Sunset, Jaws, Honolua Bay and more set to run in the coming days.
If you’re a fan of competitive surfing, or even just a fan of getting on the WSL’s Facebook page and writing bitchy comments while the livestream plays, the next week is going to be a goodie.
Five events look set to run, all with major implications and at least a few of them with macking swells on offer, so get comfortable on your couches or computer chairs, there’s a good chance you could be racking up the screen time this week.
The Vans World Cup of Surfing kicked off in big, glassy conditions at Sunset this morning, and although only a few heats of Round 1 have run so far, judging by Californian Skip McCullough’s 8.17 for a deep bottom-turn to solid funnel through the infamous bowl, there’s going to be some cracking rides. This is the last event of the QS calendar, and with 10,000 points on the line and a whole lot of guys making a last ditch effort to crack next year’s world tour, it’ll be entertaining to see what the hungry and the desperate are willing to do at one of the North Shore’s unruliest waves. Throw in the myriad local specialists and a bunch of CT surfers looking to capture a Triple Crown or build momentum coming into Pipe, plus a swell that’s meant to get larger still, and we should have one the best QS events of the year on our hands.
A short plane ride away, on the island of Maui, two events are set to get underway in the next day or two. In the Beachwaver Maui Pro at Honolua Bay, Aussie Steph Gilmore will be looking to clinch a historic seventh world title, equalling Layne Beachley’s record and becoming one of only three individuals to win seven or more crowns. Steph has a comfortable lead over rival Lakey Peterson, and will need to bomb out early while Lakey wins the event, to be at any risk of having the title go down to a surf-off. The result Tracks is backing is that Steph, arguably the most stylish female surfer of all time, puts on an impeccable display of fine lines and graceful ripping at the famed right-hander to win the event and knock Beachley off her perch.
The WSL Big Wave World Tour (BWT) has issued a green alert for the Jaws contest to go ahead on Monday the 26th (Tuesday for those in Oz), with a swell in the 35-45 feet range set to light up Peahi’s hellish peak. Always a highlight of the BWT, this year’s event is made even better by the fact that the Nazare event only wrapped up a bit over a week ago and young Ulladulla hellman Russ Bierke will be there doing us all proud. Add established legends like Shane Dorian, Ian Walsh, Greg Long and Nazare winner Grant ‘Twiggy’ Baker to the mix, and we should see some incredible rides and disturbing wipeouts coming out of the place.
Finally, over in Taiwan, the World Junior Championships and World Longboard Championships will be held at Jinzun Harbor, a fairly rippable A-frame in the budding Asian surf locale. Although junior surfing seems to have lost some of the importance once placed on it, the world juniors are nonetheless a good insight into the talent coming through and who’s likely to be doing damage on the world stage in a few years. With a legendary list of past winners, including world champs like Andy Irons, Joel Parkinson and Gabriel Medina, it’ll be interesting to see which grommets are leading the charge in 2018.
So take your pick, there’s plenty to see here.