Is Morgan Cibilic Aussie Surfing’s Saviour? - Stab Mag

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Is Morgan Cibilic Aussie Surfing’s Saviour?

We have reason to believe he’s actually divine.

news // May 21, 2021
Words by Tim Hawken
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Morgan Cibilic could be the new messiah of Australian surfing. Forget about Avoca Jesus, it’s all about the sweet baby-faced crusader with his divine white teeth and hammer-of-the-gods backhand. I have to admit, I was a doubter at first. It felt like the tour rookie was surfing beyond himself in front of a home crowd at Newcastle to topple John John. But then he took down the king again at Narrabeen. Now, Morgan has made the quarter finals at Rottnest Island. During a very short day of competition, Cibilic executed a masterly performance in slow conditions to easily beat Leo Fiorivanti. 

But, there’s more…

Morgan seems to have split the Red Sea of competitors above him on the rankings. Seven out of the eight surfers between him (at #11) and Italo (at #2) have miraculously fallen from the draw. That could leave a clear pathway for Morgan to jump all the way into the top 5 by the end of the event, if not higher. Further adding to speculation that Morgan’s powers are saving Aussie surfing, is that on a day where just three heats ran, Australians won every match. Julian Wilson bested world #3 Jordy Smith in a tight affair to make his first quarterfinal all year. Wildcard Liam O’Brien beat Seth Moniz to make his first quarter final ever. Coincidence? Probably.  

Julian back in the quarters, all is right in the world. Photo: WSL/Dunbar

Is it also coincidence then, that when the contest was put on hold to see if conditions improved, a three-meter tiger shark was spotted? The sighting cleared the water and cancelled the remainder of competition in a dropping swell that would have definitely favoured Gabby over Owen Wright, Conner Coffin over Mikey Wright, and Yago Dora over Conner O’Leary. With a bigger swell coming, it was a sigh of relief for the rest of the Aussies in the draw that proceedings were postponed. Now, I’m not saying that Morgan is God and that he has control over the animal kingdom. That would be offensive and borderline insane. He’s King Neptune reborn — only able to control marine creatures (and maybe that seagull that keeps flying into frame when the WSL replays an air). A win at this event would prove Morgan’s divinity beyond all doubt. We’ll just have to wait and see if this is prophecy or comedy.

In other news that might make me sound less crazy, it’s feeling like the whole tour is very ready to call the Australian leg a wrap. It has been a long haul for everyone. Even the hooter packed it in this morning, leaving the sole beach commentator Chris Binns to woooo into the mic boardriders style for heats to start and end. Throw in some restarts and things were getting pretty ragged. These guys and girls have been here for two months now, bundled together in their bubble and working hard to stay focussed and on point. It’s the real warriors who have been able to keep a level head all the way through. The wild thing is, half the tour has to head straight to El Salvador after this for the ISA Titles. In an Olympic year, their participation is ultra important, nay, compulsory. After that, there’s basically no gap until the Surf Ranch Pro starts at Kelly’s wavepool. The life of a pro surfer can be glamorous at times, but it can also be a grind. I’m glad they’re sticking it out with smiles so laptop jockeys like me can be entertained.

Fin drifts like this don’t win heats like they used to. Just ask Leo Fioravanti. Photo: WSL/Dunbar

Hopefully, the finale of the Australian Leg will be incredibly entertaining indeed. Swell will arrive tomorrow, along with a storm, for a possible run day. More likely though, things will finish Tuesday. 

Stay tuned for Morgan Cibilic’s possible ascension to surfing immortality

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Men’s Round of 16 (H1-3) Results: 
HEAT 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.00 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.20
HEAT 2: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 12.50 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.77
HEAT 3: Liam O’Brien (AUS) 10.83 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.10

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Remaining Men’s Round of 16 (H4-8) Matchups: 
HEAT 4: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
HEAT 6: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
HEAT 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
HEAT 8: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)

Rip Curl Rottnest Search Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
HEAT 2: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)
HEAT 4: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)

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