When you’re a grommet and you find out you’re going to be sponsored, it’s pretty much a dream come true. When you’re a sponsored grommet and you’re flown to the Quik Pro for two weeks to sit in the Snapper lineup and be sprayed in the face by world champions, be given tips on what it’s like being a pro surfer by Jeremy Flores and Freddy P and have a professional photographer teach you how to get the sickest shot, that’s just next level. Kehu Butler from New Zealand, Lennox Shell from Avoca, Rio Waida from Indonesia, Kael Walsh from Western Australia and Marco Mignot from France have been living the dream and now they've got the taste of life on tour, there's no turning back.
Round 1 of the Quik Pro kicked off at 8am today with Brett Simpson taking the first wave soon after the starter horn in heat 1 against Joel Parkinson and Miguel Pupo. Parko took out the heat with 15.16.
Freddy Patacchia had a great start to the comp winning heat 3 with a score of 17.06 against Kelly Slater’s 14.43 and CJ Hobgood’s 12.50.
John John Florence took out the first high score of the day in heat 4 with a 9.70.
Vibes were high at the opening party of the Coolangatta Boardriders store last night - it was the combination of our Quiksilver and Roxy team riders stoking out hundreds of grommets and surf fans at a signing, LeeAnn Curren’s band Betty the Shark and Brisbane band Orphan Orphans channelling the perfect mix of Jim Morrison and Ian Curtis, and the anticipation of the Pro kicking off today.
Matt Banting really is about to get his first taste of living fast in the world's highest level of competitive surfing. 2015 is gonna be the best kind of blur for the kid, but while most rookies show up to their first event with a wobbly jaw and star blinding each eye, Matt wears only rose-coloured lenses and a leisurely grin. Noteworthy facts? He isn't trying to grow up too fast. He's enjoying the ride. And, he's a beast of consistency. This edit, from Jimmy Graham, is part message to future opponents, part re-introduction to the world, and top to bottom surfing fire. It's gonna be a good year.
PS. John John and Julian's alley oop records could be in a shade o' danger.
If you’re lucky enough to be at the Gold Coast between February 28 and March 11, there’s more than the first event of the 2015 WSL World Championship to watch
The pros will be back in action with the first men's Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour event of the year at Snapper Rocks, kicking off on February 28 to March 11.