Stab Magazine | This Is What The World Tour Felt Like On The Ground As The Coronavirus Shut The Gold Coast Down

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This Is What The World Tour Felt Like On The Ground As The Coronavirus Shut The Gold Coast Down

Mick on a fresh knee; Kerrzy plays local host as the points and beachbreaks go off!

cinema // Apr 30, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The irony here is not lost on us: welcome to the first episode of this year’s season of No Contest, more aptly titled than ever. 

As the reality of the Coronavirus pandemic’s severity began to sink in, but before sporting leagues began to shutter and stay at home orders were put in place, there was a period of confusion around just what exactly is happening? For surfers on the Gold Coast for the first event of the 2020 World Championship Tour, the Corona Open Gold Coast, there was nothing to do but surf your brains out and wait and see what happened.

It seemed only right to focus our energy capturing the radical action in the water at Snapper, as well as the reactions of the world’s best as they began to process not only the event and possible tour’s cancellation, but the largest pandemic in modern history. Which is to say, consider that these quotes in the context under which they were offered, and well before most could wrap their heads around the the sobering economic and human toll the pandemic would have. 



Jackson Coffey setting his hooks into a chunk of a Gold Coast double-up. .


Trent Mitchell


Mick Fanning back on rail nine months after buckling his knee filming Stab In The Dark All-Stars.


Trent Mitchell

However, for the better part of two weeks the gents harvested footage, at the points in town, with Kerrzy at his brutal near-novelty slabs, and at one of the area’s most iconic beachbreaks on, as Mick Fanning called it, The Day of Days

They went fishing with Wade Carmichael. spent some time with Kerrzy, his daughter and 2019 Ladybirds Queen Sierra Kerr, visiting some of the local business owners to get a sense for how hard they were feeling the pinch. 

So, as the world’s stuck in place right now, we can daydream of a flight into Brisbane or the Gold Coast, and that feeling of coming around the corner and seeing the points lit up. Here’s what you should be thinking about heading to the Gold Coast after this whole mess is finally, thankfully over: 

Snapper Rocks is one of surfing’s most intense competitive pressure cookers. A wave that’s launched a thousand careers. A city and surf culture that’s molded countless world class surfers, and can lay claim to more than a handful of World Champions. 

Snapper, Kirra and the points to the north have hosted the opening event of the World Championship Tour since 2002, when Coolie kid Joel Parkinson took out the win on his home turf at 20 years old. 




Jack Freestone enjoying some standing-room pits near his first home.


Trent Mitchell

Under normal circumstances, it’s 14 hour flight from the Stab offices in Los angeles, to Brisbane, then a short flight or drive to The Gold Coast and Snapper. From Stab’s Australian headquarters in Byron Bay, it’s a quick, richly scenic hour’s drive up the coast to Coolangatta, along one of the most diverse, wave-riddled, crowd-heavy coastlines in the world, home to a few rare slabs, miles and miles of world class beachbreaaks, and some of the most iconic sand points in the world.

A rental car will run you $75-$100/a day, and we’ll recommend something that’ll haul a few boards and bodies and handle some dirt. For everyday getting around the main strip from D-Bah to Kirra, a rental bike is super convenient. 

Accommodation on the Gold Coast ranges from $70-$150/night, though most surfers go in on holiday rentals that’ll run a few grand a week. 

You’ll want to pack a proper quiver, tuned up short boards, a good wave board that’ll put up a fight against the sand point’s horrendous currents if a cyclone swell hits this time of year, and maybe a fish or log for the novelty days, which are ample. 

January through June is high season. To use the colloquial Gold Coast phrase, the points quote unquote “light up”on East and Southeast groundswells from big Southern Hemisphere storms and cyclones. [Montage: “when the points light up, the points light up, etc.]

With water temps anywhere in the low-70s and air somewhere around the same, as far as wetties and jumpers are concerned, throw in a vest, a few trusty pairs of trunks, and a light jacket that’ll keep you warm but still get you through the door at one of the nicer rooftop bars. 

We hope you enjoy this first episode of No Contest 2020. Like everyone else, the series is on hold until the tour returns, but we hope this helps keep the fire lit until then. 




Occy’s radical spawn, Jay Occhilupo sending one over the ledge.


Trent Mitchell.


Fired up for his three-event surf-off with Leo Fioravanti, Mikey Wright was on every session at every spot during the cyclone swells.


Trent Mitchell.


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