One local heavyweight goes under the wheels while another rides the home advantage to first place.
A little quiz. Who are the best surfers at Snapper? Didn't even have to think about it, did you? Mick. Joel. Taj. And who was the surfer, just 20 years old, who mowed through these three surfers at Snapper?
Yeah, Gabriel Medina. Joel might've been a steamroller all through the event and through two-thirds of the final, but even with all the intention in the world for contests to reward radical, beautiful surfing, eight turns on a wave will always beat three and a tube.
Gabriel thanked an interventionist god for his decision to move down the point, but he should be thanking man's natural instinct to reward pattern and repetition over minimalist perfection.
Meanwhile in the Roxy Pro, Stephanie morphed from guitar-swinging groovie to shoot-anything super competitor. Stephanie killed South African rookie Bianca Buitendag in the final but it was the defeat of world champ Carissa Moore in the semi-final that sealed her game. "I had something to prove," said Stephanie.
Honorable mention: Joel Parkinson. Swing into the highlights of the final and you'd find it hard to believe that a man who tubed deeper than any surfer all week, whose turns were cover shots, could possibly lose. And how about Carissa Moore and Lakey Peterson. Proved that gals aren't the poor cuz of the men.
Unexpected triumph: The new-look ASP with its on-beach panel and commentators. And even though the otherwise velour-tonsilled Martin Potter got a little lazy in the booth and started calling every half-assed cut-down "massive" or "innovative" and even if the webcast has a few more glitches than last year, you know it'll improve.
Rookie surprise: Mitch Crews. Who knew he had so much rail to deliver!