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Close READER POLL 2017
We promise this won't (really) hurt.

Wanna win a new surfboard? We have a custom Chilli ‘Black Vulture’ to gift (plus all the trim you’d expect from a premium dealer). To be in the running, just answer a few questions for us. It won’t take long.

D-Bah Is Expensive, Jet-Ski Drivers Are Scoring, And Round One Kicks Off With A Drug Test

Snapper, umm, I mean, Duranbah has been cooking over the last couple days. 

It's drastically improved from its blustery, burgery opening, filled with small wave antics. It might not be overhead Snapper with a view over the lineup from Rainbow Bay Surf Club, but as far as the webcast and surfing's concerned, D-bah was a great choice, with Snapper looking very likely for tomorrow. 

What you see on the webcast or over the beach announcement is only dipping your toes in the shallows though. You have to spend 8-hour stints on the sand like our boy Mike Ciaramella, or pester the competitors area and keep your ears peeled for the more succulent details. 

Here's what's happening behind the screens at the border between Queensland and New South Wales:

Running at D-bah is damn expensive

The move to D-Bah over the past few days seemed obvious. Three-ish feet peaks with ramps and walls aplenty, compared to a sandless and waveless hole at Snapper. The waves at D-Bah are worlds apart from the point set-up and Snapper, and despite only being a few hundred metres around the corner, the two spots are in two seperate states.

You see, Duranbah is the northern-most part of New South Wales; Snapper is the first wave in Queensland. This arbitrary border defined by 'boundary street' might seem inconsequential, but try telling that to the Qld government who sponsors the event. 

Goodbye, for now, D-Bah. Reef sampling the southerly assisted fruits. Photo: WSL

Since D-bah is in New South Wales, it requires a new and costly permit for each event day run there. Over the last three days we've been told the cost is $20, $50, even $100k a day. But according to our most trusted moles, an event at D-Bah runs around $30k per day, as well as a potential fine implemented by Qld tourism who are sponsoring the event.

Even at the lowest estimate, that's four days running over $100k, excluding the costs associated with moving the event over to D-bah and potential fines.  

The move back to Snapper seems right: the bank is back and there's a longer period swell on the way. But it's also a decision backed by financial benefit, as the outgoings are reduced and the masses of fans arriving for finals (right near the merch stands) isn't a downside either.

Financial speculation aside, the sand dredge is pumping, the swell is picking up and Snapper will be more than contestable.  

Drones are a no go at Cooly

For three years there's been a fight for drone permission at the Quiksilver and Boost Mobile (FKA Roxy) Pro. Only recently has this permission been granted – and only for WSL approved filmers. 

ILLEGAL!

A crew yesterday was told off for flying their own drone in the D-Bah region, and were also told of the ongoing debacles. Yeah, there's been footage from the Superbank before (some from our About Town series comes to mind, but there's potential fines in place for anyone doing so within 5km of the airport – and Cooly is only 3.5km away.

We wouldn't be too scared though, Ashton's phone somehow ended up at South Point Police Station today and asked the police about drones as an aside. Looks like they've got bigger issues on their plate. 

The ski drivers have been scoring

Water safety at Snapper is fucked. There's a constant stream of semi-rippers and strugglers pushing against the ski searching for another few metres. The skis, of course, have to fend them off, and as you can imagine, are always berated by some bloke who thinks he's entitled to more than the CT blow-in's table scraps (just wait for No Contest for more detail).  

Duranbah, however has been a different story. There's only been a couple of frothers at lovers to keep clear, meaning only one ski has been required, as opposed to a large proportion of the team required at Snapper.

At D-Bah, the ski drivers have only been running one-hour shifts, spending their remaining time under the tent, and even sneaking off for the odd-tube at Fingal in between stints.

It's a far cry from the sundried 8-hour shifts endured at Snapper last year. 

Round 1 kicked off at D-Bah... and a drug test

It's well known that there's random drug testing in the WSL – excluding the Airborne events. And it just so happened that the first year's random pee sample landed smack bang after round 1.

We're unsure if anyone has been given a strike for this first round of testing, but we're sure the athletes simply spent their summers training and surfing, nothing more.

The only issue we're sure of is that a couple of surfers had to suck back a few beers in rapid succession to get the waters flowing. Even pro surfers piss in the ocean mid heat. 

Speaking of piss, Jordy Smith is off it

Someone's stuck to their new year's resolution this year. Most of us fail around a week in, or New Years Day if you're like me. Jordy Smith however is not one of these individuals. Jordy swore to not sip the sauce this year, and so far is sticking to it.

Alcohol free and flying! Photo: WSL

Who knows, maybe it'll be the kick Jordy needs to win that elusive maiden title. 

A superficial augmentation

We're not naming any names here, but someone among the women's top-16 has recently had an aesthetic adjustment. We'll just leave it at that. 

Anyway, it ain't over yet, stick around for tomorrow, we might have some more. 

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