2012 Social Circuit - Images by Peter 'Joli' Wilson
On Surfing's Social Merry Go Around.
It’s been a busy couple of months of surfing action both in and out of the water here in Australia to start 2012.
The contest action kicked off with the Billabong World Junior Championships at Burleigh Heads, then the Breaka Burleigh Pro, the Australian Open of Surfing at Manly Beach, Sydney and then it was back to the Gold Coast for the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro.
On dry land, Pipeline legend Gerry Lopez, with good friends Wayne Lynch and filmmaker Jack McCoy were here, having traveled the east coast of Australia doing a ‘Talk Story’ book signing tour.
Lopez packed out the Surf World Gold Coast Museum for his night of reminiscing and surf stars from the past and present were in the audience to listen to this softly spoken Hawaiian ‘chat’ about surfing and his trips to Australia. He told of his first meeting with Bob McTavish in Hawaii, when Dick Brewer was just starting to shape short boards. He also commented on being amazed when he saw Wayne Lynch surf for the very first time in Australia.
The audience ranged from fellow surfing legends, Bob McTavish, Rusty Miller, Cheyne Horan, David Baddy’ Treloar through to current World tour surfers such as Dan Ross.
A few days later, at a gala function in Manly, in conjunction with the Australian Open of Surfing, Ross Clarke Jones was inducted into the Australian Surfing Hall of Fame.
Clarke Jones’s acceptance speech was the ‘best’ anyone had heard in the history of the awards. He started off slowly; a bit nervous, explaining Quiksilver had sponsored him for nearly 30 years and as he was warming up, he pulled out a pair of shorts from a plastic bag, the very first pair of Quiksilver board shorts he had ever received as a sponsored surfer to show the audience. Board shorts he might be struggling to get into today.
It didn’t take long before the big wave hell man wound up ‘roasting’ his tow-in partner, and former world surfing champion, Tom Carroll who was on stage to hand over the award.
Ross spoke for nearly 30 minutes and had the audience hooting with laughter, dead quiet, then clapping loudly at his stories and thank you. At one stage Ross stopped and asked, “Seeing as I’m being Inducted tonight, can I be
De- ducted if I don’t stop soon?’’
The night also handed out awards to Owen Wright and Sally Fitzgibbons as Male and Women ‘Surfer of the Year’. Owen’s younger sister, Tyler Wright won the Rising Star award, Jack McCoy won Nikon Surf Movie of the Year, for Deeper Shade of Blue and former world champ Barton Lynch won the Surfing Spirit Award for his work with grommets.
Within days, many of the same group of surfers and industry people were pulling on formal attire and fancy dress for the ASP World Surfing Awards, held on the Gold Coast just prior to the Quiksilver Pro, which kicks off to the 2012 world tour.
Surf stars, past, present and future walked the ‘Blue Carpet’. The unconventional character of Matt Wilkinson, better known for his ‘colorful wetsuits’ was dressed in top hat and tails with his ‘date’, filmmaker Nick Pollet dressed as a drag queen in bright red dress.
It was a huge night with Kelly Slater getting his hands on his 11th World Title trophy while Carissa More carried away her first. After the serious proceedings of trophy giving was done everyone rocked to the Australian rock band, Wolfmother.
The next morning there was change of pace but an event that will have far reaching significance for a long time to come. In a small ceremony on the top of the Greenmount headland, overlooking the Quiksilver contest site and the Superbank line up, the Queensland Governor, Ms Penelope Wensley officially declared the area encompassing the three Gold Coast point breaks of Burleigh Heads, Currumbin and Snapper Rocks –Kirra as a National Surfing Reserve; the first ASP world tour event site to ever be dedicated a National or World Surfing Reserve.
The Reserve borders are from 500 meters north of Burleigh Heads headland stretching south to Snapper Rocks on the Queensland-New South Wales border.
Former world surfing champions, Mark MR Richards and Pete PT Townsend joined National Surfing Reserve patron Rabbit Bartholomew at the ceremony.
Kelly Slater, the groups Global Ambassador and who rates Kirra as one of his most favorite waves said,
“I’m very stoked to be working alongside World Surfing Reserves to lend a voice and help ensure we honor and recognize the beaches that have brought all of us the lifestyle we love so much.”
Once the Quiksilver and Roxy Pro’s wrap up, the contest scene moves to Margaret River in Western Australian for the Telstra Drug Aware Pro Men’s Prime and Women’s Six Star event and there are a few star-studded names in amongst the heat draw. Bells Beach is the last stop in Australia for the Rip Curl Pro over the Easter break so there is plenty of action to continue both in and out of the water.