Stab Magazine | 7 Things I learned at my first World Tour Event: Mitch Crews

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7 Things I learned at my first World Tour Event: Mitch Crews

Mitch Crews is amazingly #normcore. There’s no prima donna vibes or egocentricity, just down to earth friendliness. The Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast was Mitch’s first event as a world tour surfer, having burnt through the wallet-dissolving creator of premature male balding that is the WQS, and come out with star student stickers on his lapel. […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Mitch Crews is amazingly #normcore. There’s no prima donna vibes or egocentricity, just down to earth friendliness. The Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast was Mitch’s first event as a world tour surfer, having burnt through the wallet-dissolving creator of premature male balding that is the WQS, and come out with star student stickers on his lapel. Speaking with Mitch before this event was an interesting study: He bounced between the fuck-everybody-else confidence that’s crucial for the cut throat QS, an uncertainty of his validity as a world tour surfer, and a fear of being sent home immediately by a big name.

After being run over by the steamtrain that was Josh Kerr in round one, Crewsy faced Filipe Toledo in round two. Filipe crumbled while Mitch surfed a smart heat and lay blistering facewerk. Next was Julian Wilson (who dropped in on Mitch twice during the expression session the day before), and Mitch’s cooler head prevailed again. His combined 15.16 found him in round four. After falling just short of Taj Burrow and Freddy Patacchia in the no-losers, Mick Fanning proved too much in round five. “I didn’t expect to get that far,” laughs Mitch. “I honestly thought, first event, I’ll probably lose in round three.” He didn’t tho, and now he wraps the acceptance of the world tour’s judging panel around him like a warm blanket. Here’s what else he learnt at stop number one…


This is a slice midway through Mitch’s first world tour heat win, over Filipe Toledo, and a good reason why it went his way. ASP/Kirstin

1. The first heat win is the best: Filipe was the better win, only because it was my first win on tour. The vibe was really sick. It was in the afternoon, they’d just called our heat as last heat of the day, and I was super nervous, and kinda pissed they were running. Then I got this really cool feeling like, fuck, I did it. Here am I running out to Snapper in the contest. Then I beat him and came in and couldn’t believe it. That one felt badass.

2. Getting outta people’s faces: There’s a select few guys who don’t like having their little world invaded. They’re in their own little world and don’t wanna socialise with other surfers. I felt weird ’cause I was just mincing around in there, hanging out and talking shit with everyone. So it was weird to walk into some groups of people and get that vibe like, oh, I better leave because they’re in the zone. I’m not at some level where I’m trying to play mind games or anything, I just like to chat.

3. Jersey celeb: Every time you have a rashie on, people swamp you. And then you’ll walk out of the competitor’s area with your t-shirt and cap on… I was skating down the street past the same people that’d been swarming, and they just didn’t have a clue. It’s not like I want the attention, it’s just funny that in that moment walking down for your heat you feel like you’re Michael Jackson, then you take the rashie off and all of a sudden you’re a regular guy again.


Put on the jersey and everybody wants piece. Lines like this don’t hurt, either. ASP/Kirstin

4. Entourages: With all the coaches and guys that work for surf brands and all that shit, it’s crazy how much support the surfers get. Every guy has got one or two people from their sponsor running around doing shit for them, like getting them a drink of water or something. I find that so crazy. I can get a cup of water myself. You don’t see that on the QS. You’re battling on your own on the QS, making your own decisions. You’re ping-ponging around the globe, one minute you’re in El Salvador and the next you’re in China. Having someone buzzing around you on the QS is not financially smart. But I mean, it was cool to have people there at Snapper, I had (Hurley gents) Brandon and Rossy, but they’re just more my homies. We’d just talk shit all day. I was going and buying coffees for them. I was just cruising, I just like their company. I don’t need them waxing my board.

5. Fanlyfe: I was so blown away and freaked out by how many people were around. Even freesurfing, there was so many people on the beach watching the pros. They’re there to meet all the pros. It was crazy. As soon as I’d grab my board and trunks, I’d feel weird running out of the tent. People I don’t know going “yeah Crewsy!” It’s crazy to think all these people have just come to watch us surf. It was overwhelming. I couldn’t imagine what it’d be like for Kelly, he steps out of the water and it’s just on. It gave me a new appreciation for how professional those guys are. For Mick and Kelly and Steph and Alana, it’s not the same for them just to walk up the beach. Yesterday when I surfed against Mick, I was running to jump off the rock and there was no one around me. I looked back at Mick and he was trying to get in the zone. He has this little moment where he sits on the sand and focusses. And there was literally 30 cameras and 30 people crowded around him. I was standing on the rock and there was a stampede of people following Mick as he came to jump off. I just thought, “Wow, that must be so hard to block out.” There’s no escaping it.


Style reminiscent of the vets that patted him on the back. ASP/Kirstin

6. Veterans are the most kind: Taj was really kind to me. He was first heat a coupla times and I was down there pretty early every morning drinking coffee or surfing. He was always keen to chew the fat. Kerrzy was the man, too. Super nice. Parko and Mick, they’re my mates and they were their usual awesome selves, they had my back and said they were proud of me. Kelly was a legend, too. He was down there hanging out, talking shit about heats. He was really cool. Maybe it was a little mind game? (Laughs).

7. Being scored by a world tour judge: I was blown away by how my surfing was judged. To surf a wave in a world tour heat and hear an eight-point-something get called out was like, “Wow, I can actually get eights on tour!” I was pleasantly surprised with the way the judges scored my surfing, and didn’t score me like I was a little kid or something. I was actually in the mix. Sometimes I’d get a wave and think, “I’m on the world tour, that could be a three.” And then they’d call out a 5.5 or something. Andy King said to me, “Mate, you belong here.” I’d had a lot of doubt beforehand, but to hear that was really cool. To have that validation that I can get excellent rides in a world tour heat… If I surf my best, I’ll get scores. It’s good to know. – Elliot Struck


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