The More Mikey Wright Content We Get the Richer Our Lives Are, Plus the CT Is Back!
COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was April 5, 2019
1. CT Surfing Is Back!
Oh yes, oh yes it is! The Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast got underway on Wednesday at Duranbah to kick off the 2019 WSL Championship Tour. They're at Duranbah because of the giant hole Cyclone Oma left behind the rock at Snapper, but it's likely they'll be moving to the "super bank" on the weekend and finish off the rest of the comp at the normal event site. Duranbah though, for what it's worth, has been wonderful viewing – and it's been a perfect platform for the WSL to show off the new format it has introduced in 2019. Now that Round 2 is a three man, two-go-through-and-one loses round, Round 3 is a full on 16-heat card of man on man action that can employ an overlapping heat format, ala the Pipe Masters. And on the wide football field-like line-up of D-Bah, the overlapping heats were rad, making for a really nice day of elite professional surf-viewing/getting absolutely zero work done on a Friday.
With three days down, the fellas are up to Round 4 and the ladies are into the Quarter-Finals.
Standout performers for the men have been reigning World Champ Gabriel Medina and near-Title favourite Italo Ferreira, rookies Mikey Wright and Seth Moniz have looked solid, while trials winner Reef Heazlewood has been on an explosive tear and is the breakout star of the comp after finishing second in the Red Bull Airborne thingo and then knocking out reigning event champ Julian Wilson the following morning. John John Florence's return to competition has been fine, without setting the world on fire. We'll get a better idea of where John John is at when he takes on Filipe Toledo in the very first heat of Round 4, likely Saturday morning.
Standout performers on the ladies' side of the event have been Malia Manuel (who Nikki Van Dijk was very unlucky to draw in Round 3, dropping a two-wave heat score that would have won every other heat in the round), Tatiana Weston Webb, Steph Gilmore of course and mini-Occy, sophmore super grom Caroline Marks.
Perhaps the most defining thing about this comp so far is in who's not there after just three days of the new season. Both reigning event champs are gone in Lakey Peterson and Julian Wilson. Kelly Slater in his big final year went out in straight sets, and if we focus sharply on on the men's side of the event, there are just four Australians left in the final 16. Of those four, only Owen Wright has won a competition before. That's kinda good news, considering it's the youth that are flying the Aussie flag with most conviction, but it certainly makes it clear we're really watching the post-Mick, post -Parko surfing world.
Just thank god we still have the one true GOAT, Steph Gilmore. Go Steph!
Here's some highlights from the first day of 2019:
2. Stab's Doco on Mikey Wright Is Really Good
One of those few Aussie men left in the comp is this guy, perhaps the most enigmatic performer we have in surfing at the moment. Now in his full and proper rookie season on the Championship Tour, Mikey Wright has turned into the guy whose heats you make sure you're watching, like John John became a couple years ago or Dane a couple years before that. Even when he loses he's worth watching, he's that rad. Good thing for us is he hasn't even looked like losing yet. This week Stab Magazine released a little doco on the guy, and it's really good. Hit play.
3. Speaking of Mikey Wright...
Mikey Wright was presented with his heat rashie jersey at the WSL Awards, and, ahh, it's a number... It's the number 69, to be exact, which is both the most Mikey Wright thing to ever happen and also, get your brain out of the gutter, a completely normal thing in tribute to his major sponsor. Quiksilver was founded in 1969 and this year are celebrating 50 years of being around in surfing. Makes complete sense then that the WSL would allow Mikey to wear that number this year. It has nothing to do with anything else. Nothing. Okay!
4. The WSL Awards, Keala's Speech
Also at the WSL Awards was the official presenting of last year's various World Champions with their World Title trophies. Amongst them was the Women's Big Wave World Champion Keala Kennelly. Kennelly then gave what has to be the speech of the night. "Dream the big dreams..."
5. Jordy Smith In Mozambique
I mean, I think it’s Mozambique, I’m not sure. But it is a sand bottom right point that is absolutely pumping. I tell ya what, when Jordy Smith is full of confidence, and conditions allow him the canvas to do his thing to his full capacity, there isn’t much better in surfing. And it’s starting to feel like those elements are aligning more and more often. Will 2019 give Jordy a year he truly contends for the World Title, ya think?
6. Tyler Warren on a 5'3" Fish
One of the world’s elite offbeat surf filmmakers Jack Coleman delivers us one of the world’s elite offbeat surfers, Tyler Warren, grooving around a California point on a little fish. Love the tube suit. Love the clip.
7. Snake Tales Manly
Jake Paterson takes his team of QS grinders to the Vissla Sydney Surf Pro for the QS6000. Hiroto Ohhara, Nat Young, Eithan Osborne, Mihimana Braye and Ethan Ewing are doing the grinding, with Hiroto finding the most success here. Once again, the true beauty out of Snake's clips, alongside the behind the scenes life of a modern pro competitor, is the ability to make 5s and 6s feel truly gripping.
8. Conner Coffin's Snapper Prep
Conner and Parker Coffin's YouTube series, Your Weekly Tube, takes in Conner's lead up to the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. I wish I was friends with Mick Fanning.
9. Jack and Alana In Newcastle
Now for Jack and Alana's soon to be world conquering YouTube series. This week, surfing's premier power couple (power family?) head down to Newcastle Surf City. The thing about these clips is that they come at you with such regularity, and such intimacy, it's like you're hanging out with your friends every week. Only they're waaaay better looking than your real friends and lead much more interesting lives. So it's better than real life, really. Much better!
10. Jamie O'Brien Hits The Wedge!
The Wedge, the "dirty ol' Wedge", gets its first swell of the season and the OG of the surf-YouTube world was there to meet it. Skimboard lord Blair Conklin goes with him, and I tell you what, out of all the content that came out on the surfing part of the internet this week, this was definitely some of it. It really, really was.
And that was this week in surfng. Have a good weekend everyone. (Go North Melbourne!)
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