Australians Vignette – Australians and Hawai

Noodles

December 9, 2002

11:35 a.m.

Backdoor

On A Mission

Australians and Hawai‘i.

From his room at the Globe house, Nathan “Noodles” Webster has a perfect view of Backdoor. If it gets good, he’s on it–as is the case this particular morning. Noodles was already an unexpected finalist in the Rip Curl Cup at Sunset, and all winter he’s been a standout at just about every other spot as well. He’s an Aussie on a mission–and he’s not the only one.

Each November, flocks of Australian professional surfers migrate north to Hawai‘i. From the earliest teenage years to post-tour semi retirement, the North Shore ritual is as important for Aussie surfers as spring training is for baseball players. To them, charging heavy waves is mandatory–they live for it. The filthier you are, the more respect you get.

They come to Hawai‘i to make statements with their surfing and celebrate it with their partying, and this year there was a lot of celebrating to be done. Parko’s huge win at Sunset was a perfect example. After getting the victory and moving ahead in Triple Crown points before the Pipe contest, every Aussie on the North Shore got together to see who could go down in flames the hardest that night.

Next year, of the 45 competitors on the WCT, 24 of them will be from down under, including eight of the top ten. Proportionately, that makes Australia the most dominant surfing country in the world. The only question they have yet to answer is whether or not Australia is capable of producing a dominant world title winner.–AC