On Friday, in front of a packed beach at Rainbow Bay, Windang, New South Wales’ Michael “Mick Lowe dispatched Kelly Slater, Taylor Knox, and World Champ Andy Irons in man-on-man heats to win the first WCT event of the year, the prestigious Quiksilver Pro.
Lowey certainly got the toughest draws of the contest as he advance through his heats—six-time World Champ Kelly Slater in the quarters, California power surfer Taylor Knox in the semis, and reigning World Champ Andy Irons in the final—and he beat them all in convincing fashion. He even comboed Kelly in the quarters, earning a two wave score of 18.5.
Though he doesn’t exactly resemble a world-class tri-athlete (his nickname is “the keg), Lowe surfed with the endurance of an Iron Man winner, smashing the lip backside hundreds of times throughout the afternoon. Shaped more like a professional rugby player (or a fire hydrant) than a surfer, Lowe’s wide body and little tuft of blond hair terrorized his fellow competitors. He found the right waves with stunning accuracy, and surfed them like a guy who understands how to get out of a heat on the WCT.
You would have been hard-pressed to find anyone on the beach who would have bet against Andy before the final heat began. Irons had been on fire all day, combo-ing (and just simply embarrassing) anyone who drew him in a heat with reverses, airs, and perfectly linked turns in the shoulder-high surf at Rainbow Bay.
But Lowe was surfing too strong to be denied. Ten minutes into the final, Andy had priority, but he decided to let Mick have a wave that looked like nothing special. Lowe used the opportunity to open up a lead on Irons that the World Champ wouldn’t be able to over come.
When Lowey got back to the beach, he walked up the stairs in front of the Snapper surf club, where 100 or so working-class fans of surfing were enjoying a beer in the afternoon sun. Someone on the deck yelled, “Hey, there’s Lowey! Good on ya, mate! and the entire balcony exploded in applause. Lowe raised his hands above his head in victory and made a hand gesture that said, “I’ll be right up, get a beer ready for me.