Snake Paterson On The 2017 Quiksilver Pro, Snapper

What a crazy return to the World Tour by Owen Wright, after a year off with a concussion that left us unsure if we'd ever see him in a rash vest again. Personally, I think athletes compete better when they have no expectation – no fear of losing. In this case, I think Owen was just so happy to be back surfing that he had already won, no matter what the event's outcome was.

I can’t remember the last time a surf event ran straight out in one swell. Mixed conditions over the six days, from crazy stand-up barrels behind the rock, to onshore blue bottle-infested ramps, but nevertheless, it was super entertaining every step of the way.

If you missed Italo Ferreira’s 10-point backhand air in round two, please check it out. This guy is freak, you never know what he's going to do when he takes off. His run was ended by John John Florence in the quarterfinals, but this guy should be running with the big boys for the title at year's end.

Speaking of John John, he dodged a bullet in round three with Mikey Wright; He needed a score with a couple of minutes remaining, without priority. Mikey let a smaller runner go and John capitalised... the things that campaigns are made of, I guess. John lost in a crazy semifinal to Wilko. Even starting the semi with a 9.5 couldn’t hold off the crazy backhand attack of the defending Snapper champ. Equal third-place finish is the best start to a season John has had, so I think he is going to be the man to beat this year for the Title.

The other equal third went to Gabriel Medina, who was lucky to even keep surfing in the event after trying to land a 10-foot air in round one. He landed awkwardly, and after the heat, was carried out of the contest site. Mind you, he did score a heat total of 19 out of 20 in the very next heat he surfed! He'll also be one of the front runners for the Title.

The rookie race has seven news faces in 2017 and Connor O'Leary is off and running with a fifth place, with a sharp display of backhand surfing. Three Rookies lost in round two, and the other three lost in round three. Zeke Lau lost in round three to Jordy Smith with a perfect 10-point ride, just to show these guys how hard it is at the top of the sport. Really looking forward to seeing how this unfolds over the rest of the year.

I’m also looking forward to seeing how the old boys plan on keeping the young guns in check. Kelly and Parko both finished with equal fifth places, with some amazing surfing along the way. But these guys have been to the puppet show a million times and have seen the strings so don’t be surprised if they're in the mix at the end of the year.