A word with the world number 5

Stu Nettle picture
Stu Nettle (stunet)
Talking Heads

A few months ago, people were unsure how to pronounce his surname or knew where he came from.

Now, Morgan Cibilic - pronounced 'si-bill-ik' if you're still wondering - 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.

Morgs has been on the nightly news a number of times, his Colgate smile and unaffected charm winning over groms and suburban housewives alike.

Swellnet caught up with young MC a day after coming second to Gabriel Medina in the Rip Curl Search event at Rottnest Island.

Swellnet: This is your first year on the CT. What goal did you set for yourself at the start of the year?
Morgan Cibilic: Well, me and Bottle [Morgs' coach, Jay 'Bottle' Thompson] were talking and our original goal was to get inside the Top 22, obviously, but really it was to get top 10. That was our main goal - the ultimate goal, but the worse case scenario was that I manage to re-qualify.

In your answer, you said your 'original goal', so I assume you've updated it?
Ha ha...yeah. Now we're aiming for the top 5, but the worst case scenario is top 10...hopefully.

You're sitting in fifth place at the monent after catching fire through the Aussie leg. Do you feel like you're surfing better than normal?
Yes and no. In Newcastle, I definitely felt like I was surfing really good and my board was feeling really, really amazing. Then on the West Coast it felt like it wasn't actually clicking. At Rottnest, I honestly felt like I didn't put together one good wave in the whole comp.

Strickos is a tricky old wave, isn't it?
Yeah. I felt like I didn't do my best surfing over there, not even close, but at the same time, I had some good heats, had good heat strategy, and I knew my boards were solid. Despite not surfing great, I was feeling good.

Let's talk about the Final for a moment. Through the heat, did Gabriel Medina talk to you at all?
No, nothing. Not a word.

What about at the end of the Final? Did he respond to you then?
Yeah. He was just like, "Oh, unlucky. That was an unfortunate heat. The waves were just average."

Gabriel started the final boosting for the stratosphere. Did you see him go for that big air?
Yeah. Sure did.

And what were your thoughts when you saw him do that?
Just, "Oh, holy shit." But then he fell, so I was like, "That's good."

So you knew he was going to go for it. He was going to pull out all the stops.
Yeah, but it wasn't a surprise. He's never, ever going to back down or play it safe.

With about 15 minutes to go, Gabriel got a left, and he rolled in off the whitewash. The very next wave you also went to roll in off the whitewash, but then you pulled back to retain priority. Do you recall the wave I'm talking about?
Yeah. I think I needed an 8.5 and that wave just wasn't going to allow me on my backhand to get an 8.5.

It didn't have as much of a wall on it; didn't run off like Gabriel's did. So you held onto priority after that. In hindsight, is there anything you'd do differently from that point?
I guess so, but really, there's nothing that I could have changed in the heat at the time. If I had have gone that first exchange and gotten that first solid score, then he would have been in the predicament that I was and wouldn't have got another set.

You had the rough end of the priority cycle..?
Yep. Yeah. You can't just gift Gabriel priority. So there's honestly not much I feel I could have done, because the ocean just went quiet after that. If there had have been sets, which were coming through regularly before my heat and then after it, I felt confident that I was in the position to get the score.

Now, the next event is at Surf Ranch. Have you ever surfed in Kelly's tub?
No, I haven't.

What are your plans? Get over there early and book some sessions? Is that even possible..?
I've got a few training sessions that start on the 13th, I think. [Editor's Note: The Surf Ranch Pro starts on the 18th June]

So I'll probably go on the 12th or the 13th and try and get there for those.

And have you got a strategy going into it, different boards perhaps?
No, pretty similar. I'm a pretty little fellow, so I'll fit in the pocket anyway.

I'm going to get a couple of boards that are a bit smaller, but I'm going to bring over my magic stick from the East...

The one you rode at Narrabeen...?
Yeah. I rode it at Newcastle and Narrabeen. That could maybe be one of the boards that I ride. I haven't decided yet, and I've got a bunch of boards coming, yet there'll all going to be similar to that. I can try them out at Greenmount and stuff, which would be pretty similar to the wave pool.

OK, moving right along. You've already left Rottnest, you're back on the Gold Coast now, are you?
Yep.

Got any particular plans for the coming swells?
I don't know yet, I'll have a suss when it comes, just cruise down and check it out. Probably surf somewhere along here. Anywhere that's going to be fun, I guess. I just want to have some fun surfs now. I'd rather get a bit loose and not risk hurting myself.

Well, there are days of waves coming, so you've got lots of time to get loose.
It looks good, doesn't it?

Sure does. All the best, Morgs.
Cheers for that, bye bye.

 

Comments

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 8:28am

Good luck Morgs.

One of the best parts of Postcards was when the Ripcurl salesman loaded the other legends up with gear and insisted on Morgs paying $10 for a shitty pair of socks. Funny stuff.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 9:08am

he's a gem.

Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67's picture
Surfalot67 Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 9:27am

Doing us proud Morgs!

loungelizard's picture
loungelizard's picture
loungelizard Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 9:37am

winning over "suburban dads" too. love his surfing and approach

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 9:51am

Comes across as a good bloke too.

"I'm a pretty little fellow" - he didn't use those words, did he Stu?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 10:08am

Yep, those exact words. Keep in mind he said 'pretty' as in 'fairly little fellow', he wasn't commenting upon his looks.

braudulio's picture
braudulio's picture
braudulio Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 10:10am

To be fair coulda gone either way

Pops's picture
Pops's picture
Pops Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 10:24am

Yeah, got the drift... thought you might have been paraphrasing "short c..."!
Much more polite than I'd have expected.

Dannon's picture
Dannon's picture
Dannon Friday, 28 May 2021 at 7:21pm

What a farkin legend

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 9:53am

I asked him what the tide was doing at Narrabeen one morning, didn’t have a clue who he was. I was in my undies because I forgot my board shorts. When he didn’t know what the tide was doing I said “well you got the look, but no idea”. It was said in jest, but I feel kinda silly now I know who he is!

Dan87's picture
Dan87's picture
Dan87 Friday, 28 May 2021 at 9:27pm

Hahaha fucking gold!
I went to sea world with my young bloke just after the Narrabeen comp. He was waiting in line with, bottle and matt mcg. I finally came up next to him in the line and told him he had ripped in the comp. He was wearing a big green kids mask and just started pissing himself laughing. Ps. He is tiny!

MRsinglefin's picture
MRsinglefin's picture
MRsinglefin Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 10:17am

He is a good human. Early years with Baddy, Nav, Laurie, Jeremy, Will etc. Later years with Slime crew in Newy: Mick, Tim, MR

Groper's picture
Groper's picture
Groper Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 6:47pm

+ great parents.

MRsinglefin's picture
MRsinglefin's picture
MRsinglefin Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 7:32pm

Totally agree

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 10:20am

You really said that to a stranger Billie??

You've missed your calling as a diplomat.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 11:25am

He was probably gob-smacked cause Billies 'undies' were actually a lime green g-string and he had it on back to front.

AndyM's picture
AndyM's picture
AndyM Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 11:46am

One shrivelled little sultana on one side and one shrivelled little sultana on the other.

seaslug's picture
seaslug's picture
seaslug Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 6:30pm

and one tiny cocktail frankfurt in between

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 6:35pm

Since my STD infection, the left is larger and looser

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 6:37pm

ohhh

simba's picture
simba's picture
simba Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 11:45am

thats what zens pictured in his mind ......nurse!

andy-mac's picture
andy-mac's picture
andy-mac Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 12:36pm

Hope he does well, really enjoyed watching him surf!

Bing Gibson's picture
Bing Gibson's picture
Bing Gibson Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 12:51pm

go morgs, bringing the power and rail back !

and media presence present a very humble character.

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 12:58pm

How are the aussie guys going to the pool getting back to Aus when the rest of us can't travel?

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 1:39pm

Quarantine on return, I suppose.

That's not till early September for crew outside the top 5 and later the same month for the frontrunners who'll surf at Trestles.

Potentially four months away.

iamlegend's picture
iamlegend's picture
iamlegend Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 1:44pm

Maybe they are all waxinated?

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 2:04pm

Go Morgs.

Having a decent shot at life.

memlasurf's picture
memlasurf's picture
memlasurf Thursday, 27 May 2021 at 2:18pm

I wonder if he went to that centre of excellence thingy up that way? It seems to have been incredibly successful at churning out an untold number of world beaters thus far. The Brazilian academy has it covered though I feel.

benjis babe's picture
benjis babe's picture
benjis babe Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 4:41pm

hahaha

Standingleft's picture
Standingleft's picture
Standingleft Friday, 28 May 2021 at 8:28am

Won my respect with a fully committed backhand. I wonder if us all didn't hamstring this generation a bit. Anyone who tried an air got 'nice one Fil, you claiming it?' . Their power game will pay off in Hawaii, maybe not in the GOAT's locomotive abomination. Enjoy the tour young guns but beware, that pool is full of snakes

angatta cool's picture
angatta cool's picture
angatta cool Friday, 28 May 2021 at 9:52am

One day hell never be close to Gabes level

Hiccups's picture
Hiccups's picture
Hiccups Friday, 28 May 2021 at 10:52am

Trolling not going so well on BG Bex?

angatta cool's picture
angatta cool's picture
angatta cool Friday, 28 May 2021 at 11:13am

Au contraire herr Hiccups
Tre magnifique!!
It's Gmed level.

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 4:07pm

Are we in the presence of BG royalty? Nice.

Troppo's picture
Troppo's picture
Troppo Friday, 28 May 2021 at 7:44pm

There's something about this guy... can't put my finger on it just yet... but I reckon he will go alright!!!
Got all the right ingredients - and a healthy dose of Aussie fighting spirit that seems to be seriously lacking in many of his counterparts these days.
Give 'em hell Morgs - and have a good time while you are at it!

tonyg's picture
tonyg's picture
tonyg Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 2:36pm

What a great story, coming from nowhere getting stuck in, go get em Morgs!!

velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno's picture
velocityjohnno Saturday, 29 May 2021 at 4:09pm

Go for it Morgs! Awesome backhand, strong backhand is a mark of prestige

greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams's picture
greg-n.williams Monday, 31 May 2021 at 8:34pm

Met Morgs @ boomers nice unassuming young ripper! Well done mate,congrats & good luck for the rest of your career.