The Top 10 moments from the Quiksilver Pro today (part 1)
Words by Craig Jarvis | Photos by Simon Muirhead
It was a blistering opening day for the Men’s World Tour today, with extraordinary surfing and some memorably excellent rides. All of which has been seen on the webcast, or on the heat analyser already. So we dug in a bit, to find some nugs that haven’t been spread all over the digital universe already.
1. Kelly Slater accosted by local: Kelly Slater has so many fans screaming at him, shouting that they love him, they want to marry him and that they want to bear his children, that it must be all a bit whatever these days. He gets running security every time he heads for the water, but sometimes things get a little extra out of control. On the way to his first round heat he was grabbed by a lady, but was extricated from her grasp by said security. However, when coming in from his heat, (which he obviously won) he slipped behind the security for a split second and was suddenly and quite roughly grabbed by what looked like the same person. It looked pretty nasty, and the security were called in. Turns out that the poor lady has a mental disease (schizophrenia) and according to Kelly it was actually kinda sad. “I felt bad for her afterwards,” said Kelly. “I really don’t think she had any kind of clear picture of what’s going on. It was weird in the moment. But she clearly has a problem.”
2. The 'New' ASP: So, what's happening with the new ASP media rules? Social media has been ablaze with the fact that ZoSea and the ASP have taken away livelihoods! They've destroyed careers and have taken food off tables due to some small print in their contracts and the extremely finicky new Terms Of Entry signs at the beach! But, guess what? The same fine print has always, always been there. It's about the ability to stop imagery being used in a negative way. It's just that... uh, someone's just noticed. What you'll notice at the back of this pic is the photographers who are aware nothing's changed. They were ready and waiting, and shooting from first light. And, not being asked to hand over their imagery.
3. Jordy Smith: The ASP, and life in general, has a system that favours winners when it comes to coverage, and rightfully so. Otherwise it'd be free for all, with no perspicacity whatsoever, and no one likes a free for all. Thing is, we really dig the manbearpig for a number of reasons and when he crashes out so badly like he did in his first round heat, it makes no difference to our love. Through thick and thin, through rich and poor, we're going to stand by him and not desert him at the first sign of trouble. He was merely out of rhythm with the ocean today. It'll come back. If you saw his one hack on the only good wave he got you’ll know what we’re talking about.
4. Selfies! GoPro is one of the new World Tour sponsors and it's a great win for the surfers and for the media. GoPro cameras help bring the surfing experience to the fans from a whole new Point Of View and makes the surfing visuals feel so much more alive and in your face. Who can forget Mark Healey's desperate stroking for the channel at Mavericks a little while ago, and the look of resignation as he looks at the GoPro realises that he is about to get mowed down. GoPros are also perfect for girl group selfies at Snapper. Worth noting, no GoPros were used today because, really... GoPros on two-footers? Ain't nobody got time for that.
5. Dane. Reynolds. He just might be back in the game again sometime soon, our dear Mr Reynolds, as he looks like making a concerted effort to requalify for the 2015 World Tour. So excited is he that he can be found surfing his brains out at dawn, getting some rhythm, finding his feet, and airing his fins for this dad and his very excitable young kid. Wouldn't you be likewise excited if you saw this from your dad’s shoulders? Dane busting out and testing his boards this morning. His extra curricular is working, too: In Mick Fanning's first heat back as a world champion, he was beaten by Dane Reynolds.
6. Freddie P, the O.G. One thing about the Quik Pro is that there are always a lot of fans around. People who love surfing, and follow the tour and the surfers closely. They sometimes bombard the pros a little too much, and security has to run the surfers to the relative safety of the athlete area. But before the contest starts, and before the real pressure gets to wear everyone down a bit, our favourite surfers are jovial and relaxed and always ready to pose for a photo or sign an autograph for a fan, throw a few high fives to the kids. Freddy P signs a broken board for one such fan.
7. The Real Dream Tour: Many years ago Rabbit took the helm of the ASP and engineered the 'dream tour' to great success. It included such destinations as J-Bay, G-Land and Mundaka. The surfers got to surf the best waves in the world regardless, and Rabbit continued to steer it for a full 10 years. After he left, and in no way directly linked to his departure, the ASP started floundering for a while, until right now, at the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast. There has been an injection of cash and staff, new events and new tours have been set up, and there is an overwhelming feeling of confidence and support from all the people involved, as well as from the pros. Taj has commented on how everything is more professional, Kelly has enthused about the event structure and systems, and Tiago has said that he feels like a star. It's almost as if Part Two of Rabbit's plans are playing out now. He’s still around and he still gets out there, to have a few sets, to keep his hand in. This is Bugs hot-dogging today.
8. Water Fairies... While all eyes are sharply focused on the pros going mad across the Snapper bank, there is always a whole lot of surfing going on around that little stretch. D'bah is full by sunrise every day, and the rest of the Superbank has an endless stream of surfers entering and leaving the water all the way down to Kirra. Some of these surfers really enjoy pro surfing, but sometimes the lure of some warm water slides is more compelling and they forgo the comp to get a few under the belt. Like this young gal who sneaked this one from under the madding crowd. I think they just let her go anyway... who was gonna hassle her?
9. Taj Burrow and his meticulous quiver. Of course, Taj was on fire. He won Snapper in 2012 and is still surfing ever so dynamic and fast. He was actually on the board that he rode to victory at Lowers last year. “Of course I’m here to win,” said Taj to the gathered media scrum and every one of us wrote down the same quote. “I’m always kind of hot and cold,” he added, which was contrary to his surfing performance, which was hot, hot heat. I know we’ve harped on it before, but Taj did a good deed unto himself when he stepped onto Mayhems, and with Biolos carefully monitoring his board every step of the way, he looks every bit a winner at this stage of the game. Having said all that... Taj had a JS that he's been particularly vibing on with him at the beach today, ready to roll.
10. In which we tend back towards a picture of a small piece of material placed between the cared-for, upper glutes of a charming girl and forego on any more surfing pics for no reason other than that you, and we, enjoy such things, and there is never an overabundance if it.