One of the more extraordinary days of surfing you will ever see. The final day of the Quiksilver Pro at Snappper Rocks turned on something that will be remembered by all who saw it until they become worm food at the local cemetery. The first event of the new ASP season went down in epic waves, and gave hints that this may yet be surfing’s greatest year.
The morning dawned dark and ominous as black clouds encircled the famed Queensland pointbreak. The surf, whipped up by a howling overnight southerly, had jumped to a solid four-to-five foot, and the early signs weren’t that good. Most of the sets were missing the bank, turning into big, ugly burgers. There were little signs of the amazing day’s surfing that was to follow. This ugly duckling was about to become a swan.
“Formerly mushy wide sets were suddenly hugging the bank, and within the hour Snapper was transformed into a work of art”
The go button was pressed as contest organisers were worried about what was going to happen on the downside of this swell, and the remainder of round four was thrown out into the confusing and sometimes frustrating lineup. With the tide on the rise, barrels became hard to find. They also, it turns out, became hard to see.
It was raining cats and cars, “pissing down” as they’d say in these parts, dropping a couple of inches in a couple of hours. Tour rookie Jeremy Flores surfed against fellow rookie Josh Kerr in a low-scoring heat that even the judges were having trouble seeing. The first controversy of the ASP season wasn’t far away. After losing the heat, Jeremy, the French/Reunion Islander/Aussie enfant terrible, came in swearing in several languages. He was claiming that the judges had missed a barrel of his behind the rock that would have given him the win. The judges went back through their video replay – being used for the first time on a full-time basis here at Snapper – and found nothing. However, when one of the tapes of the webcast cameras was rewound there it was – a sick, throaty pit that may have just given him the win. All sorts of brouhaha erupted with talks of re-surfs even going down, but when the dust settled and the swearing quieted to a dull roar, the result stood and Kerrsy was through to the quarters.
Fortunately, the bullshit ended there, and the surfing began. As the tide dropped at the end of round four and the contest put on hold, a strange thing began to happen. Formerly mushy wide sets were suddenly hugging the bank, and within the hour Snapper was transformed into a work of art. Draining wormholes breaking behind the rock and running for hundreds of metres down the point. The surfers needed little convincing that the event had to be run here and now.