Photos by Ben Bugden @benbugdenphoto

It was a postcard perfect morning here on the Gold Coast. Gone were the clouds that hung in the air over the last few days –  the sky was clear, the water blue and the waves were pumping. On a morning like this everyone has the same idea – go surfing.

The procession started before 5am. In the inky blackness, the clacking of legropes on fibreglass filled the air as surfers ran for the point, each keen to beat the crowd and score a wave before the inevitable human soup clogged the lineup.

And it did come, big time. Before the clock had even struck six it was carpeted with bodies. Occy who was out looking for his share, was heard to say that records had been broken this morning. It has to be said that in reality, the lineup was suffocated, dangerous, frantic and completely dysfunctional. You have to wonder how much more it can take.

Still, the competitors entered the fray to warm up for today’s event, and they managed to get a few among the chaos. A standout was Mick Fanning, who seemingly managed to split the crowd at will, smashing wave after wave down the line.

It looks like another great day of competition ahead.