Ooo how I'm liking this man's SA jive. Photo. Sloane/WSL
Triple Mike Madness At The Quik Pro
A subjective and patchy re-cap of Day 3 at the Quiksilver Pro
Yesterday we witnessed the women surf a Snapper fun park, today we witnessed the men gruel through a challenging Snapper shift – other than Joel Parkinson that is.
Last night, we were promised a developing ex-cyclone Hola swell. While this was evidently wrong at first light, by the time the sun set, the waves turned on and Mitch Parkinson gave the entire CT a free lesson on how to navigate the space behind the rock.
After a brief call back to my sheltered Sydney life I returned to the Surf Club table to witness our three laptops and bags there sans my receipt billowing wallet. As any slightly altered mind would, I freaked out, asked the bartenders, called the house, all to find out that the phoneless Rory Parker had kindly put my wallet out of sight to ensure theft would not occur. A smart decision which launched me into a momentary spiral of madness.
We sunk a couple tins, punched out the hottest goss and media meltdowns, before retreating to my basement bunk shack with Rory. I arrived prior to Rory and maturely took the bottom bunk, but little did I realise the bunk is made for children and ever little creak pops the thought of an inevitable crushing into my head.
The alarm buzzed at 5:30 am, I ran upstairs eager for the crowded yet enjoyable insiders to be lighting up along the coast's multiple points. The swell hadn't picked up. But this didn't prevent me from taking my tryhard twin and joining the fellow tryhards vying to get a glimpse of the world's best.
Today was full of surprises, some cheery and some gleary, here are some of those happenings:
Triple Mike madness
There were three Mikeys on the draw card today, one with a mullet, one a replacement and one fresh off the Quey. All of which were the underdogs heading into their respective heats.
Mullet Mike is a regular at the Quik Pro opener each year, but seeing John go down early is always a shock to the system; as was the merciless spectators who swarmed John post-loss only for him to put a Sharpie to shirt or a quick selfie. John's a professional; he's arguably the best surfer in the world and he understands what his job is as that.
Mikey Feb was up next with his initiation onto the CT stage with a hard draw against the Snapper 2016 champ and last year's runner-up, Matty Wilko. We were initially expecting M Feb up against Keanu but the WSL decided a reseeding was in order, altering the previously reported Round 2 heat draw.
Historically, the past few events at Snapper have seen high scores awarded to Matt's (or anyone's) windshield wiping backhand attack. But this morning saw Mr February shimmy and slide his way into the lead.
Like Mikey Wright's win, we watched this one from the sand, however, in hindsight, Rory and I decided sand viewing made the waves appear small and mushy – or perhaps that was sunstroke setting in. Either way, we witnessed the Brazillian rookie pull into a tube, hammer a few lips and cement himself a comfortable win over SeaBass.
Watching yourself surf sucks
I'm not one to overstate my surfing ability, I 'dragged' for one or two years too long and only adopted the upright stance a little over three years ago. And, throughout those three years, I've never once witnessed footage of myself surfing until today.
And, it sucks.
I have some sort of heinous hand jive going the whole time. It's not an intentional style but I never imagined holding your hands in front could look as anti-aesthetic as the viewing on my phone right now.
A return to the boog is a real possibility after this.
Long period swells often disappoint
The larger the period, the more powerful and rarer the waves.
There were plenty of rideable waves left unridden today, but the high-scoring sets were few and far. Most heats were less than action packed – barring Parko's onslaught – and SeaBass and M Rod (a terrible nickname gifted by the commentators) even incurred a heat restart. Slow heats are fine for the heat analyser or inside the safety of air conditioning, but spending time on the rocks is a real testament to one's patience when a long period lull occurs.
The judging is harsher
It's not as if I've completed a statistical comparison between the average scores of years past or more than momentarily considered this conjecture, but I'm going to run with my gut; the judging is tougher now that Pritamo is in and Porta is out.
I'm the guy who complains about 10-point rides incessantly. So the mediocrity of scores rolling through was a pleasant surprise. Which is great, because theoretically, the harsher the judging the more the surfers are motivated to push progression and risk in order to reach those so-called 'excellent rides'.
The lower the scores the better.
Parko knows Snapper best
Parko ended up with a heat total of 17.03 against poor Patty G – the highest of the day. Parko nabbed two 8's and a 7 while 20 minutes remained on the clock. The 8's both had solid barrels off the take off, but his inconsequential 7 had the whole Stab contingent blown away with his finishing turn.
Joel knows Snapper and a combination of barrels, linked carves and the occasional splash of flare aren't all too surprising from Parko. But his turn on the 7 is the most impressive manoeuvre I can recall of Joel in recent times and had some of us (probably just me) comparing it to a Dane special.
If he surfs like that tomorrow Joel won't be going down anytime soon, however, he is up against the young and on fire Griffin Colapinto.
Commentating would be tough.
Walking to the Kirra lookout is a drag.
Surfing Snapper is akin to bashing your skull in with a hydrofoil.
It also appears that electric skateboards are in vogue with the commentary panel as Strider scooted past on his electric today. But, not quite as erratically as Pete Mel yesterday.
All in all
I'm burnt, my laptop keys are filled with sand because apparently writing cross-legged on the sand is bad for a Macbook. And I'm currently researching the legalities of workplace bullying after Rory and Morgan subjected me to another day of 'grom abuse'.
A few beers will be sipped sweetly tonight in the hope of an improving swell overnight.