Down Under Diaries

Australia
Byron Bay
Paul Fisher
Gudauskas
Gudauskas
Down Under Diaries
JS Surfboards
Joel Parkinson
Down Under Diaries
Byron Bay
Rosy Hodge
Byron Bay

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March 9
6:40PM

Kelly Slater Wins The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast…Is It Too Early To Say S11ater?

By now the title has become redundant; "Kelly Slater Wins the (fill in the blank) Pro at (fill in every single tour stop because he's won 'em all)!"

Seriously, what do you want to hear? He's the best surfer ever, most lethal competitor, and Jesus himself on a surfboard? It's all been said a million times over.

And it's all true.

Ever heard the Adam Ant song that goes "Don't drink, don't smoke, what do you do?" Well, Kelly don't drink (much) and certainly don't smoke. What he does do is win. Not Charlie Sheen smoking-seven-grams-of-crack-in-one-sitting winning. More like eating almonds, avoiding energy drinks, drinking smoothies, and getting seven second tube rides #winning. Smoke that Charlie. Learn from Him. By the way—Charlie don't surf (another played out but ultimately true statement).

Anyway, I've got a sick batch of photos from our ace photogs to post. Read the captions, every photo has its own little story behind it…

Congrats to runner up Taj Burrow, semifinalists Tiago Pires and Jordy Smith, the ASP, and Quiksilver for an awesome kickoff to the 2011 World Tour. Pro surfing is headed in the right direction and we're stoked to be along for the ride!

TransWorld SURF would like to thank the wonderful people of Australia for their hospitality, the Greenmount Surf Club for their humungous portions of great pub food, Corona for all the brewskis, JS Industries for the happy hour soirees, and especially Tony and the crew at Komune—our home away from home while in Australia. We love you all and can't wait to see you again next year!—Justin Coté and the entire family at TransWorld SURF.

March 8
Late night

The Losers Round

The night before the final, when the quarterfinalists were in bed early, talking strategy, and dreaming of a big win the next day. A small group of "losers" did the opposite and went bowling. In my opinion, these people aren't losers, in fact, if you ask me, they are #winning! (That's a totally hot social media reference right there). It all went down at the Ten Pin Bowling Alley in Tweed Heads, Australia. It also happened that it was Julian Wilson's older bro's B Day! Happy Birthday Seb!—Chris Coté

March 8
1:45PM

Roxy Pro Gold Coast champion Carissa Moore
Roxy Pro Gold Coast champion Carissa Moore

Carissa Moore Wins The Roxy Pro Gold Coast
In what can only be called a changing of the guard, Carissa Moore has just won the Roxy Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks. It was a thrilling finale to a breakthrough day for women's surfing. Standouts throughout the event, both Carissa and Tyler upped their performance to levels never before seen in a womens contest.

It wasn't all surfing either—Carissa channeled her inner Slater and utilized priority to stuff Tyler Wright in what was sure to have been a 10-point ride. The drop in seemed to have caught everyone off guard. Would Tyler's barrel count or was she going to get an interference? Both spectators and the beach commentary crew were baffled. Matter of fact, everyone was baffled.

Except Kelly Slater.

The 10X World Champ and cut-throat competitor knew that the rules had changed and Wright would get points as she didn't interfere with Carissa, she just got kegged before getting stuffed. The drop in was actually a perfect symbol of the anarchy that is a free surf at Snapper.

"Wow I'm just had a really, really good time out there. I think if I didn't drop in on her in that barrel I wouldn't have won!" said the teenager from the winner's podium. She then turned to Tyler Wright and said, "Sorry I had to do that." Tyler was a good sport and congratulated Carissa

Beneath that cute smile lies a merciless competitor—just like Kelly Slater. Stay tuned, we're going to track Carissa down for an interview…

10:13AM

Kelly Slater as Tweeted by TransWorld SURF this am at Snapper Rocks during the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.
Kelly Slater as Tweeted by TransWorld SURF this am at Snapper Rocks during the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

With the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro going on today here on the Gold Coast I’m gonna be Tweeting like hell today from the beach at Snapper. I promise hot girls and behind the scene action…join the fun at twitter.com/transworldsurf.—JC

March 7
10:02PM

Snapper Rocks Comes To Life
After a week of less than ideal conditions, we finally saw the real Snapper Rocks today for the mid rounds of the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro.

Ripping Wahines
The girls were up first today with Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright leading the charge in the long, head high conditions. Carissa in particular was impressive, executing one of the best turns of the event—our little Hawaiian friend was ripping!

Slater Scores
As the tide began to draw out, Snapper turned into, well, Snapper. Roping tubes dirtied by sand spun down the point, and guess who happened to be out there for the best 30 minutes of the day? Yep, Kelly Slater. The 10X World Champ toyed with the tubes and treated his opponent, Matt Banting, like a cat with a dying mouse. After securing a pair of 7s, he had the audacity to switch boards for no other reason than to experiment with his equipment. Cocky? Maybe. But when you have ten titles you pretty much have carte blanche in the etiquette department.

Shockers
-Mick Fanning lost out to Maui's Dusty Payne in the second consecutive event (Dusty best Fanning at Pipe in December to seal his spot on tour this year). Fanning felt like he was a victim of no waves coming in, but gave credit where credit was due and commented on Dusty's ripping via twitter, "Well done dusty!"
-Owen Wright, who many consider to be a 2011 World Title threat, was dusted by rookie Brazilian Alejo Muniz who borrowed a page from Adriano De Souza's playbook and caught a bunch of waves, slowly building momentum and confidence.

The Present vs. Future
Julian Wilson, who's been deemed 'The Chosen One," met up with Taj Burrow in one of the last heats if the day. With an incoming tide, plenty of waves came through and it was interesting to note each surfer's plan of attack. Julian zeroed in on the tube while Taj unleashed fury on the lip. While Julian may have been underscored a bit, to beat an established veteran, a rookie has to smash 'em so the judges have no choice but to give you the score. Watch out folks, Taj is in red-hot form and knows how to win events…

The Coolie Kid
Joel Parkinson is the last remaining Gold Coast local after the elimination of Bede Durbidge, Mick Fanning, Josh Kerr, and Mitch Crews. Suffice to say, Parko is the last guy you'd want in your heat no matter where he's from…dude was looking deadly today.—JC

Above: Day 2 photos from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

Above: Day 2 video highlights from the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast.

March 6
1:13PM

It was a tough day at the office for some of the World Tour surfers here at Snapper Rocks today. With what feels like hurricane force winds and waist high surf, it was battle out there for round two of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. They’ve just called the comp for the day, so we’ll scrounge up some photos (the photos will make it look better than it was) and you can judge for yourself if this is really the “Dream Tour.” Mick Fanning summed it up on his Twitter account, Can’t believe they are running the event in these conditions. Feel sorry for the guys out there #quiksilverpro.” What you have to remember though is that there is only so much time in a waiting period, eventually they gotta run the thing…

Two things struck me today as noteworthy:

-Up and coming Brazilian styler (there are a few of them) Miguel Pupo broke his board at Duranbah and had to swim all the way around to Snapper because the current was so strong he couldn’t swim straight in. For those that haven’t been here, it’s a long ass swim. He ended up right in the contest area and probably surprised a few people by his board-less presence.

-“Glam Rapper” Mickey Avalon came by the TWS house last night before his show at the Coolangatta Hotel and the dude straight up freaked me out. He smelled awful and couldn’t put together a sentence, but was courteous enough to shake hands with us before Damea Dorsey shot some creepy portraits of him. Apparently his show later that night was a disaster—he couldn’t even perform his own songs. However, I did hear that there were 80 million girls there so he must be doing something right…see below for some photos from the lip sync/concert.

"Umm, Mickey, you've spilled on yourself a bit." Photo: Dorsey
Mickey and his tiger blood. Charlie Sheen would be proud... Photo: Dorsey
"Brah, hows dis crazy fuka?" Makua Rothman and Mickey Avalon. Photo: Dorsey
"Brah, how's dis crazy fuka?!?" Makua Rothman (who hopped on stage for a number) and Mickey Avalon. Photo: Dorsey
Never mind the girls reaching down Mickey's pants, check out the dude on another bloke's shoulders giving a Bronx cheer to the DJ... Photo: Dorsey
Never mind the girls reaching down Mickey's pants, check out the dude on another bloke's shoulders giving a Bronx cheer to the DJ... Photo: Dorsey

March 5

4:50PM

Above: Party pics from Dean Morrison’s movie premiere, A Dingo’s Tale.

Dingo’s movie was epic! Full of heavy life experiences and amazing surfing, it’s a must see. It premiered last night down at Kirra Surf, right near Kirra the surf spot, a place where Dingo’s has put on some of the finest displays of tube riding ever seen. As usual, the Corona’s were flowing freely and beautiful people packed the parking lot. The movie itself was played on the side of the building, which made for a cool (and really large format) viewing experience.

Above: Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew gets the crowd revved up with some Dingo stories…

The surf has finally kicked up a bit, spurred in part by a howling southerly wind that feels like it wants to blow our hotel over. The ladies of the Roxy Pro are currently shredding apart perfect little Snapper—it looks soooo fun. Stay tuned, we might actually post surf photos soon here…

March 4

11:56PM

Above: Tahitian ASP World Tour surfer (and star of the upcoming TWS surf flick Surprise Excitement Party) Michel Bourez on Cote’s Cube…

11:30AM

Okay this is getting ridiculous. With little surf and party after party going on, healthy livers are in short supply here. Last night, Stab Magazine teamed up with Nike 6.0 for a bash here at Komune. Team TransWorld was split into two groups until yesterday afternoon when Chris, Checkwood, the Coffin bros, their filmer Ryan, and Jack Freestone rolled into Coolie and joined the fray. Their arrival coincided with the party and lads couldn’t have been happier.

The surf is yet to do much of anything but according to reports there’s a good sized swell on the way. Tonight is Dean Morrison’s movie premiere down by Kirra—I’m pretty sure the whole town is going to show up for that one. After the year Dingo’s had (wife left him, dog died, fell off the tour, blew his knee out) there ought to be some pretty candid moments. As well, Dingo is one of the most-tubed human beings in the world. It all adds up for a banger of a flick.

All everyone can talk about is Charlie Sheen. “Let’s get Sheened!” “Tiger blood!” Given the debauchery going down, Charlie would fit right in.

March 3

1:49AM

Above: Photo gallery from the biggest night yet on the Goldie…congrats to Innersection winner Matt Meola!

After a day of getting getting in shape and eating healthy food, everything went to hell last night. A huge party was held here at Komune to announce Maui boy Matt Meola as the Innersection contest winner and another party was held by Roxy at the contest site. The Innersection party was fun but the Roxy party was on a whole ‘nother level with four-packs of young, nubile girls dancing around in a steamy tent. With no surf here in Coolangatta, the party program is in full swing and will be until we get some surf.—JC

Meanwhile down south of Coolangatta…

Doing Work!

While the Gold Coast rages with reckless abandon, a small crew of frothing youngsters is about six hours away banging out clips in less-than-stellar waves. We're on a mission filming for the new TransWorld SURF flick and I'm cracking the whip. Actually, these little f—kers surf four times a day for hours at a time. Ryan Perry has been shooting action, and I've been attempting to shoot 3D footage with my cool GoPro 3D pole cam rig. We'll see if I can get anything, I'm no Daren Crawford, but I bet we can nail some 3D gold. Stay tuned for ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone on Cote's Cube and a Surf Nerd session with Parker and Connor Coffin.

Surfed a place called Sharkey's last night, wedge city from hell! The boys were getting pretty nuts and apparently, we're in the only zone with any actual surf, so we've made the right decision to bypass the party of the Goldie and stay rooted in the country. We've got a few more sessions down here, then we're making the mad dash to the Goldie where our work ethic will be thrown out the window and we'll join the fracas.—Chris Coté

Here are a few photos, Connor Parker wrote the captions:

This one speaks for itself... Everyone else has been shredding really hard and I was going over the falls this whole session. Sometimes you just have to embarrass yourself and Checky, AKA King Badass, just so happened to capture it.
This one speaks for itself... Everyone else has been shredding really hard and I was going over the falls this whole session. Sometimes you just have to embarrass yourself and Checky, AKA King Badass, just so happened to capture it.
Whoa, Jack Freestone in the air again? I think he has done about 32,092,343 sick airs since we've been here. Is that a bird? A plane? No, it's super Jack!!!!
Whoa, Jack Freestone in the air again? I think he has done about 32,092,343 sick airs since we've been here. Is that a bird? A plane? No, it's super Jack!!!!
Joey Hadden has been our tour guide for the trip, but more than anything he is THE MAN. Oh yeah, he surfs really f'ing good too.
Joey Hadden has been our tour guide for the trip, but more than anything he is THE MAN. Oh yeah, he surfs really f'ing good too.
Skid Park has been launching off of everything as well. His high-powered farts have been helping him get the extra rotation needed to spin some nice helicopter boys.
Skid Park has been launching off of everything as well. His high-powered farts have been helping him get the extra rotation needed to spin some nice helicopter boys.
The Coffin bros get powered up...the van should be smelling good after this.
The Coffin bros get powered up...the van should be smelling good after this.
GoPro's new 3D camera setup. Chris has been swimming around with the rig, can't wait to see the results!
GoPro's new 3D camera setup. Chris has been swimming around with the rig, can't wait to see the results!

Above: Photos from Josh Kerr’s movie premiere that was held last night in nearby Burleigh Heads.

March 2

1:15PM

Get Fit!

In an effort to fit in with all the physical specimens that seem to be everywhere around here, we got on the program and did a long run in the midday sun along the Tweed River. We saw Chris "Davo" Davidson along the way—he was swimming with his dog and running around as well, "Yeah boys! Sweat it all out and put it back in eh? F—k yeah!" he growled. He them gave me a little punch in the stomach and took off like the madman he is.

Dan 'Superman' Ross and mate at Raw Energy in Coolangatta.
ASP World Tour surfer Dan 'Superman' Ross and mate at Raw Energy in Coolangatta.

Taylor Knox was on the program today, too. "Mick's dragging me to yoga," he told us as he rinsed off after a Duranbah grovel session. There’s a reason T. Knox is still ripping and keeping up with the kids—he’s fit!

A massive steak sandwich and mango smoothie courtesy of Raw Energy. It's nap time after this bad boy...
A massive steak sandwich and mango smoothie courtesy of Raw Energy. It's nap time after this bad boy...

Lunch was at the most awesome place in Coolie—Raw Energy. Delicious and hearty plates of grub are served up by smiling Aussie girls and it seems like every time you go there you run into at least a few pros. Today we saw Dan Ross (who looks like Superman), Pat O'Connell, 1977 World Champion Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, the inventor of the thruster Simon Anderson and his lovely wife.

From left: 1977 World Champion Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Pat O'Connell, the inventor of the thruster Simon Anderson (thanks for that!) and his wife. Just your average group of legends having lunch...
From left: 1977 World Champion Wayne "Rabbit" Bartholomew, Pat O'Connell, the inventor of the thruster Simon Anderson (thanks for that!) and his wife. Just your average group of legends having lunch...

It's gonna be a big night tonight at Komune as the Innersection awards party is being held downstairs. Ozzie Wright is going to play an acoustic set, Paul Fisher and Leigh Sedley are gonna DJ by the pool, and God knows what else is gonna happen…should be interesting to say the least.

Sounds like Davo was right—sweat it all out, put it right back in.

Taylor Steele and Nathan Myers from Innersection getting set up for the big award party tonight at Komune...shit's gonna get nuts!
Taylor Steele and Nathan Myers from Innersection getting set up for the big award party tonight at Komune...shit's gonna get nuts!

7:50AM

G’day from Oz! We went up to Burleigh Heads last night to check out Josh Kerr’s new movie The Kerrazy Kronicles with our new BF Carissa Moore. The movie turned out to be really good. Broken into sections based on location, Kerr and friends scored amazing surf in Barbados, Hawaii, California, Indo, and of course Snapper Rocks. There were some hilarious clips from back in the day before the boys were shaving and a few vicious wipeouts from Todos Santos. It’ll be available for free download shortly, we’ll let you know when and where…

The surf is as small as it can possibly be today, but there are reports of a good sized pulse coming our way. There’s a fair bit of wind with it, too, but at this point everyone’s starting to get antsy to get the contest (remember that small detail?) started up again.

That's what you call flat...but alas there is hope in something coming up the coast.
That's what you call flat...but alas there is hope in something coming up the coast.

March 1

1:26PM

Fun At Fingal And A Possible Shark Sighting…

It's flat and windy as all hell again today here in lovely Coolangatta. Instead of getting on the piss too early we drove (instead of paddling across the bull shark infested Tweed river) to Fingal, a nearby beachbreak. The wind wasn't quite as strong and there were a few shreddable peaks—it looked a lot like somewhere in Florida.

Right when we rocked up the Fox guys were packing up after their session. "It's like Smyrna out there," said Damien Hobgood in his slow southern drawl. And it was—warm, clear water with the ever-constant threat (more like paranoia) of getting a bit by a shark.

Adrian Buchan was slashing all over the place as was Cory Lopez and Laura Enever. The highlight of our session was a foot-long mullet making a panicked run through the lineup with what we thought was a bull shark hot on its tail. The thing was flying through the air trying with its eyes bulging out of its head trying to lose its pursuer. TWS' Jeff Baldwin was right in the line of fire and though that he was surely going to get in between a shark and its lunch. We think it was a dolphin but who really knows? Either way, about 15 minutes later we saw a big, dark blob 50 feet in front of us and called it a session.

One thing I learned today was to surf Fingal when the tide is going out as the blue bottles can't swim against the current.

Big night tonight (again) in Burleigh Heads for Josh Kerr's movie premiere. I talked to him last night and he was pretty stoked on the final edit. He said it's pretty much straight action as opposed to Dingo's movie (premiering later in the week) which is documentary style. I'm psyched for both!—Justin Coté

Pool party! Not a bad sight to see upon returning to our hotel...
Pool party! Not a bad sight to see upon returning to our hotel...

Meanwhile a few hundred miles south of Coolangatta…

Started up the new leg of the trip by picking up Connor and Parker Coffin along with their film buddy Ryan Perry. Meeting us from the Gold Coast is also new ASP Jr. World Champion, Jack Freestone. We kidnapped Jack and forced him to take a break from the madness of the Coolangatta and jump in a van with us for a road trip from Sydney to the Goldie. Our van is a little too small for six dudes, but that's part of the fun, right?

Anyway, we're meeting up with Joey Haddon in his neck of the woods somewhere between Newcastle and the Goldy. Waves are looking shit at the moment, but swell is on the way. We'll keep you posted. Follow my twitter feed and ride shotugun with us while we film the new TransWorld SURF flick down the East coast of OZ. Follow the vibe on twitter @chriscotetws and @transworldsurf.—Chris Coté

Parker and Connor Coffin arrive to Oz loaded to the gills with shred sleds.
Parker and Connor Coffin arrive to Oz loaded to the gills with shred sleds.
ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone with Connor and Parker Coffin.
ASP World Junior Champion Jack Freestone with Connor and Parker Coffin.
Jack Freestone gets to work in New South Wales... Photo: Checky
Jack Freestone gets to work in New South Wales... Photo: Checky

Feb 28

8:59PM

Today we made the most of a flat, hot, and windy day. The action kicked off at 4:30am when I met a friend at Palm Beach and went kayak fishing. As any old salt down here will tell ya, a northerly wind is bad for fishing but we went anyway. The fish got off easy today…but we will be back and ready to kill.

After a meeting (yes we manage to mix in a bit of the W word) with Dylan from Chili Surfboards we grabbed our old intern the Ranga aka Blake Kueny and the one and only Carissa Moore and took in some of Australia’s many natural wonders. Carissa is my new favorite human and I’ll just go ahead and make the call that she’s gonna be World Champ on of these days. Don’t let her sweetness fool ya—this girl is as competitive as all hell and here to win.

The afternoon inevitably led into a few beers at base camp, Komune, and before we knew it TWS senior photog Damea Dorsey was drinking all our beers and shooting portraits of Mitch Coleborn, Josh Kerr, Mitch Crews, Garrett Parkes, Erica and the Hosseini’s, and more.

With no surf on tap for at least a few days, the parties are scheduled perfectly; tomorrow night is Josh Kerr’s movie premiere and Dingo’s movie Friday. With two local boys hosting the festivities, expect blowouts of major proportions.

Feb 27

9:30PM

Above: The best dancer and one of the hottest girls at the pub from Sunday in Byron Bay.

Instead of a long winded and misspelled diatribe, check out the photos from the last 24 hours on the Goldy. With mediocre surf and no contest for the day, we made a little road trip south to Byron Bay and took in the sights. If not for draconian decency/privacy laws in the USA I’d have some really awesome photos for ya’ll…

Meanwhile in Sydney…

Makua Rothman, Koby Abberton, Sunny Garcia and the boys take in the UFC fight in Sydney Sunday.
Makua Rothman, Koby Abberton, Sunny Garcia and the boys take in the UFC fight in Sydney Sunday.

UFC 127 In Sydney

The fights started at 11:00 a.m. The lines for beer were long and the Tapout shirts were in mass abundance. I was worried about entering a closed area with 20,000 Aussie's fueled on beer and UFC fights, but the truth is, the Aussie UFC fans were the best I've ever seen. During the fights, the crowd was laughing, singing, chanting, and having a blast. "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi" was repeated throughout the whole night. There were a bunch of fights you can read about on UFC.com, but the big one was BJ Penn vs. Jon Fitch. BJ, who is a bro to many a ripper was supported, ringside by Kelly Slater, Sunny Garcia, Makua Rothman, Noodles, Koby Abberton, Jarrah Tutton, and a handful of Hawaiian's waving flags and going berserk. In the end, BJ won a controversial judges decision. In more good news, I didn't get punched! Tomorrow morning, I pick up the Coffin brothers, and Jack Freestone for a few days of shredding for the filming of the new TransWorld SURF flick. Yeeeeeeeeeeeeew!—Chris Coté

BJ Penn about to open a serious can of whup ass.
BJ Penn about to open a serious can of whup ass.

Jordy Smith with his 2011 New Era/ASP World Tour trading card.
Jordy Smith with his 2011 New Era/ASP World Tour trading card.
The ladies love the trading cards...
The ladies love the trading cards...
Adriano De Souza with his New Era trading card...it didn't help him against Parko today as the Aussie smoked Adriano and fellow Brazilian Alejo Muniz.
Adriano De Souza with his New Era trading card...it didn't help him against Parko today as the Aussie smoked Adriano and fellow Brazilian Alejo Muniz.

1:49pm

Wow it’s hot. Kelly Slater just compared it to Florida in the summertime. The men just wrapped up for the day and now the ladies are out at Snapper battling it out in the deteriorating conditions. The standouts today were the usual suspects; Parko, Josh Kerr, Damien Hobgood, Fanning, and Taj. We made a new friend this morning in South Africa’s Rosy Hodge. We had a coffee this morning as she was getting prepped for her beach interview duties. I think she was looking for something a bit stronger, “I’m kinda nervous,” she said in her Saffa accent. “Maybe I should have a beer or get a flask or something.” She’s too tall for me (oh, and I’m married) but you gotta love a blonde surfer girl who’s down for a brewski in the am…

Feb. 26 @ 7am

Game On!

Today marks the beginning of the 2011 ASP World Tour as “the call” has been made to kickoff the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. We just had a little breakky at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club and checked the surf for a while—it’s far from all time Snapper but chest high and contestable. Look for the smaller dudes like Julian Wilson, Adriano De Souza, etc. to do well today.

The Spanish web cast team of Ramon Navarro (left) and Magnum Martinez get their grind on at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club. Unlike the English speaking web team, there are only two of them, but Magnum told me they'll bring in people like Sofia Mulanovich and Cristobal De Col when they need to use the bano.
The Spanish web cast team of Ramon Navarro (left) and Magnum Martinez get their grind on at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club. Unlike the English speaking web team, there are only two of them, but Magnum told me they'll bring in people like Sofia Mulanovich and Cristobal De Col when they need to use the bano.The guy on the right, TWS' Charlie Anderson, ran over Kieren Perrow yesterday at Snapper. KP was a good sport about it and told Charlie, "Check your fins mate, I think you stabbed me..." Nice job Charlie.

Fire In The Hole!

So last night some prankster pulled the fire alarm at this place called "Reflections" and everyone in the 30-story building had to evacuate at 2am while firefighters figured out what was going on. There's a lot of pros staying there, so the conspiracy theorist in me thinks that someone did it on purpose to deny a competitor a good night sleep… Who could it have been?

Day 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. That's Greenmount on the left and Snapper Rocks at the top.
Day 1 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast. That's Greenmount on the left and Snapper Rocks at the top.

Meanwhile in Sydney…

I'm packing up right now and headed straight in to the lions den that is a UFC fight at the Acer Arena in Sydney's Olympic park. I posted on Facebook that I was headed there and immediately got hit up for tickets! Koby Abberton says the tickets for the fight sold out in 18 minutes! Here's our facebook conversation:

You can still get the fight live on Pay Per View and if you like fights, this is a banger. Our boy BJ Penn is up against Jon Fitch, and word has it that BJ has actually been training with Kelly Slater. Hopefully Kelly and the boys will be able to make it out to the fight to watch BJ mop this dude up. As for me, I'll be ringside with Koby and the Bra Boys drinking beer and watching the fights!—Chris Coté

Chris Coté and the 'Bra Boys...sounds like trouble.
Chris Coté and the 'Bra Boys...sounds like trouble.

Feb 25 @ 4:10pm

Hello Gold Coast!

After a 14-hour flight across the Pacific we have arrived! We couldn't have come on a better day, too. It is simply glorious here! Crystal clear blue water, air temps in the mid 80s, overhead waves, and a gentle breeze greeted us upon touchdown in Coolangatta.

One of Australia's premier pointbreaks, Lennox Head, from row 14 seat D on today's Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Coolangatta.
One of Australia's premier pointbreaks, Lennox Head, from row 14 seat D on today's Virgin Australia flight from Sydney to Coolangatta.

After landing, we quickly loaded the boards and bags and beelined it for Komune—our home for the next two weeks. Frothing in a manner that would have the Gudauskas brothers proud, we made the quick walk to Duranbah only to find…hardly anyone out and waves up and down the beach. You usually come around the bend just to see a swarm of humans that makes you not want to paddle out. My initial thought was that a shark had mauled someone and the crowd had scurried. But alas, there were no (visible) sharks and we were out there. The first person I saw catch a wave was fabulous Freddy P—his trademark backside power gouge pairs well with D-Bah's punchy walls. After initial greetings I asked Fred what was up with his site, www.insurfnews.com. According to Fred it got to be too expensive to fly a video guy/web guy around the world and he pulled the plug on the entertaining site.

The easternmost point in Australia, Byron Bay. Check out the rights down there...it was going off!
The easternmost point in Australia, Byron Bay. Check out the rights down there...it was going off!

The next pro spotted at D-Bah was Monyca Byrne-Wickey from Maui—holy shit is she hot! I clumsily introduced myself to her moments before we got cleaned up by a set wave. Twisting and turning underwater I secretly hoped to collide (albeit gently) with her but no luck. I ran into her gain at lunch where she was joined by Alana Blanchard. Those two together are just too much…

After the initial session, I made it to Snapper in time to see Mitch Crews win the Quiksilver Pro trials. Mitch is one of Now/Next kids and he made us look smart today after beating Dean Morrison, Marc Lacomare, and Tom Whitaker to earn himself a slot in the main event. With his aerial based repertoire and innate knowledge of Snapper (he's from just up the road in Tugun) Crews could do some damage when the event ramps up, which could be as early as tomorrow.

Just off to the right of the wing tip is Snapper Rocks where all the action is about to go down... That's Duranbah to the left of Snapper, too.
Just off to the right of the wing tip is Snapper Rocks where all the action is about to go down... That's Duranbah to the left of Snapper, too.

We ran into Dane Reynolds' team guy from Channel Islands, Travis Lee, and he verified that Dane hasn't recovered from knee surgery and is not surfing in the Quik Pro. God knows we can't live without our Dane update…

Our social calendar is set; there's a Quiksilver girls party downstairs tonight, and many more to follow. Stay tuned…

Feb. 23 at 2:30pm

Pack It Up!

Every trip starts at home with an empty boardbag. You don't need big boards on the Gold Coast—you're best shortboards are the call. I'm bringing two boards whereas the guys in the comp (at least those who aren't picking up boards from one of the many world class shapers in the area) will bring up to a dozen in multiple coffin-style bags. I've seen the guys in the airport and it looks absolutely miserable dragging around two coffins, but I'm sure readers have no sympathy for those who shred around the world under the guise of "work.”

We're flying Virgin Australia to Sydney then connecting to Coolangatta on the same airline. The flight itself cost about the same as last year, roughly $1,200. I hear that Virgin Australia has walk up bars on board, newer planes, and hot flight attendants—we'll give you the full details (and maybe a few Model Search contestants signed up) upon landing.

Jordy Smith's Astrodeck (all 17 pads) shipment on its way to Snapper. If he wins, I wonder whether or not I'll get a shout out from the podium thanking me for this. I'm like his pit crew!
Jordy Smith's forgotten Astrodeck (all 17 pads) shipment on its way to Snapper. If he wins, I wonder whether or not I'll get a shout out from the podium thanking me for this? I'm like his pit crew...you owe Jordy!

Our hotel, the infamous joint called Komune, is a quick ten-minute drive from the Coolie airport. It's really the place to be, and there will be a bunch of parties and scantily clad women lounging around the pool.

The surf on the Goldy has been mauled by winds the last couple days and according to reports, blue bottle jellyfish are zapping dudes left and right. As well, the sandbar at Snapper isn't properly setup, so if the powers that be don't flip the switch and start pumping sand into Snapper from the nearby Tweed River, we could be looking at Duranbah as a venue. I assume whoever is in charge will take care of that though—the bars are good within a few hours of that first blast of sand.

That's all from this seppo, we'll check back in upon arrival…