The fabulous flying circus is headed Down Under
It’s the plane ride you can’t afford to miss if you are a CT surfer from outside Australia. On March six the world’s best surfers will board a plane in Los Angeles to fly to Sydney for the reconfigured Australian leg of the CT.
Essentially, any CT surfers ( womens or mens) who are not already in Australia have to be on the plane. The chartered flight will also transport the WSL staff, taking the overall number of passengers to around 160. One wonders if there will be wild times up in the sky for the WSL flying circus? Will Joe Turpel commandeer the pilot’s PA just so that he can give his rusty vocal cords a public warm-up after so long out of the game. What if someone has a solid nudge at the in-flight bar? Will the plane be turned around? Will Kelly wake up dribbling into the shoulder of the far less famous pro he has been seated alongside?
Jokes aside, wouldn’t it be fabulous to see a WSL plane become a permanent fixture of the pro tour. Fly-in and fly-out for a swell at a range of locations around the world and smash out a comp in four days flat. Now we’re dreamin’. Is WSL’s billionaire owner Dirk Ziff willing to burn that kind of cash on his surfing hobby?
Upon arrival in Oz the entire contingent of staff and surfers will go into quarantine for two weeks. That will leave them around eleven days to get back in the water before the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona kicks off.
Insisting that a bunch of pro surfers stay indoors for a fortnight is a little like asking a mosh-pit of metal fans to sit still at a Metallica concert. Will there be a quarantine-breach scandal because someone needs their surfing fix? What if Cape Solander ( around the corner from Sydney airport) is pumping? Could John John say no to a slab like that?
In the WSL’s program ‘Getting Heated’ (a verbal spar between Mick Fanning and Ross Williams) Mick was asked whether or not the quarantine would put the travelling surfers at a disadvantage. Mick, no stranger to time on the couch with injury, was fairly adamant that it would not.
“It’s two weeks. You’ve been surfing your whole life. Two weeks isn’t going to kill you. You still get gym equipment… you can hire what you need and it gives the body a good rest… they can go and visualise, just have a bit of time off to do absolutely nothing but concentrate on themselves.”
When tennis players in the Australian Open were forced into quarantine many complained about the conditions. There was also controversy over the fact that a select group of highly ranked players were allowed to stay in more luxurious hotels. It will be curious to know if the same option is afforded to the CT elite or if a far more egalitarian approach is taken – Kelly, John John and Carissa bunking down in the same digs as their CT brethren.
Wherever the CT COVID-dodgers are posted up it’s going to be interesting to see at what point a highly-caffeinated, world champion Italo Ferreira decides it’s a good time to start practising his aerial routine by jumping off the couch with a food delivery tray. Can’t wait for the clip.