Gabriel Medina and Stephanie Gilmore triumphed at the Quiksilver Pro. They both won on the same day which is almost like a tennis tournament with finals on consecutive days (ladies first) but slightly better. This is as close to gender parity as surf contests get. Gleaming Gilmore winning her sponsor's event at home is hardly surprising. A Brazilian beating homeboy Parko out front of the Surfriders Club? That wasn't in the script. It's tough at the top this year, this much we know.
Gabby Medina won without taking to the air or finding the barrel, surfing a totally different heat and apparently with a little divine coaching advice. After a lacklustre previous season last year marred by injury and punctuated by the occasional shindig, is this too early to say he has a good shot at the title? "I've told you guys before God was on my side" He told Rosie Hodge "I've been talking to my mum and God as well. I dunno, it's a lot of training, a lot of things happened including my broken leg. I used to copy Parko and I really respect the guys I beat today. It's the best day of my life."
Joel Parko was gutted "Second two years in a row is heartbreaking, but on the other hand it's still a great start to the year," Parkinson said. "I said the other day that World Titles aren't won or lost at the first event. If I didn't have a shocker at Bells last year I would have been right in the title race, so hopefully I can improve on that this year. Gabriel is a huge talent, he deserves the win and has been on fire today so congrats to him.”
Kelly is not a shoo-in for the world title, he is going to have to work like never before against a field of hungry young lions and experienced old timers with the margins narrowing each and every event.
Steph, all gleaming teeth and hair received a double drop of confidence in beating Carissa en route to the win and is top of the world. Her winning ways are all the the mind. "I just could not crack the semis last year." Said Steph "And this year i just knew it was a matter of finding that mental strength again and getting back to what I know how to do and taking it all the way to the final."
Bianca Buitendag showed the world she is a radical surfer and optimises the strength and depth in the female field, a look at the results here and you can see that any of the top 8 could have won with a couple more knocking on the door.
The ASP have pulled off the centralisation strategy with aplomb. By creating one home for all ASP content they have erected a walled garden which they can use to sell pro surfing to sponsors like Samsung. This is no easy task and they've had to ride the choppy wake of change. Kelly Said there would be winners and losers and he was right, the ASP have won big and all credit to them.
The new ASP won the communications battle with the girls when Paul Speaker sat them down last year. "Having them ask us what waves will elevate the the women's tour, to have them listen to us when we say let's go to Cloudbreak, let's go to Lowers, Honolua Bay is fantastic and I'm excited." Said Steph who feels a renewed energy this year with the new tour.
John John Florence is a mega disappointment when it comes to comps which aren't at Pipeline, we want more from the the tow headed wonder boy. He should be in every semi final.
The ASP listened to the hoo-ha on photo copyright and changed their terms and conditions accordingly. "The language has changed somewhat" Dave Prodan (VP of Communications) told us "But it still achieves the same thing that we always desired – ensuring that content producers are servicing the media... It was never about content acquisition or ownership – this point was communicated to Joli over the course of several months. Instead of working with us on it, he opted to take his grievances to the press, promoting misinformation on more than one occasion. A shame as I have always had a huge respect for his work."
Meaning Peter Joli Wilson, previous tour fixture, is no closer to being back in the fold after this event. "I'm still on the outer because I made a big noise about the rights grab." He told us "They have changed the Terms and Conditions but barred me from the contest site. I'm losing $'s for my stand and wonder if it's worth giving them publicity by shooting the event."
It's possible to love a bank, and shotgun wielding hunters can form romantic attachments with their prey. Those adverts really start to leave their mark after the 500th repeat.
A Brazilian won in Australia which obviously means the judges are biased because claims make points, or something. We stopped listening a while back.
Commentary is not easy, filling dead air with compelling insights is impossible for the duration of a surf event. You need easy listening talkers punctuated by sharp verbal probes. The new team might need time to bed-in but with all that pressure performed brilliantly lead by the groomed Ronnie Blakey. More local experts in forthcoming events?
Rules are rules and dropping in with priority is as en-vouge for 2014 as it was in 2013. You can use your priority to block another surfer even if it involves falling into a probable collision with blades attached to your tootsies. "All u need to do when u have priority is wait for someone to take off and jump on him! New strategy for the year." Said a frustrated Flores who didn't care if there's a fine waiting in his inbox.
Margaret River will pump you can guarantee a swell laden forecast sitting as it does in the path of the Roaring 40s swells.