Mick's Final Heat, Steph and Italo Go World No.1, & The Andy Irons Doco Will Make You Cry

6 Apr 2018 0 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Photo: WSL/Cestari

Photo: WSL/Cestari

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was April 6, 2018

1. Mick Surfed His Final Heat At What Was An Unbelievable Bells Easter

Like many around the greater Torquay Jan Juc area today, I'm feeling a little dusty. Actually, not a little dusty, a lot dusty. A sitting-at-my-computer-with-a-wet-towel-over-my-head-and-hope-I-don't-throw-up kind of dusty. And, again like many a surf fan on the Surf Coast Shire, I'm feeling emotionally and physically exhausted. I'm not sure what we'd all expected, but yesterday at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach exceeded that with with one of the most intense and special atmospheres in surfing history.

As you well know by now, Mick Fanning surfed his final event as a full time competitive surfer. Ending at Bells, where he'd arrived back in 2001 as 19 year old wildcard.

Every time Mick entered the water, a nervious, anxious energy filled the air above the Bells line-up and through the crowd on the beach and up on to the carpark. Every heat could have been his last. Every heat closer to the end, closer to some kind of sense of legend or immortality.

When he beat Patrick Gudauskas in the semi-finals, that feeling thickened. Did we all dare believe? We did!

And two heats later, when I heard a huge cheer come from the carpark, and ran to see what was beaming on the big screen – Mick Fanning running down those Bells stairs, in the final no less, one last time – I had to suppress the lump that grew in my throat. 

Ronnie Blakey later said, jokingly, that perhaps every single event needs a staircase.

During the final I saw the teary eyes of Mick's mum Liz, his shaper Darren Handley, I got a text from Surfing World editor Vaughan Blakey saying that he was crying too. More interestingly was the text I got from my big brother, who'd stopped working on a building site in Melbourne to watch the heat on his phone. He's never met Mick, but he was crying too. This is how much Mick means to the regular old Australian surfing fan. This is how big this moment felt. 

Italo won, though. A couple of small sets as the clock ticked down to the final seconds of Mick's career had everyone willing the waves to be worthy of the high 7 score Mick needed to end this perfectly.

But Sean Doherty said it best, chasing a wave in the final moments would have been an undignified way to go out. And while the carpark, the Australian surfing public, all wanted that perfect fairy-tale ending, no-one could deny just how brilliantly Italo surfed. And when Mick Fanning went over to him, and embraced him, it felt okay. And when Mick Fanning said on the presentation stage just how stoked he was to see how much winning a first event was to Italo, how winning Bells was a dream come true, we celebrated. It didn't matter that we didn't get the fairy-tale. Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt. Today, absolutely evertything hurts, but it feels right.

2.  Steph won too, by the way

It's her fourth Bells win, and now she's World No.1. If she wins the World Title this year, she'll equal Layne Beachley's record of seven World Titles. Here's more highlights from the day.

3. The Andy Irons Movie Looks Amazing

We finally have a release date for the Andy Irons documentary. Kissed By God will premiere in LA on May 2 this year. Maybe have a box of tissues ready for when you watch this trailer.

4. Red Bull Released This Ridiculous Cyclone Marcus Footage

Hey, remember Cyclone Marcus, that incredible swell that turned long parts of West Australian coast into a big, heavy point break? Well Red Bull dropped their primo edit from the day and it is bonkers.

5. And Now, Back To More Bells Stuff

You should probably see this wave Filipe got at Winkipop on a day the comp was called off. The guy is outrageous.

6. Zeke Lau Is A Boss

The other big story from Bells this week was the way Zeke Lau took on back to back World Champion John John Florence. Their paddling incident went viral and has sparked spotfires of debate across the Internet over whether it was within the spirit of surfing or not. John John said it was lame, Zeke Lau responded with this edit on Instagram:

A post shared by Ezekiel Lau (@zekelau) on

7. Owen Slept In His Car The Night Before The Final

I've heard stories of AFL players that sleep in seperate bedrooms on the weeks of major finals games, ensuring they get no interruptions and a perfect eight hours of sleep. The surfing version of that looks like this, Owen Wright set free to get sweet shut-eye in the back of his car while his partner looks after their baby inside. So classic.

8. Some Billabong Surf Porn

Now, away from the big stories of elite, competitive WSL world, Billabong dropped this clip of pure surf porn featuring Shaun Manners, Otis Carey, Creed McTaggart, Kai Hing, Jack Freestone, Griffin Colapinto and Dakoda Walters.


9. Patagonia's New Movie Is Coming Out This Week

Patagonia's new movie, Never Town, premiered in Torquay this week. Part conservation film, part surf film, it stars Wayne Lynch, Dave Rastovich, Dan Ross, Belinda Baggs and Heath Joske and takes in the very special landscape of the Australian Southern Ocean coasts. It looks amazing, plus the soundtrack includes Bad Dreems, Midnight Oil, Yirrnga Yunupingu and Ziggy Alberts. Epic.

We can see it online this coming Wednesday.

10. Kehu Butler Is Worth Keeping An Eye On

Straight out of Aotearoa comes this here young Kehu Butler, a just turned 18-year-old powehouse that's worth getting excited about.

This Week's Classic Surf Music Memory

This Week In Surfing's Classic Surf Music Memory is brought to you by Summer Bright Lager

Did you know that Kelly Slater once appeared in a video for Scottish American alt-rock-pop band Garbage? You do now. Hit play and basque in the glory of Kelly Slater lying still and being serenaded.

Check out Summer Bright's Lager's Summer Sessions Music Tour this summer, where unfortunately neither Garbage or Kelly Skater will be playing, but Alex Lahey will.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone. Go Luke Davies-Uniacke!


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