No Contest: The Blue Collar Kings And Queens Of Two Legendary Surf Towns - Stab Mag
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No Contest: The Blue Collar Kings And Queens Of Two Legendary Surf Towns

Front seat viewings from Newcastle and Narrabeen.

cinema // Jul 13, 2021
Words by Chris Binns
Reading Time: 4 minutes

As we all know, 2020 was a strange year for the world, and surfing was far from unaffected.

In some parts of the planet, participation went through the roof, as lockdowns led to exercise exemptions, and surfing became the stress relief of choice.

As a result, we saw hardware stocks diminish with boards and wetsuits flying off the racks. In surf-centric postcodes, the numbers in the water had never been greater, while for far-flung corners of the planet, a year of canceled travel plans saw empty lineups like never before.

For the WSL, it meant the 2020 season was canceled entirely, and some much talked of tour reshaping finally came to pass. The first big change saw the traditional title-deciding Pipeline Masters move to the start of the schedule, so last year’s Hawaiian events, won by John John Florence and Tyler Wright, actually kicked off the 2021 roster. The 2022 season will also open in Hawaii, though Pipe will run in January so that the chronology will make a little more sense.

Four months after most CT competitors had left Hawaii, the WSL concocted an audacious plan to bring the 2021 Championship Tour back to life in Australia. Two charter flights, endless tests, and 14 days of government-enforced hotel quarantine later, the world’s best surfers were finally reunited in the hardcore surfing town of Newcastle, in New South Wales.

With Ashton Goggans left behind in Los Angeles, our friends at Stab called upon Red Bull Cape Fear competitor and 2009 junior world champion Laura Enever to host this episode of No Contest, and deciphering the logistics involved in shipping a major sporting league around the planet was her first point of business.

With the admin side of things taken care of, we met up with perennial title threat and Queenslander-turned-Newcastle resident Julian Wilson to get the lay of the land. We caught up with Novocastrian Championship Tour stars Ryan Callinan and Morgan Cibilic to find out just what makes the Steel City tick.

On the contest front, at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup, reigning world champ Italo Ferreira won, while Carissa Moore joined him in the yellow leader’s jersey after an emphatic victory in the ladies’ contest. Moore’s run to glory was capped in the quarter-finals with a 9.9 for the best aerial ever seen in women’s competition, a huge Air-Reverse that left her in tears and opponent Johanne Defay with no choice but to applaud from the lineup.

From one diehard surf town to the next. After Newcastle, the field headed two hours south to North Narrabeen, the scene of our host’s famous junior win, and who better to introduce us to this famous stretch of Sydney sand than the woman who’d just been announced as a wildcard for the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic?

We meet up with Enever’s North Narrabeen comrades in the local boardriders club, the heart, and soul of any Australian beachside community, and hear of Narrabeen’s storied surfing history. These days Enever’s focus is in the big wave realm, and we check in on a hometown screening of her recent movie Undone, which is met with an incredible reception from her peers.

While Enever didn’t get the result she hoped for at the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic, the action still came thick and fast. This time, Gabriel Medina claimed victory for Brazil on the men’s draw, while Caroline Marks hoisted the women’s trophy and put Hawaiian Carissa Moore on notice.

On leaving the East Coast, the main talking points revolved around whether or not anyone can derail Gabriel Medina or Italo Ferreira if anyone will rise to the challenge Carissa Moore is setting her fellow competitors, and if Aussie rookie Morgan Cibilic can keep up his scintillating and surprising run of form.

Press play on the video above to review the evidence for yourself, and then get set for the West Australian episode of No Contest coming soon.

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