Stab Magazine | Introducing Your WSL Airborne Gold Coast Trials Winner

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Introducing Your WSL Airborne Gold Coast Trials Winner

Anybody ever heard of Aaron Kelly?

news // Mar 18, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

As Northern Hemi ice begins to melt and Queensland’s water dips below 30 C, it’s clear that our yearly hibernation is nearing its conclusion. 

After a longer-than-usual break from the WSL (3 months!), the Quik Pro is just two weeks away and we are genuinely buzzing. Because despite what some “purists” may believe, surf media/news/whatever we do is rather dull without the specter of competition.

We want Slater and John and Medina in skin-tight lycras and we want it now!

But on top of the same-old same-old, this year Snapper will play host to the WSL’s new “progressive” initiative – no, not the equal pay thing – Red Bull Airborne!

For the uninitiated, Airborne is an 18-surfer event, including CTers and “freesurfers” alike, where competitors will attempt to land their best airs for a notable cash prize. The events – of which there will be three in 2019 (Snapper, Keramas, France) – are run by ex-Air Tour World Champion and CT veteran Josh Kerr. You couldn’t ask for a more qualified leader. 

Some of the Airborne competitors have already been decided, including the six finalists from the inaugural Airborne event in France last October (Jack Freestone, Griffin Colapinto, Eithan Osbourne, Matt Meola, Kalani David, and champion Yago Dora), but we aren’t entirely sure who will fill out the other 12 slots. 

That was until just yesterday, when two more qualifiers were decided at the local trials event. 

Finalists BenStagg

Australia’s chock-full of punters. Just ask their disgruntled missuses.

“Yeah it went super sick!” contest director Josh Kerr told Stab. “Fun little wedges at Dbah – kinda soft but a couple. Aaron Kelly won, he killed it! Thomas Woods got second and edged out Coby Perkovich. So Aaron and Tom are into the main event.”

Uhhhh… Aaron Kelly?

“He is from Sunny Coast,” Josh explained. “I had never heard of him either. He must have landed eight or nine airs in the final though, and all of them different. Not super tech, but still sick.”

AaronKelly5 BenStagg

Introducing AK!

Still a bit perplexed, we decided to hit up Aaron Kelly ourselves, just to… I don’t know, see who he is!

Stab: Mate congrats on your win! How’s it feel to be mixing it up with the big dogs in a couple weeks?
Aaron Kelly: Thanks so much! Yeah it feels so epic, words can’t describe it.

No disrespect, but I don’t think many of our readers will know the name Aaron Kelly. Have you just been hiding away on the sunny coast practicing your punts?
[Laughs] Yeah I’ve been hiding on the Sunny Coast at Sunshine Beach. That’s my hometown and where I surf most. 

I get a lot of people who tell me to follow the QS, but as you know it’s very hard when you don’t have financial support. I’ve been waiting for something like this to show everyone how I surf and it’s worked out perfectly.

Fuck yeah! Who are some of the boys you grew up surfing with on the Sunny Coast? And who inspires you? You more into someone like Haz or Ethan Ewing?
I grew up with Hazza and the Cervi boys, but also my best mate Quinn Bruce who has been following the QS and surfing incredible. He’s the one that influenced me the most – he’d always push me and encourage me and he’s one of the reasons I started surfing. All I used to do was skate as a kid, and Quinn would convince me to come surfing with him and I loved it ever since. 

But to answer your question, I like them both. Ethan’s got the best style in surfing at the moment, and Hazza’s punts are crazy. But what Harry’s doing with his career is probably more the path I’d like to take. 

And what’s your plan at the main event?
I’m going to just embrace it all and show the world what I can do!


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