They came. They built. They rode. Some conquered, and some got conquered — that’s just the way The Snake operates.


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When most folks think of California, they think of crowds. They think of waves like Lowers, Rincon and Malibu being shoulder-to-shoulder with an amount of people so dense that it defies both logic and imagination. They think it’s impossible to escape this, so you might as well just grab a burrito and burn someone.


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Last week, Kehu Butler was on the Gold Coast with the rest of the Quiksilver team.


He was a familiar face in the waters around Coolangatta. Punting airs at D-bah. Man-hacking his way down the point at Snapper. Linking combos upon combos everywhere. But then, one day, he went missing.


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“Seeing you last year was one of the saddest things I’ve ever been through. So if anybody was going to beat me today, I’m glad it was you.”

 

That’s what Matt Wilkinson had to say to one of his best friends, Owen Wright, 20 seconds after the final horn of the 2017 Quiksilver Pro.


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