Back To Top
Beach Grit

mobile banner
banner

Mr Sunset: “Why the six-fucking-sixes?”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Gary "Kong" Elkerton unloads on paltry sleds… 

Yesterday morning, two-time Sunset winner Gary “Kong” Elkerton, unloaded on the equipment choice of competitors in this year’s event.

“10 foot plus Sunset Beach and everyone is on 6,6s sitting on the inside while 10 foot bombs are going off out the back,” Kong posted on Facebook and to, mostly, enthusiastic approval.

Kong, who is a three-time runner-up to the world title, two-time Triple Crown winner and three-times Masters world champion, is fifty-three years old and lives in the Sunshine Coast suburb of Yaroomba.

Until recently, he owned and ran a swim school, Kong for Kids, at Billinudgel on the NSW North Coast. Last year, he bought the Sunshine Coast license for what he says is a revolutionary concrete sealing biz which was developed by a Hawaiian pal, Brian Kissenberger, who he happened to bump into on the Gold Coast.

Once the decks were cleared of small talk, I said, Mr Sunset, why are you so incensed by equipment choice?

Kong groans and, momentarily, stutters.

“Oh, fuck…fuck… where do I start… I just… I just… they’re sitting on six-sixes on the inside and not paddling out the back and getting the bombs. I think Wilko might’ve read my post because he had a go on a seven-six and he showed exactly what could be done. He looked absolutely solid. I was pulling my hair out. I was frustrated, watching these twelve-to-fifteen-foot bombs out the back and guys are taking off in the whitewater and trying to get to their feet.”

Why?

“The judges need to score a wave higher if it’s caught out the back. I watched a young Hawaiian paddle way, way outside, caught a wave off the button, a goofyfooter, did three turns on the inside and got a seven. I don’t know if any of the judges have ever been out at Sunset. It’s so much more difficult negotiating that west and north swell peak out the back when it connects together. It should be merited higher. And that would change the way it’s being surfed.”

Kong puts a lot of store on Sunset. It ain’t always the most photogenic wave, although it can be, but it challenges a surfer like no other wave, he says.

“I’m still blown away that it’s only a qualifying event. Kelly’s never won there and how many times has he tried? It’s the most demanding wave on the planet, bar none.”

I ask Kong to defend his outrageous claim.

“The way the reef contour is and the manner in which the west swell connects with the north swell and it makes this surging peak. There’s so much water, a football field of water meeting together. And to get into the correct spot, to get into what the lifeguard Darrick Doerner calls The Saddle, you’ve got to have your lineups completely covered. It’s not like Pipe where you take off behind the boil to get barrelled. Equipment is everything there. And to negotiate all that, there’s no other wave on the planet like it.”

And how should the wave be ridden according to Kong?

“At that size, I’d ride an eight-o. I’d get in the saddle, negotiate the big drop, big bottom turn, fade and load up on the inside… where they’re taking off on the six-sixes.”

A dirty laugh.

“That’s what I would’ve been doing. Not saying I’d do it now.”

Watch Kong at Sunset here. 

And, here, highlights from yesterday.

Comments 0