Julian Wilson and Lakey Peterson win respective gender categories at semi-awesome Kirra…
Plenty of thinking time in the scotopic light 500 yards or so out off Big Groyne Kirra this morning in the cyclone swell. Swimming, blue foamy racing in the rip up to North Kirra. Lots of water moving. Thick beasts unloading on the Big Groyne part of the sandbar.
A day for Kirra Specialists, thought I, or dumb luck from rank virgins.
It is a wave for specialists and with Kelly a no-show, Mick, Joel and Steph out the closest thing to a specialist left in the draw was Julian Wilson.
Obscene screams woke me in the dark. A fox in the henhouse? I ran outside with a headlamp and found a python strangling a bat. By the time I’d loaded the Camry the snake was gone and the dead bat lay prone on the ground. I read as a bad portent.
Owen failed to load, Ace spiked a couple medium-sized waves for an easy win in the first heat of the day. The last time the comp ended with a Kirra final day was way back in 2013, the last great Year of the Kelly Era, at the start of the Speaker reign and before pro surfing was even a twinkle in Sophie Goldschmidt’s eye. Kelly’s “honeypot” strategy netted him multiple ten-point rides and a memorable final ride with priority against a bird flipping Parko.
You recall, surely.
Heat two of the quarters featured no Kirra specialists and exposed a gap in Filipe’s resume for World Champ. He couldn’t best Tomas Hermes, who wouldn’t have made a heat of the Kirra Surfriders club round. Kelly would have watched in horror.
From the front bar of the Kirra surf club the good old boys enjoyed Wilson’s easy win over M-Rod and erupted for Griff’s triple banger ten-pointer. It was a wave that rescued the morning from unflattering comparisons with 2013. “Fucken Mick woulda been getting’ them all fucken day long maate!” said a florid-faced bloke beside me from between magnificently mottled jowls.
Wilson/Colapinto, Ace/Hermes Semi’s. Not a Finals roster anyone in their right mind could have foreseen.
Do you have a favourite Kirra Specialist?
You might think of Michael Peterson or Wayne “Rabbit” Bartholomew maybe Kelly “Willie” Slater.
Or, if you live locally, Sean “Reg” Riley, Neal Purchase Jnr, Jason “China” O’Connor or Nick Vasicek might come to mind. My fav is an unknown Kiwi guy named Gizza I shared a tenement in Surfers Paradise with. A small-time eccy and weed dealer Gizza had an unholy love of Kirra that he would sacrifice anything to consummate. One golden afternoon with Kirra pumping we all piled into a Valiant Safari and headed to Kirra, Gizza’s heavily pregnant gal included. She had a doctor’s appointment and Gizza was expected to attend. Outside the Doc’s on a seedy part of the Palm Beach strip she piled out and eyeballed our Kiwi anti-hero, “Come on Gizza, lets go”.
Gizza sat as still as a buddha and uttered the immortal words, “Hey babe, all I know is Kirra’s pumping and I’m out there.”
We drove off with his gal screaming at the top of her lungs, “Fuck you, fuck you Gizza!”
I don’t know if it was worth it for Giz. Six months later he was dead in a bathtub.
It’s that kind of wave.
I couldn’t have picked Ace Buchan to final at the Quik Pro despite insanely sharp, error-free, high-drifting hooks on his backhand. It just always seemed like someone better would topple him. But no-one did. And he kept air-dropping into kegs and making waves, to meet Julian in the Final.
Australia’s second-best ever PM Paul Keating famously said “You change the Prime Minister, you change the country.”
As for PM’s so for pro surfing CEO’s. Rabbit Bartholomew birthed the Dream Tour and presided over the Kelly/Andy rivalry, what historians in future will refer to as the Golden Age of Pro Surfing. He was the last True Believer to head the organisation. Brodie Carr fended off a Rebel Tour and rewrote contracts to appease Kelly Slater.
In his zeal to create private stadiums out of public space, Paul Speaker launched aggressive ambit claims over everything that happened at a WSL event. The atmosphere created was authoritarian and oppressive, a heavy hand on the shoulder always seemed nearby for freelancers like me, maybe rendition to a secret black ops WSL re-education centre.
Clueless by her own admission she is what writer Tim Winton calls a “citizen in a strange world.” But she has loosened the program up. The ambit claims seem a little less obvious, maybe because she realises they are unenforceable and reliant on the goodwill of democratically elected institutions who hand out taxpayer-funded permits. Permits that can be denied.
But, more likely, because Sophie’s reign has a technological “Final” solution to the untameable ocean. With the tub comes the stadium and the timetable, the broadcast, the tickets, all the things that have eluded the sport so far. You can see why she would loosen her grip on “ocean” surfing and embrace the wave system. The fractured sport she creates will be her legacy and all the King’s horses won’t be able to put the pieces together again.
The gamble to hold off the event for a couple hours paid off massively after an epic final between J-Dub and Ace. Ace was comboed once, then twice, after Julian ducked and weaved through sandy caverns, the first of which was a ten all day long. Ace kept fighting deserving the mantle of Kirra specialist but Julian was too strong, too good.
Couldn’t have picked the men’s final but it would have been a travesty if Lakey Peterson didn’t hoist the trophy. She dominated a one-sided final.
If beauty is truth and truth is beauty then the great deceiver Satan himself must have created Queensland to spite God because no-one ages uglier and happier than a Queenslander.
No-one sacrifices more to ride the most gorgeous tubes on earth. Their youth, their beauty, gone in a blur of blue-water tubes and alcoholic excess.
Except Julian Wilson. He’ll be beautiful for ever.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.43
2 – Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.10
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.00 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 9.17
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.77 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.66
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.50 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 2.50
QF 2: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 8.73 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.33
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.44 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.00
QF 4: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 16.43 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.44
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Final Results:
1 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.67
2 – Keely Andrew (AUS) 5.67
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 11.00 def. Malia Manuel (HAW) 8.33
Heat 2: Keely Andrew (AUS) 7.50 def. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6.77
2018 WSL Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast):
1 -Julian Wilson (AUS) 10,000 pts
2 – Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7,800 pts
3 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 6,085 pts
3 – Tomas Hermes (BRA) 6,085 pts
2018 Women’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Roxy Pro Gold Coast):
1 -Lakey Peterson (USA) 10,000 pts
2 – Keely Andrew (AUS) 7,800 pts
3 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 6,085 pts
3 – Malia Manuel (HAW) 6,085 pts