Flyer: A Leg Up For The Young MC

Stu Nettle
Flyer

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.

- Stu

('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 >

Comments

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 4:02pm

"Philishave Tracer Pro in November 1985 (Perth in November?!)"

Please tell me there's footage of this... it was said the banks at Triggs and Scarb were better in the 80s. If not, it would be interesting to watch Curren try it

And the tour was great for the young Aussie talent that got a go. Morgs' was really impressive.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 4:27pm

It's too late to dig around in the back of the shed today, so I'll have a look for mags tomorrow, VJ.

I do, however, have this VHS copy of the 'Swan Premium World Surfing Super Series' held at Trigg in April '86.

I may even have it digitised, but if so it'll be down the office and I won't check till Monday.

From memory it was nice and clean, but very small, in the mornings, and looked like Port Phillip Bay in a sou'wester in the arvos.

Which was a bit of a shame for an event the promoters said was comparable to the NFL Superbowl or the FIFA World Cup.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 9:05pm

Amazing. And it led me to find this gem, possibly the year later (1987?) as the competing teams appear to be a bit different to your pic above, but fark what a video...

Can definitely see where the Superbowl and World Cup comparisons come from.

Fair bit going on in this vid. Includes a glimpse into the WAGs of pro surfers in '87. Also some quiver talk with Todd Holland. And a surfboard shaping tutorial.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 4:38pm

Whack that thing on YouTube would you Stu?

It’ll make my oldies nostalgically hark back to the days when I felt strangely compelled to rehire it from the local video shop every Friday night for about 6 weeks.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 5:09pm

Thanks Stu! To give you a bit of inspiration to do so, I think I can see some early 80's Scarb/North Scarb in this magnificent footage:

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 7:45pm

Ha ha! I used to play golf regularly with my old boss who was Greg Normans doppelganger, the similarity was uncanny. Thing is, he was hopeless- worst clunky swing, all over the shop. So many times we'd be on the course and you'd hear in hushed tones, "fark, Normans here, that's Greg Norman!" Thing is, as soon as he swung at the ball and the football-sized divot plopped about 5 metres in front of him, people would shake their heads, try to muffle their snickers and resume their own games. I'm sure it used to do my partners head in.

Redeemed himself once- got a hole-in-one at Royal Oaks in match play. We couldn't believe it. Was so foggy that day and he managed to get off the tee. Looked for his ball everywhere. Fucker had holed out and he didn't even realise it. So his name is on the board in the clubhouse. Good times.

Oh yeah- Go Morgs!

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 7:33pm

Go Morgs! Secondly does Jack Robbo really belong on the CT? I’m not convinced.

lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy's picture
lostdoggy Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 7:45pm

If it was all barrel locations, probably.
Turns and air locations, probably not.

nicko74's picture
nicko74's picture
nicko74 Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 8:27pm

True, however the MC v Medina finals prove that to compete at that level it’s essential to be competitive in all conditions

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 9:57pm

I can't believe you've got that on VHS, Stu. Perhaps you should offer tours of that back shed at $5 a head. Must be a veritable cornucopia of surf-associated surf schlock. 10 points.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Sunday, 30 May 2021 at 5:22pm

Bit more digging around in the shed today. Sometimes I forget what's there.

Sun newspaper centrespreads for the Coke Surf Classic. At the time, the Sun was Sydney's highest most-read newspaper.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Sunday, 30 May 2021 at 5:31pm

I loved surfing like I was fit to burst back then. Nothings changed.

Cheers Stu.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Sunday, 30 May 2021 at 5:35pm

One more...

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Sunday, 30 May 2021 at 5:46pm

Another world back then.

udo's picture
udo's picture
udo Sunday, 30 May 2021 at 5:51pm

Farkn Gold Pagey

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Sunday, 30 May 2021 at 6:00pm

Different times eh?

tango's picture
tango's picture
tango Sunday, 30 May 2021 at 8:43pm

Oh stop it.

Different times, all right.

Never could get my head around Kong's dropping of Kong. That magic cream puff tree in Kong's Island was about as good as it gets, closely followed by the Quik poster of "If you can't rock n roll....Don't fucken come". I've got it on the shed wall.

theolderIgetthebetterIwas's picture
theolderIgetthebetterIwas's picture
theolderIgetthe... Monday, 31 May 2021 at 6:45am

a buck twenty tracks was back when I started. Colour cover - all BW interior and no staple. I say this because I'm sure that's where the pagey article was from
Lash Clone was seriously out there and I loved it without really getting it all

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Monday, 31 May 2021 at 7:41pm

Great pics Stu. The water moving on Shaun's board in that pic, wow.