Stab Magazine | The Women Dismantled Snapper Today

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The Women Dismantled Snapper Today

The sweep is gone, the sand arrived, but beers at Rainbow Bay Surf Club are still better than the event. 

news // Mar 12, 2018
Words by Jake Embrey
Reading Time: 6 minutes

The crowds were bad yesterday morning, but today’s short lived pre-comp session blew me out of the water. This place is fucked.

Yes, Bondi is crowded, but the majority of people out there fist bump their buds after a foam climb. Snapper however, particularly at this time of year is incomparable; the recognisable sticker donned jersey wearers are tearing, but even those on blanks who I couldn’t tell from a bar of soap will put the back out of any ripple that wobbles along the bank.

Surfing here is fucked when you suck.

Thankfully, I’m not here to surf. I’m here to watch surfing. 

And there ain’t many better spots to watch a surfing competition than inhaling a burger and beer with a bird’s-eye view of the point. It still feels somewhat surreal that this could somehow be categorised as work. Particularly when the waves were as rippable and bowly as they were today for the girls. 

The Roxy Pro ran all day, conditions drastically improved on the run-out tide and wearing chinos to be trendy quickly became a highly regrettable decision as the clouds burnt off and boiled me alive. 

Despite sticking a few smooth snaps Sage found herself bowing out early. Photo. Sloane/WSL

I’m still semi-pissed the event started early, booting me from the water just past 7am, but it’s not as if I caught anything that I wasn’t smoked on. The waves were still burgery and boring when Tatiana and Malia hopped in the keyhole, but the minute the moon’s tidal pull kicked into gear plenty a bowls were torn. 

I’ve never been one to remain glued to the cast once the men switched out, but that’s a whole different story when you’re watching close by. Snapper is a difficult spot to watch someone’s entire wave from, partially due to my short attention span and the remainder due to wave blocking skulls and scaffolding. Watching the girls take to small Snapper from a few 100 metres away gave me a new appreciation for the sport – yes I just called surfing a sport. 

Viewing on a screen brings the added comfort of not needing to move your eyes or neck, but it comes with the downside of not observing the strength of someone’s surfing. You know that shredhead at your local who you swear could make it on the QS if they tried, then you see a clip of them, well the same applies here. I’ve now realised that every girl I watched today on tour surfs better than any man I personally know. 

An Occy like stance and heaving backhand from Caroline. Photo. Sloane/WSL

Caroline Marks rips

She just turned 16 years old and has been heavily covered on both feminist and surf media is the youngest woman to make the CT full time; after witnessing today there isn’t a part of me which doubts whether she deserves it. She’s short, somewhat stocky, but has a backhand hammer dialled tighter than ciggie after six beers. 

Caroline took down an in form Sage early this morning, then backed it up by winning the now elimination Round 3. Rookies usually struggle on tour, especially those who enter in their teens, but if this event was anything to go by this backhand gal has a big future ahead. 

Picture this, except everyone is in the water.

Rainbow is fucked

Even if you’d never been to Snapper you’re probably aware that the point continues for quite some time, hence the term ‘Superbank’. You may have also noticed the jet-ski barrage between Snapper and further down the point at Rainbow. Surfers on inside rides often cross over through the spread of super-grommets, long boards and finless fruities on the webcast – this is where we decided to surf today. 

If you ever thought surfing here since you can hear and see the comp was a good idea, you’re beyond wrong. It’s horrific. Not only did Morgan catch better waves than me and Rory dropped in on me bodysurfing, but I was called off by egotistical super grommets who unfortunately pump around you even when you burn them.

Don’t ever make the mistake we did. If you want to surf, go somewhere else. 

This is the sort of facial excitement I want in my heats. Photo. Sloane/WSL

The new elimination 3-competitor heat is good

Not only does removing a round significantly shorten the competition length of each event – meaning the finals might run in decent waves for once. It adds some excitement to the usually dry and gruelling non-elimination rounds. 

I understand a non-elim heat may result in surfers going for broke, but more often than not it results in a few boring hours of competitive surfing with no losers. If I wanted to watch good surfing I’d watch a surf clip. I’m here to see people lose, tempers flare and occasionally the ecstasy of a last second heat saver.

Time wise the change made such an enormous difference, they likely could’ve finished the girls today. There’s two hours of sun left and the bank is still churning out bowls – or perhaps that’s merely the multiple Balters making their way to my brain and impacting my judgement.  

Even a combination of blown out fins couldn’t scrape Tyler through. Photo. Sloane/WSL

Steph and Tyler are out.

My two favourite Aussie girls are out of the comp. This isn’t only upsetting, it’s a shock to me and anyone else who watches surfing year in, year out. Steph is the defending Snapper champ and Tyler looked unstoppable in the gold jersey up until the quarters. 

Steph was unlucky to fall on a decent set wave in the final minutes needing a small score, but Tyler was simply outsurfed and out strategised as Lakey nailed herself a solid pair of 7’s. 

This leaves Malia Manuel, Sally Fitzgibbons, Keely Andrew and Lakey Peterson left, one of which will be crowned the Roxy Pro champ over the next couple of days. 

The Rainbow Bay Surf Club rules

And it’s currently not even crowded as I write this wrap half cut upon the balcony. 

There’s aircon inside if need be, arguably the best view of Snapper other than the judges’ deck and there’s beer on tap. There isn’t another tour stop on Earth that allows for anything like this. 

On the way up here we even spotted a Waldo looking Peter Mel nearly stuff himself while weaving through the Monday-afternoon crowd. I like Pete, but a small part of me wishes he fell so this write up was slightly more entertaining. 

Boundary street timezones

Snapper is less than 500 metres north of it’s wedgey counterpart Duranbah, but they’re in different states. A state divide is usually arbitrary and meaningless, but in the case of daylight savings it’s awfully confusing, especially when your iPhone automatically chops and changes it’s self-decided location and then wakes you up an hour early.

Don’t worry, there’s a beer in my other hand. Photo. My Phone

Current views

Snapper is currently cooking, but I’m yet to raise my head and witness a wave with less than two people on it, so I’ll leave it to the post-work stokers. In terms of competition tomorrow this means that it’ll still be good, if not better in the morning. 

The ENE swell from ex-cyclone Hola will increase overnight and the period of the swell will also increase, this isn’t exactly the ideal direction for Snapper but the event is technically mobile and may be transferred to Kirra depending upon the sunrise check.

Jordy Smith told us that a Kirra switch up was the most likely outcome and we’re hoping he’s right. It looked fun there on our midday stroll. 

There’s no definitive answer on whether the girls or guys will run in the morning, but if the forecasts are correct it looks like they’ll all go down in better than average waves. 

In the mean time, I’m sitting at the Surf Club and my wallet is beginning to whimper despite the more than reasonably priced beverages; so if you’re feeling generous come and shout me a beer. Not only will I be grateful, you’ll also have the pleasure of realising how wimpy I am when I’m not behind a keyboard. 

Tomorrow we’ll find out whether drinking a copious amount of Balter XPA’s results in you surfing like Kerrzy and Mick. Or whether it has the same impact of a normal beer on your morning surf – nausea, bog turns and an excruciating headache.  

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.06 def. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 8.10
Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 12.33 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 11.16
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 15.17 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.40
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) 14.17 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.80
Heat 5: Keely Andrew (AUS) 15.33 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 9.50
Heat 6: Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.76 def. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 11.27

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.26, Carissa Moore (HAW) 14.76, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 8.64
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.96, Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.04, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.86
Heat 3: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.17, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.40, Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.76
Heat 4: Keely Andrew (AUS) 14.97, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.16, Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.53

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results: 
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.23 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.67
Heat 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 15.83 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.60
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.57 def. Caroline Marks (USA) 13.77
Heat 4: Keely Andrew (AUS) 11.87 def. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.83

Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Matchups: 
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)


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