Views From The Bank
Assorted observations from two hours in the Snapper lineup.
As you know very well by now, the Quiksilver Pro has all but officially kicked off. While the waves aren’t up to speed, the scene is a quintessential Gold Coast magnum opus. Made complete with a vast display of industry heads, excessive tans, bleach-blonde frizzy perms, bare-chested dudes, unrestrained amounts of branding in every nook and cranny, and the largest collection of JS’s ever seen in one location. Sprinkle in the top male and female surfers trading waves and rubbing shoulders in the same hundred square metre stretch of aquatic space, and there’s plenty of action to get lost in.
Rather than twiddling our fingers waiting for the comp to kick off, we decided to do some on-field observational reporting from the sand and the lineup. Specifically, this fat mess decided to go toe-to-toe with the chiselled CT’ers in the mean lineups of Coolangatta, and report back the damage. Who’s ripping, who’s not, new stickers, and other assorted musings from Rainbow Bay. Feel free to use the info for last minute fantasy team changes, or as a discussion bumper when your next lineup conversation runs dry.
Kelly Slater looks weaponized and ready to fire, no surprise there. Noteworthy, however, is that his once blank nasal space is now plastered with an exceptionally prominent OuterKnown sticker. While it is weirdly jarring to see Kelly ride a logo’d board once again, from a commercialism standpoint it’s inspiring. Kelly Slater, dismantling Snapper, riding a Slater Designs board, stickered with an “OK” graphic… a self-made man indeed.
If Joel Parkinson paddles out at Snapper, you watch. It’s not like you’re getting any waves anyway. And while his Bob Hawke-esque, classic Australian charm dressed in a relaxed stature is enough to garner attention, his surfing is sharper than ever right now. “I’ve actually started this crazy cleanse. I feel like I’m jumping out of my skin, which I haven’t felt for a while,” says Parko. The renewed vigour is more than likely a side-effect of his recent detox. And the payoff is certainly noticeable. Parko was a presence in the lineup, catching the most waves, and performing with both razor-sharp speed and that vintage Free As A Dog finesse. A steaming Parko, surfing at home, with a promising swell on the horizon. If there was such thing as a safe bet, this is it. As they say, the house always wins.
Mikey, Tyler, Owen
Holy hell, the Wrights have come into the Gold Coast, guns blazing. Aside from collectively clocking in the most hours compared to everyone else at the bank today, their surfing was beyond flawless. Owen’s form is definitely back following his injury, Mikey is up to no good — whether it be when he’s landing McTwists or burning out his Chrysler Valiant on the backstreets of Coolangatta — and Tyler looks better than ever, and that’s taking into account the fact that she’s the incumbent women’s world champ.
Other Notable Performers
Aside from Kelly, Joel, and the Wrights, there were definitely a few other standouts shining amongst the masses: Kolohe Andino and Michel Bourez particularly. While Michel was a bit more methodical in his madness, commanding every wave he took off on with skill, power, and flair, Kolohe went with the show up and blow up approach, stomping full rotations off the get go. Definitely keep an eye on the Tahitian and San Clemente’s golden boy once competition kicks off later this week.
Compared to the memorable run of swell this weekend, the waves have been abysmal as of late. But there is definitely some energy creeping on the horizon. Even today, several big wigs were talking about how the contest could have been held in the afternoon after the wind died off. A majority of rumours are resonating on Thursday being the day for the comp to kick off, with everything wrapping up on Sunday.
On a more personal note: In a two-hour session, I caught seven waves; three of which I was dropped in on. Once by Kelly, another time by Stu Kennedy, and again by Jordy Smith’s dad. None of which made me mad. Four rideable waves in two hours has to be a record for a non-sponsored American surfing Australia’s most notoriously crowded pointbreak when the Quiksilver Pro is in full swing. It’s certainly a personal best.