Flyer: A Leg Up For The Young MC
Well that’s it for the Aussie leg of the Championship Tour.
Four contests, as opposed to the usual three, with only one of them - Margaret River - being a regular tour stop. The rest of the contests were flung together at the last minute to avoid pro surfing from spinning its wheels for yet another year.
In a way it was like an ASP tour of yore, when there were sixteen contests one year, twenty the next, and fourteen after that, so the surfers often rocked up to places they’d never surfed before, nor would again.
Now Rottnest Island can join the list of one hit wonders that includes Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina, where Cheyne Horan won the Record Bar Pro, and even closer to home, Trigg Point, where Tom Curren won the Philishave Tracer Pro in November 1985 (Perth in November?!)
A few commenters tried to provide context to the unusual Aussie leg, saying the surf, which was sometimes less than stellar, was a further sign of tour decay, while others pointed to the new locations and said it was a fresh start for pro surfing.
Me, I reckon it was neither of those things. This year’s tour is unprecedented, yet nor will it set a precedent. It was simply a response to COVID. And like many responses to COVID - our State and Federal governments for instance - it provides no clues to the future.
Once all this rubbish ends, the lockdowns, the uncertainty, and the hysteria, life will return to its usual rhythm, the Championship Tour included.
What this unusual Aussie leg did reveal was a surfer with a fantastic future, who surprised everyone with his leap into the limelight. Unlike many CT surfers, Morgan Cibilic wasn’t a feted junior; his rise through the ranks wasn’t heavily documented via big sponsorship and early fame.
Yet Morgs has arrived on the scene as a fully-formed CT surfer.
Tour rookies, even those who've been pegged as world-beaters since they were kids, often take a few years to realise they're worthy of being on tour. Meanwhile, Morgs rocked up out of the blue, took down two-time world champion John John Florence, and didn't blink when he faced off against Gabriel Medina, another two-time champ.
Best of all was the way he carried himself: confident without being cocky. He didn’t give an inch in battle, and was generous in post-heat interviews.
While this year’s Championship Tour is an experiment in expedience - the contests cobbled together at the last minute - Morgan Cibilic’s place on it appears more solid, and I reckon I’m not the only one who’ll be cheering him on.
('The Flyer' is Swellnet's weekend newsletter that gets sent to all subscribers and occasionally gets posted on the site too.)
A word with the world number 5
A few months ago, people were unsure how to pronounce his surname or knew where he came from. Now, Morgan Cibilic is rated fifth in the world, making him Australia's highest ranked surfer on the Men's Championship Tour - higher than our Olympic qualifiers Owen Wright and Julian Wilson.
Enjoy this short chat with Morgs. Read More >
The East Coast has every swell window open
This week, the East Coast has been bombarded by swell from all directions, giving Craig good reason to don the scientists hat and get analysing. I imagine it would be enjoyable reading, especially if you're an East Coaster and not out of the water with broken bones. Read More >
Contact Proof: Mike Woning
Artists that you should know? Meet a Dutch surfer who started surfing late, and painting even later, but has since taken a deep dive into both worlds. Read More >
Photos: Across the 'Way
Want more visual excitement? Here, Chris Peel documents a stellar session during a gluttonous run of swell. Read More >
Watch: Lucky escape at the Tweed Bar
Look at the cat get dragged in! Captain Kyle Webb gets caught on the wrong side of an eight foot set while picking his way across the Tweed River Bar. The near-disaster caught on Swellnet's surf camera Read More >