The Quiksilver Pro is where the measuring sticks come out each ASP season.
With the dawn of a new year ahead each surfer is given a complete review and inspection. Mind you, it’s all very unofficial — most of it going completely unspoken — but make no mistake, fans and fellow surfers alike are doing a lot of mental tire kicking at this event.
Fitness levels, equipment selection and mental attitudes are the easiest indicators to asses at first sight. But as the waiting period marches on, especially during horrible lay days, the deeper underlying details start to emerge. Word starts leaking out about the state of each surfers’ their personal life.
Any changes are duly noted. And fair or not, the results to come will likely be directly attributed to them. Though we know most of these guys well, we give each one a fresh shot at impressing us here.
And the truth is this is the event where everyone shows up looking spry and together. Such was the case on Friday when Round One of the event got underway in a hurry before conditions deteriorated. The key players brought their good stuff
Kelly Slater, 39, started another season facing a kid less than half his age. 16-year-old Aussie wild card Matt Banting put on a good show in front of a packed crowd, making the heat respectable. Slater is still in world champ form though, meaning the kid really never had a shot.
Mick Fanning has always been considered one of the fastest surfers on tour, and Quiksilver’s new radar gun confirmed just that on opening day. He was clocked at 39KM per hour, three KMs faster than anyone else, while looking razor sharp during his commanding Round One win. Mick’s looking very much in fighting shape on weigh-in day, blending his usual ultra precision with what looks like a little added velocity and ferocity.
Defending champion Taj Burrow maintained his winning as well. The 32 year old is looking a spry as ever. Joel, Jordy and rookie Julian Wilson all brought their A-Games along with Owen Wright, rounding out the crew of guys most observers believe have a chance at a title run this year.
Much more will be revealed in the days ahead though, as conditions turn to crap. At this stage a Snapper finish is looking unlikely. Stop one isn’t looking dreamy, so mental states will be tested early this year. Results of those to come soon.