The Down Under Diaries

Down Under Diaries

The Down Under Diaries—TransWorld SURF Raids The Gold Coast

Monday March 9

Bede Durbidge Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

How sick is the web cast!

8:24 Couple notes…

-This Quiksilver Pro Web cast rules! It’s raining on the beach but nice and cozy on my own couch—and I get replays!

-Whatever idiot (myself) previously said that Mick was having surfboard issue was obviously wrong.

-CJ and Damo are monsters on their backhands! Their coaching from Chris Gallagher is paying off in dividends.

-Parko has luck on his side after that last second barrel ride that put him over Chris Davidson. That should be scary for the other guys…

-Web announcers Martin Potter, Todd Kline, and Ronnie Blakey are ripping, The Snake is having a rough one…

6:28 PM Holy shit did I leave at a bad time! I’m kicking myself as I sit here watching Jihad and CJ go at it during round 4 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in throating sandbar barrels at Coolangatta Beach—just in between Snapper and Kirra. On call since early this morning, the waves were junk all day but have since cleaned up. Cleaned up nice might I add…CJ just beat Jihad. Parko vs Davo…This is gonna be good! Exclusive photo gallery coming soon…Watch the event live HERE

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Sunday March 8

While physically not there, my mind (and body clock) is still on the Goldy so we’re not gonna quit now! Anyway, just got caught up with the photo gallery (above) from Sunday’s action where we saw Stephanie Gilmore defeat Oahu’s Melanie Bartels to win the Roxy Pro. Stephanie is surfing light years ahead of the other girls on tour and another World Title seems like a lock even at this early point in the tour. As for Melanie, I’m really stoked for her. After a couple up and down years and losing a major sponsor, she got it together and has been ripping hard (and up to her potential) since last season. Stoked for Coco and Paige Hareb too as it looks like the women’s rookie class of 2009 is all they were hyped up to be.

As for Kelly losing to Julian Wilson, all I can say is that Ace Buchan was spot on in his Cote’s Cube interview when he said the only way to beat Slater was if he continued to ride those super small boards that he shaped himself. My guess is that Kelly will continue to ride the boards he shaped all year…a little birdy told me that Al Merrick put him up to the challenge to see if he can win a world title on equipment he crafted.

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Bronzing Beauty

You gotta love chicks who show up to sporting events wearing next to nothing…I imagine her photo is plastered all over the internet by now.

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Saturday March 7

Rattled from being kicked out of our house, please excuse the delay in posting. I had the worst morning ever and had to drag luggage through the streets of Coolangatta in the blazing mid-day sun. I eventually got sorted and made it down to the event to see Dane absolutely destroy Nathaniel Curran. If Dane can maintain that level of surfing, he’ll be unbeatable. Another guy who I thought ripped was Chris Davidson, who held nothing back (unlike a lot of th other dudes who were doing safety turns and hideous double grab airs) in his effort against Mikey Picon. Since I was dragging shit through town, click HERE for a proper write up…

Dustin Barca Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Dustin Barca was a happy camper after winning his round two heat against Chris Ward. Photo: Bielmann/SPL

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Friday March 6

Electric’s Matt Hoy storms the stage for his skewed version of TNT…

Electric Party Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Angus and the boys from the ACDC cover band…these guys ripped!

Jake Duncombe Electric Party Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Jake and Coke…the recipe for a hell time!

9AM So much for the dawn patrol after “getting on the piss” pretty good last night at the Electric bash…Last year the bros at Electric had a party for Jay Davies’ birthday, this year it was held in honor of master skater Jake Duncombe who turned 21 yesterday. Speaking of skaters, I ran into my old neighbor Matt Mumford there, he’s about as Aussie as they come—full of fun and not afraid to get loose. Good to see you Mumford! Electric hired an ACDC cove band and I don’t know if it was the beers or the massive speaker I was standing next to but I thought they sounded good. I’ll take an ACDC cover band over some poofter from Hollywood anyday…Oy!

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Thursday March 5

Stephanie Gilmore Roxy Pro Gold Coast

5PM Stephanie Gilmore continued her dominance of women’s professional surfing today as the Roxy Pro was held at Duranbah. Although the surf was on the small side, Steph showed the highly touted rookies who’s boss and knocked off Megan Abubo and Chelsea Hedges to set up a semifinal battle against Paige Hareb from New Zealand. On the other end of the draw, Coco Ho took out ripping Brazilian Silvana Lima, Rebecca Woods to set up a semifinal against fellow Hawaiian Melanie Bartels.

4PM Paddled across the shark-infested Tweed River and over to Fingle today…and lived to tell about it! After hearing about Timmy Reyes and Luke Davis doing it the other day, I knew I had to do it. The only problem was that I wasn’t sure exactly where to paddle from. With the tide dropping, the last thing I wanted was to get swept out to sea by the 5mph outgoing current so I launched from pretty far down the river. After a short, five minute paddle, I made it to the other side but was far from the nearest beach and had to walk through the bush fro 20 minutes to get there. I finally got to the pier there and saw a couple dudes ripping the shorebreak and decided to join them noting more people=better odds as Fingle is notoriously sharky. One of the three out surfing was Nathaniel Curran who will be surfing against his good friend and fellow Cali boy Dane Reynolds in round three. “How is that Nathaniel? We’re gonna be down one Californian right off the bat no matter what!” I asked him. “It’s so lame…I can’t believe it,” said Nathaniel. He added that they used to surf against each other all the time when they were kids but haven’t had many battles over the last couple years. For the record, Nathaniel was ripping! After a while the whole O’Neill team came out; Jordy, Timmy, Luke Davis, Roy Powers, and video dude SK…the boys were seriously hungover from the Mickey Avalon show last night. Glad I missed that one…

9AM So glad I passed on going to the Mickey Avalon show…he’s really not my cup of tea. I’m charged up for the final stretch of the Down Under Diaries! We had a killer surf yesterday at Lennox Head—one of the best rights in the world and a wave that Taylor Knox claims as his personal favorite. While it was only two-to-three feet and a bit windy, I had the top part of the point to myself for a good half an hour. I can’t explain to you how good it felt to not be surfing with 8 million dudes. I can only imagine that place at six-to-eight foot and pumping. One of these days…Anyway, off to watch day two of the Roxy Pro at Duranbah. Don’t worry I won’t paddle over there on the SUP…

After marinating in Coolangatta for this long, we had to get out of town for a breather so we headed to nearby Byron Bay. Just 45-minutes down the coast, Byron is a world away from the hustle and bustle of Snapper Rocks and Duranbah. The town of Byron Bay is believed to be sitting on top of a huge deposit of quartz crystals, which apparently creates some mystic healing power. According to my friend Hilton Dawe, the Aboriginals used to gather here to heal wounds, have peaceful meetings, and maybe even carve up some sick rights out at “The Pass” Byron’s version of the Superbank. Filled with hippies, mystics, tourists, yoga enthusiasts, and surfers, Byron Bay is a must do on your trip to Australia. Check out the slideshow above for some of our highlights from yesterday’s day trip…

Yesterday Stephanie Gilmore, Peter “PT” Townend, and Phyllis O’Donell were inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall Of Fame during a ceremony at Twin Towns resort. Similar to the Surfing Walk Of Fame in Huntington Beach, the inductees have their hand prints forever engraved into the sidewalk as a symbol of their respective contributions to our sport.

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Wednesday March 4

1:33PM 2008 Dream Tour Runner Up Bede Durbidge shares some top-secret tips on how to throw buckets…apparently it’s all about stomping the back foot…

1:27 PM Two-time Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore graces us with her beautiful presence. Steph breaks down the women’s rookies, accepts her award for “Best Legs On The Tour”, and somehow hears a positive surf forecast through a seashell…

1:17 PM Presenting ASP World Junior Champion Kai Barger from the beautiful island of Maui…Hawaiian! Kai breaks down his new found celebrity status, his performance at the ASP Awards Banquet, and leaps out of the New Era Athlete Lounge and straight onto a flight home…see you on the Dream Tour soon Kai!

1PM Adrian “Ace” Buchan makes an appearance at the TransWorld SURF/New Era Athlete Lounge and gives his thoughts on being named the ASP’s Most Improved Surfer and the new crop of women’s Dream Tour competitors.

11AM Mick Fanning (featured above in an interview) dropped by today for a quick Cote’s Cube interview and shed some light on the sand situation at Kirra. Being born and raised in the draining, sand-filled barrels, he sorely misses the consistency and quality of the legendary break as it hasn’t been the same since the powers that be began pumping sand out of the Tweed River and depositing it down Kirra way. However, I just read in the local paper that the government has decided to allocate $1.5 million AUS to remove sand from Kirra in hopes in will return to it’s former glory. According to Fanning, though, that won’t be enough. “They’ve got to lengthen the groin (or jetty as we call it in the States) for Kirra to return,” he said as he gazed toward Kirra from the 5th floor of our pad. “The groin creates a whirlpool that funnels the sand down the beach so it doesn’t collect right there.” So what are you waiting for Mr. Politician? When the 2007 World Champ says “jump”, you should say “how high” and Bring Back Kirra!

Yesterday The bros from Rusty went for a whip in and whip at session (see above) at a nearby spot called Fingle and we grabbed a few photos from photographer Bosko for your viewing pleasure. The great thing about using PWCs to blast 80 feet into the air is that you can do exactly that when the waves are really small—as was yesterday. Anyway, dig the pics of Jay Davies (Happy Birthday Mate!), Jayke Sharp, and the master aerialist Josh Kerr.

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Tuesday March 3

Timmy Reyes dropped into the New Era/TransWorld SURF lounge (video above) for a quick chat after we spotted him on his way to lunch. We do the Cote’s Cube interviews on the balcony of the 5th floor, better views, less hooligans, and you can’t hear Roy Powers’ now-patented e-brake slides he does every time he drives by.

6PM Just took the SUP out to the so called “shark nets” in front of Snapper Rocks and uh, I got news for ya’ll—there ain’t no nets there! They’re about 1 kilometer out to sea and only marked by yellow buoys that float on the surface and are separated by about 100 yards. When I got out there, I put my head underwater to see the nets and lo and behold, there was only a line of rope. Apparently the nets are staggered in depth—basically located here and there and completely useless if a shark has even half a brain. Speaking of half a brain, why exactly did I paddle out there at the dusk feeding time?

2009 ASP Women’s Tour Rookies Coco Ho and Alana Blanchard drop by the TransWorld SURF/New Era lounge for a quick episode of the infamous Cote’s Cube. With the addition of these two and some the other ripping rookies, there’s more energy and excitement than ever for women’s surfing!

Joel Parkinson's Boat

The little pier behind Parko’s house with his not-so-little boat. Life is good for this man! Photo: Chris Cote

Joel Parkinson

So that’s how Parko got so ripped out! Photo: Chris Cote

Joel Parkinson Billabong Signing

Brendan “Margo” Margieson mans the grill at the little Billabong company BBQ. What, no shrimp on the barbie? Photo: Chris Cote

Joel Parkinson Billabong Store Signing

Parko makes another fan at an informal Billabong team signing. Photo: Chris Cote

1PM No contest today as the waves are really small at Snapper and the backup spot, Duranbah. We’re getting down to business today, filming interviews with Coco Ho, Alana Blanchard, and Timmy Reyes. To compliment the small surf, Craig “Scat” Pitchers from JS Industries brought us a 10′ Stand Up Paddle board to cruise on. As long as we’re far away from any of the runaway water patrol jet skis, we should be okay and it’s really fun to actually catch a bunch of waves out at Snapper. Revenge is a SUP at Snapper! Chris just did an interview with Parko and came back saying that he’s a very interesting human and claims his main interest right now (besides surfing of course) is reading peoples’s facial expressions. Weird eh?

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Monday March 2

Photo gallery above from Sunday on the Goldy. We hit up the Rip Curl team signing at the Mick Fanning Rip Curl store, hung out with some crew on the patio, and went mad at the Gold Coast premiere of A Fly In The Champagne. That’s right, the fun never stops down here…

9pm Just heard a pretty gnarly story over dinner…get this: During the girls contest today at Duranbah, one of the water patrol guys lost control of his PWC and fell off of it while trying to clear the lineup. The throttle somehow got stuck in full throttle mode and the thing raced out to sea like a guided missile—straight at an older guy on a stand up paddle board. Coming from a dude who saw it, it was like a freaking torpedo. The ski smashed into the guy, who for some reason wasn’t able to get out of the way, and he did not one, but two flips in the air. According to what we heard, the poor guy broke his femur and was rushed out of there and straight to the hospital. We could only speculate as to how this happened and the first question is, why didn’t the water patrol guy have a lanyard (that yanks the keys out of the machine when you fall off) wrapped around his wrist? Poor bloke…

Jet Ski Accident Roxy Pro Gold Coast

A hideous, one-in-a-million accident at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast. Click HERE for the full story.

1PM Moving a little slow after last night’s A Fly In The Champagne movie premiere—there were something like 1,000 amped up surf fans at the Twin Towns venue! With a VIP room stocked with free Corona’s, a handful of World Champions, tons of industry bros, and plenty of Gold Coast eye candy. Suffice to say a good time was had by all! A crew of us went wake surfing on the Tweed River today too. After getting over the fear of being mauled by a Bull Shark, it turned out to be a hell time! Chris went to some water amusement park and reported that 40 of the top 45 were there as well…lots of wet men…sounds like somewhere he’d go (I had to throw that in there as he’s right next to me asking if I posted anything today).

They ran the first round of the Roxy Pro toady and guess what? The rookies ripped! Coco Ho just dropped by the house here and she was stoked with her second place finish to Chelsea Hedges. Rookies winning their heats today were Alana Blanchard, Bruna Schmitz, Paige Hareb, and Sally Fitzgibbons. Silvana Lima from Brazil got a perfect 10 for this one wave where she blasted a big air midway through, too. Good on ya girls! Click HERE for the ASP write up…

Sally Fitzgibbons Roxy Pro Gold Coast

Sally Fitzgibbons en-route to a whopping 18.77 points and a victory over Silvana Lima and Megan Abubo. Photo courtesy ASP

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Sunday March 1

Between the first day of the comp, an Electric Visual team signing, and having a bunch of bros over at the TransWorld SURF/New Era Animal House, we had a huge day! Chris Cote—being the rocket scientist he is—even invented a new sport, it’s called “Shaka-Rang”. Check the video below and tell us if it’s as funny as we thought at the time…The Kelly/Andy movie “A Fly In The Champagne” is also tonight and we’re expecting about 1,000 frothing Gold Coast surf fans so keep your eyes peeled for photos from that…

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Saturday Feb 28

Above: Photos from yesterday’s Quik and Roxy Pro trials and some other fun stuff…

Dane Reynolds Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Looks like Dane Reynolds has found a use for his “Rookie Of The Year” trophy/bowl thing. Where’s the guac Dane? Photo: Chris Cote

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Dane Reynolds Peter Mel

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast announcer Peter Mel regales TWS Photog Brian Bielmann and Dane with story after story about some pretty heavy shit that went down in Santa Cruz…check the Flea article in the new Surfer Mag for the watered down version. Photo: Chris Cote

Dane Reynolds Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Not only a world-class surfer, Dane’s got some skills with the camera too. Photo: Chris Cote

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Kelly Slater Experience

The “Kelly Slater Experience” at the event. No, you don’t get to hook up with any of his past flames but you do get to see a bunch of his winning boards, old contest jerseys, and more cool Slater memorabilia. Photo: Chris Cote

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Bones from Analog with a nice gash on the dome courtesy of a flip gone awry. His board nailed him pretty good and he blacked out underwater for s second before gathering his bearing. Photo: Chris Cote

Corey Zeims Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Corey Zeims in winning form at the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Trials. Photo: Surfing Australia

5:45 AM After the wheels falling off yesterday (a perfect storm of sleep deprivation, sunstroke, and some contest watching) the Down Under Diaries are back on track! Yesterday saw 25-year old Corey Zeims from nearby Currumbin win the Quilsilver Pro Trials in sloppy, two-to-three foot surf at Snapper Rocks—which is the main contest site. What’s cool about this, actually miraculous, is that in November Zeims broke his back while surfing a big day at Backdoor on the North Shore of Oahu—the dude is lucky to be walking—so a win like that is huge for the part time pro surfer/part time construction worker. Speaking of the contest, last year they were giving away free Corona’s and suffice to say, people took advantage of that and got lit up, so much so that there’s a six-beer max in the Rainbow Bay Surf Club viewing area this year. Anyway, congrats Corey and best of luck against the big dogs! Click HERE for the ASP press release

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Thursday Feb 26

We’re a bit worse for wear but here’s the photo gallery (above) from an epic night!

Late Night After The ASP Banquet We have a grip of photos from the 2009 ASP Awards Banquet, but it’s late and really the wrong time to write captions about it…here’s a few to hold you over until tomorrow:

Bruna Schmitz Jeremy Flores Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Ooh lala! Hands down the hottest couple on the Gold Coast right now…misseur Jeremy Flores with his girl—Brazilian bombshell and 2009 Women’s Tour Rookie Bruna Schmitz. Photo: Justin

Dayyan Neve ASP World Tour

#19 Dayyan Neve was the most stoked out of all the pros who we gave a New Era Top 45 trading card to and told us he collected footy player cards as a kid. We even got the Arabic translation of his name right on the back of the card right…buy a copy of the new issue for you own Top 45 trading cards. Photo: Justin

Jordy Smith ASP World Tour

South African lion Jordy Smith seems to be stoked on his TransWorld SURF/New Era top 45 trading card…Photo: Justin

Bobby Martinez

Bobby Martinez was psyched on his ASP Top 45 trading card until he saw some outdated sponsors on the back of it. Lo Siento compadre…Photo: Justin

Adrian Ace Buchan Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Ace Buchan not only won (well, actually split with Adriano De Souza) the ASP’s “Most Improved” award but also got handed his TransWorld SURF/New Era ASP Top 45 Trading Card. Talk about an Ace in the hole! Photo: Justin

Kai Barger 2009 ASP World Junior Champion

Kai Barger looking like another World Champion with a Korean mama…Hines Ward from the world champion Pittsburgh Steelers! Kai brought his mom to the awards ceremony and made sure to thank her first thing when he got on stage. Photo: Justin

1PM A real photographer showed up today for us…the one and only Brian Bielmann! He got to work quick kine with some groovy underwater shots and some stuff of the local boys…check it out above.

11AM Hi there web-heads! Chris Cote here, just flew into Oz and I’m psyched! I got a row of seats all to myself, slept like a baby on the flight, and got a free ride to the beach from the airport—how good is that! There were a bunch of cool people on the flight including Steve Sherman (who gave me a ride to the beach), Jason Kenworthy, PT, and Travis (see the photo below) from Channel Island Surfboards. When we landed, Travis pulled four massive boardbags off the baggage thing and put them onto a huge baggage trolley. I asked him who’s boards he brought and he gave me a laundry list of the worlds best—a few boards for Slater, two for Julian Wilson, two for Yadin Nicol, two for Dane, etc. If you figure those boards could sell in a shop for $1000 bucks, and he had 20 of them, then he was pretty much rolling $20,000 worth of surfboards through the airport!

Travis Channel Islands Surfboards

A load of Merrick’s with the names of the world’s best surfers carved into their stringers makes it’s way into Australia via the Brisbane Airport—which is definitely they way to go when flying to the Gold Coast as opposed to Sydney. And forget about flying Jet Star, they suck go with Virgin. Photo: Chris Cote

Chri Cote Steve Sherman Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

There goes the neighborhood! My little brother (and boss ironically enough) Chris Cote and the infamous photographer Steve Sherman show up to the TransWorld SURF Coolie compound well armed. We’re headed to the ASP Awards Ceremony tonight…it’s held up at Surfer’s Paradise a 30-minute drive north from Coolangatta. Surfer’s Paradise is like Vegas on the beach complete with seedy strip bars, casinos, and obnoxious drunks. We should fit right in. Did I mention I’m now sleeping with my boss/brother in the same Queen sized bed? Eww. Photo: Justin Cote

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Wednesday Feb 25

On The Piss O’Clock Gotta love the Rainbow Bay Surf Club…Where else do you see everyone’s hero Martin Potter and throw back beers with Bruce Lee? Excuse the typos…

Rainbow Bay Surf Club Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Four Aussies and a “loose cunt Seppo” at the Rainbow Bay Surf Club. From left; former Tracks Editor Sean “Doughboy” Doherty, Token Seppo, Bruce Lee (the absolutely wrong guy to cut off around these parts), Simon Law, and Shorty Buckley. Workin’ hard down here…How did Doughboy get a Wikipedia link? Photo: Hornby/Stryker

Bruce Lee

“So Bruce, how and when is this ‘you block for me at D’bah’ thing gonna work out exactly?” By the way, that look is not one you want to get from this Aussie pit bull.

Martin Potter Holly Monkman

I don’t know about you jerks, but when I was a kid, Martin Potter was THE MAN! Things haven’t changed either—check the Kelly/Andy Collide issue for proof—”The Saint” has mental shot in there. And who’s the lovely Sheila? None other than Holly “Monkey” Monkman who helped us with the 10 Hottest Girls In Pro Surfing article.

3:45 Surfed Snapper this afternoon with me, Kelly Slater, and 973 other people. The Champ was in a chatty mood too so in between dodging people, getting run over, riding a few waves, and running over little kids (true story), I launched a few questions his way…

“What did you think about your guys’ movie [A Fly In The Champagne with Andy and Kelly]?” “I thought it was cool,” said the Champ then spun around and got a wave on a round nose quad that he shaped himself. Minutes later, “My friend got a killer shot of you doing a big slash at D’bah with your girlfriend and her friend in the foreground.” Yeah, I was buttering him up good. “I bet it’s a good on if her butt’s in it,” he said. “Yeah well the girls are a little out of focus so it’s not too pervy…” I replied. Minutes later he compared the crowd and inherent hazards to the Kenny Loggins smash hit Highway To The Danger Zone and how he saw him play in Santa Barbara, “He’s an amazing songwriter.” Damn, he’s on fire today, I thought. “Have you seen the forecast?” he asked, “It’s not looking good, kinda like this [bumpy, short-interval, onshore, but you never know here, a cyclone or something can form anytime.” He told me a classic story about Bill Murray—who Kelly played golf with at the Pebble Beach Pro Am deal a couple weeks ago—learned to surf one day while vacationing in Bali, then went to G-Land of all places for his second ever surf with a couple bros. I then ran a 13-year old kid over and chopped his board in half. After five days I’m used to this and told him he shouldn’t bail his board in front of people. Once out the back, I asked Kelly if he ever had a chance to surf with Sean Penn because I read the new Rolling Stone interview with Penn on the flight down and he kept mentioning growing up and surfing in Malibu. “I was supposed to…but…” With that, a wonky little bump came through and me and the Champ were on it…him in front and me digging rail and doing the Aussie version of the Huntington Hop behind him. Yep, me and the Champ, we’re tight!

11AM Overcast and muggy today but there’s been a bump in the swell from yesterday’s wind. A bit wonky but overhead and super fun at Dbah and better and better as the tide gets lower at Snapper…here are a few pics from my days’ wanderings—Justin Cote

Dustin Barca 2009 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

2009 ASP World Tour Rookie Dustin Barca (above) does some shadow boxing in his fifth floor room that overlooks Rainbow Bay˜just around the corner from the contest site. I ran into Dustin early this morning while he jogged and I drank coffee (The two physiques reflect upon this). Yesterday, I asked him if he was getting amped for the contest and he was like, “I’m getting there.” That’s the way to go, slow and steady, don’t peak too early.

Dustin Barca 2009 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Barca’s 6’0″ quad shaped by Bret Marumoto. The writing on the stringer was from Bret and said “For Dustin Barca 2009 WCT Go Barca!” Looks like a sick board and with Dustin hitting mach four on his forehand out there shit could get nuts. Photo: Justin Cote

Roy Powers 2009 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Roy Powers and his ladyfriend enjoying brekky and the better American dollar exchange rate for us Seppos than last year, “We were having like $60 breakfast’s down here last year!” said Roy. Roy’s smooth style could translate well into the long rights we’re gonna see for the Quik Pro. Photo: Justin Cote

Blue Bottle Jellyfish

The evil Portuguese Man Of War, or “Blue Bottles” as they call ’em down here in Australia. This little fella, along with thousands more of his kind, washed in last night after some stiff onshore winds. What’s interesting about these is that it’s not one animal but rather four different kinds of “siphonophore” that are all attached and integrated. Whatever they are, the sting hurts like hell…this one was washed up at Dbah this morning. Photo: Justin Cote

Dane Reynolds 2009 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Dane Reynolds (above with manager Blair Marlin) and the not-so-glamorous side of professional surfing. After a 14-hour plane ride and forking out hundreds of dollars for your boards, a transfer in Sydney, rental car pickup, you show up to the Goldy in pants and it’s 90 degrees and super humid out. Dane will be at the ASP Awards Banquet tomorrow night to accept his award for Rookie Of The Year. I told him congrats on this and was his usual modest self and jokingly said, “Oh yeah, I killed alright.” Photo: Justin Cote

Dane Reynolds Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

The surfarazzi strikes as I nail Dane and Blair from one angle while excited tour rookie Nathaniel Curran gets the other. Jeez, that sounded creepy…Photo: Justin Cote

Kekoa Bacalso Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Is 2009 ASP World Tour Rookie Kekoa Bacalso bronzing or waiting on Matty Gye to pick him up for some top-secret video project? We’re thinking the latter but you never know…Photo: Justin Cote

Megan Abubo Amee Donohoe

ASP Women’s Tour Veterans Megan Abubo (Hawaii) and Amee Donohoe (Australia). With the new crop of girls coming up these two are going to have their hands full—but don’t count the old guard out just yet! Megan’s been doing a blog for Surfermag.com and when I razzed her about th lack of a new one she said she was working on it, with the theme being “How To Not Drink A Ton Of Beer In Australia”. Sounds like something I should read…Photo: Justin Cote

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Tuesday Feb 24

4pm We cruised back to Duranbah to check out Mick Fanning and the good guys (Ace, Parko, Dayan, Kai Otts, Kieren Perrow, Luke Egan, the Hobgoods, Timmy Reyes, etc) of the WCT as they paddled out with over 100 kids from up and down the Goldy as a way to give back to the sport that has given them so much. Read the write up HERE.

11:30am: Round two at D-Bah. More sun, more pros, and a Slater spotting. The 9-Time World Champ rocked up with five girls, including his girlfriend, right as I was leaving. I saw him get a wave on the walk up the hill and do an amazing under the lip snap. Kelly showing up early to an event? Nobody would’ve guessed that…PS It looks like Mick Fanning is having some equipment issues—I just saw him throw a brand new stick in the trash in disgust.

Kelly Slater Duranbah Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Hopefully he’s got some sunscreen on that dome…

9am: Surfed D-Bah again this morning from 5:30-6:30, yep, packed even that early. Didn’t get run over again, so that’s a good thing. Sounds like Fanning and some crew are going to teach some local groms the ins and outs of ripping later today so we’ll make sure to get some photos of that. Another absolutely beautiful day down here. Hung out with Chris “Davo” Davidson yesterday arvo at the Snapper Pub—that guy is classic! He was so amped for the contest to started he put his fingers onto his head and imitated a bull in the pen snorting and stomping. No half turns for this madman…my new favorite ‘CT’er, go Davo!—JC

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February 23: Welcome to the first installment of the Down Under Diaries! On a daily basis, we'll be reporting on and updating you as to what's happening down here. I've been here for a few days already, the rest of the crew gets here soon—something about wives, kids, mortgages, etc. slowed them down so I'm solo. Well, not exactly, it's the most crowded surf destination in the world hands down, yet when there's surf, endless lines of short interval swell (read: wave after wave) can appease thousands of frothers.—Justin Cote

Here are a few notes I've made in the last couple days…

Mick Fanning Duranbah Gold Coast

Mick Fanning this morning at Duranbah. Photo: Spencer/Stryker

Welcome to D-Bah
Paddling out this morning at 5:45 am at Duranbah—an ultra high performance beach break just over the hill from Snapper Rocks—some dipshit wearing not one, but two rashguards, webbed gloves, and booties just mowed me down. Not a rare occurrence in these parts, but c'mon, there was nobody even near the two of us! Anyway, his fin or board hit my foot underwater and I told him "Open your fucking eyes!" in a not so nice manner (for the record we don't endorse cursing at people in foreign countries but sometimes you gotta do it). The over-accessorized kook just gave me this clueless, blank stare that highlighted his incompetency. Shaking it off, I paddled well away from dufus and recounted my story to the first person that asked me "How ya goin' mate?" "Pretty well except for getting run over before even catching a wave," I told the friendly bloke. "Yep, welcome to D-Bah. mate" he replied. Screw it, I'll gladly take getting run over for some fun waves at D-Bah as it turned out to be really fun and not too crowded.

Snapper Rocks

Snapper Rocks with the Quiksilver/Roxy Pro set up at the top of the point.

The Beet Incident
While they speak English down here, there is still a bit of a language barrier. Yesterday, I was ordering a sandwich and as she was making it, the girl behind the counter said "Would you like me to throw a beet on your sandwich?" I was like, "You know what, I'll do that myself later, no thanks."

Spencer Hornby

Aussie photog Spencer Hornby isn’t afraid of a beet or two…

Spottings
The pros are starting to show up for the season-opening Quiksilver and Roxy Pro events, and I've seen Alana Blanchard every single time I've paddled out. No, I'm not stalking her, (although don't rule it out just yet) we're just on the same surf schedule apparently. By the way, Alana, you can drop in on me anytime—I'll just sit back and enjoy the view. Yesterday at D-Bah I chatted with Damien Hobgood who was with his wife and daughter, Michel Bourez (who told me about the 1,200 kilo Tiger Shark that was just caught at Teahupo'o), Kekoa Bacalso, and Jeremy Flores. The Klinger (Gabe Kling) and Zander Morton were also ripping Snapper midday with yours truly—thanks for not dropping in on the one good wave I got, Gabe! The weirdest spotting yet though is that of San Diego legend Colin Smith who is here with his wife and two kids touring the coast in a camper van. I grew up idolizing Colin—never see him at home anymore—but have been surfing with him and talking story the whole time here, thousands of miles away from Suckouts and Muffs. Go figure…

Greenmount

Greenmount in the foreground and Kirra down the way.