First official day of holidays, I was so vague I wandered around the apartment achieving very little for a good hour. I felt like I was operating in slow motion, fortunately I was super keen to go to the Quicksilver Pro - just as soon as I could get myself ready and out the door. A detour to Broadbeach to collect Domi from the station then we were off to Snapper Rocks where we snapped up a parking spot just three blocks from the competition.
I couldn’t wait! Snapper is a point break which forms the first part of a man-made Superbank. It extends for a distance of about two kilometres from Snapper Rocks Point, through Rainbow Bay, Greenmount Point, Coolangatta Beach and Kirra. The Superbank is recognised as one of the most consistent breaks in Queensland so it’s little wonder it plays host to the annual Quicksilver and Roxy Pros.
There’s something about the atmosphere at a WSL Championship Tour Event, the camaraderie is palpable and it’s one of the few events where the legends of the sport walk right by you as they head out to compete.
Spectators lined the rock wall, the boulders cascading down the bank like tiered seating in a theatre. We joined the masses on the beach, others waded into the water or perched bravely on the rocks further out. An inclusive sense of anticipation and excitement rippled through the crowd, but none more so than for Heat 7 of Round 1. Jeremy Flores headed for the water first, the Frenchman, ranked 30 in the world would be up against Kelly Slater and Mick Fanning ranked 7 and 18 respectively in the opening round.
For Fanning, a near miss with a large shark while competing at Jeffreys Bay and the sudden death of his brother Peter on the eve of a world title showdown in December 2015 were rightfully cause for some time out, needless to say he was swamped by the crowd all keen to welcome his return to full-time competition.
Kelly Slater’s entrance also had the crowd’s attention, at 45 years of age he is a remarkable athlete, competing at the level he is today is a huge achievement. He turned pro at the age of 18, won his first World Tour Title at 20 and 25 years on he’s still a threat!
After he made is way down the stairs I couldn’t see much more than his bald head bobbing amongst the crowd, their arms all raised with cameras poised hoping that one of their random aerial hope for the best shots might capture his face instead of the back of someone elses head! I got plenty of the latter. Domi pointed out that it looked more like I was taking photos for the local hair salon than the surfing fraternity.
Mick Fanning pinched victory in the dying seconds, needing a 7.04 he earnt a 7.17 for his final combination to steal his way through to Round 3.
It was hot and humid so we made our way up to Casa Corona to get out of the sun for a bit. As you would expect, in terms of refreshments you could purchase either Corona, or Corona. We went for Corona and tried not to drink it like water. It was right on midday and all the spots under umbrellas were taken but at least we could sit down! The people watching was as good as the surfing. The general dress code was t-shirt or singlet, shorts and flip flops so we waited with baited breath when a woman walked in wearing stiletto heels. Providing she didn’t hurt herself (badly) I was kind of hoping they might get lodged in the decking. But it wasn’t to be.
Navigating our way out of Coolangatta was interesting. My phone may have seen too much sun because Google Maps malfunctioned and in no time at all we were nowhere near sea level and the surroundings were a luscious green colour and as dense as my GPS. We could see for miles from the windy narrow road we were on and after Maps continued to advise me that I should turn down streets that didn’t exist on street signs we decided to give the English Map lady a rest and take German Google Map instruction from Domi’s phone.
By the time Domi translated the German I missed a couple of turns, and then there were the times when she repeated the German instruction in German which would have been great if I was wanting to learn German but I just wanted to go to Woolworths!
Dan joined us for a BBQ back at the apartment. We immediately put him in charge of cooking, not wanting to be responsible for anything more than the salad after a long day in the sun, he obliged in spite of a long day at work and after a subtle “Dan, have you turned the gas on?” from us, he was away!
Nothing better than a warm night, great company, good food and wine - the perfect end to a top day!
Tip: Watch out for friendly photo-bombers, why do they never show up through the lens!