Fanning (AUS)
WSL Women's Champion: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
WSL Men's Champion: Gabriel Medina (BRA)