Tweed Coast Pro, Day Two: "A Bird's Eye View From The Jetski"
The problem with covering a contest that’s just down the road is that it’s gonna be held when conditions are good at your local. Thus groomed empty peaks greet your correspondent as he takes his pooch down to Third Ave for her morning constitutional.
I must report this elderly, but still spritely, Oz Terrier/Jack Russell-cross chooses to take multiple small shits rather than one consolidated dump. And as I return for the third time to the placcy bag dispenser, musing on my companion’s Tardis-like digestive tract, I see three distinct A-Frames looking about as fun as this usually ornery beachie gets.
Ah well, no time for surfing, there’s a Finals Day to cover!
Yesterday’s comp was a good spectacle, but I’m thinking: how much of that was merely fondness created by six months’ absence? How’s today gonna hold up?
And when the last surfer’s left standing, be they seasoned campaigner or exciting new prospect, will it feel like it means anything?
Turns out I’m glad to log on from the start, as early proceedings are unexpectedly cool, with Juraki’s big fella Joel Slabb talking story – from the Fingal creation story to daughter Jalaan Slabb’s burgeoning shaping career.
The way all the Juraki gear has been worked into this event has been really well done I reckon, so gold star to Oz Woz for getting it right.
Gotta say, the jury’s out on the Otis Carey-created trophies though. Didn’t get a real good look at ‘em, to be fair, but it would appear the directive might have come from Santa Monica for the Ranch Rumble trophies (Paddle Pop stick construction, designed and assembled by Erik Logan himself) not to be eclipsed by Otis’ effort.
Another Woz wobble: yesterday, the commentary proudly noted the COVID precautions in place as surfers ran up the beach untroubled by autograph and selfie seekers. Today there’s arms around fans posing for snaps and lots of texta work on T-shirts. No biggie IMO, just some textbook Woz inconsistency.
The Gal’s quarters kick off in sheet glass conditions that send the Blakey bros into paroxysms about the magic of the North Coast. I dunno, maybe all this waxing utopian might be a little hard to take for locked down Melburnians right now?
And so a point off for flogging an already chockers North Coast, and a point deducted for every time Rick refers to the “bird’s eye view from the jetski” – three in total. (Unless he’s doing it for a bet, in which case, add three points).
Two quick notes from the unfolding gals QFs:
- Steph’s style, timing and technique make it look like her opponents have a mild palsy by comparison.
- Sal versus Tyler is a great light and dark battle. Tyler’s weight-of-the-world rail power and slide versus Sally’s how-good’s-life-and-Almond-Breeze whip and pop. Power prevails.
The blokes QFs provide an opportunity to rhapsodise about Ethan Ewing some more. Owen Wilson’s* in very good form in heat two, but E.E totally owns him. Simply watching Ewing’s flow – weighting and unweighting as little Adder Rock-esque runners slide by underfoot – is incredibly seductive.
How mercurial is Ewing? By comparison both Robbo and Jules in the following heat look slightly frantic and ampy.
By the end of the quarters the northerly has the lineup in a gentle chokehold, and maybe one of the limitations of the much vaunted two-day strike mission reveals itself. Given that tomorrow morning will be a similar size out of the east and super clean, imagine if there’d been the option to run the semis and finals first thing Tuesday in ace conditions, instead of the post-midday crumblefest we’re now seeing.
But as we come down to the pointy end, I have to say the Tweed Coast Pro gets a thumbs up from Ding Alley.
Sure it’s just a domestic field, and there’s no points or titles on the line, so the intensity can only be lacking, but from a deskbound spectator’s POV I’m getting a solid fix of quality competition surfing beamed to me for nix, and if anything, that lack of consequence frees up the performance. And I don’t think the lack of crowds on the beach dilutes the sense of occasion one bit – at least not on the webcast.
You only have to hear perennial frother Sal in the booth as the first girl’s semi winds down, with a mid-range score required and a set approaching, to know it’s clear the surfers aren’t phoning it in. A comp’s a comp. It’s what these guys do.
And so we’ve got a fun two days packaged with the slick broadcast values of the Woz, a commentary team that outperforms their septic counterparts… I dunno… Am I getting carried away? Was the Ranch Rumble just so shite that this comp shines disproportionately?
Nah, Ding Alley might be new to this connest review caper, but the Oz Grand Slam’s off to a good start. It works. Credit where credit’s due to the Woz.
OK, old mate Ethan keeps his sultan of smooth run going through Semi One, and if anything, the easterly ruffles just make him look even more buttery**.
Matty McGillivray somehow beats Jack Robbo. There’s undoubtedly some really good strategy lessons for Jack-Be-Nimble here, farked if I know what they are but.
In the Gals’ final: Steph looked a little tuckered out and so onya to Tyler the Unstoppable.
I’m not alone feeling a bit let down to be robbed of a Robbo / Ewing final, but props to Matty for the tenacity and heat craft that gets him here.
Ethan wins the day. Thank Christ!
Speaking of Christ – with no pious ‘zilla Catholics present, there’s been a distinctly secular vibe to the post-heat interviews and we’re none the poorer for it.
Bring on Straddie and Margies I say, and you can bet the crew involved in upcoming exhibition events in France and Brazil etc have been paying attention too.
Good old burgery Caba. Comes through with a win for the Woz!
Who’da thought eh?
// DING ALLEY
**Ding Alley uses the word ‘buttery’ deliberately to highlight the wonderful absence of this and similarly annoying terms in the commentary.