The signs are not looking good on the eve of the first event of the WSL season.
After coping an onslaught of swell from ex-tropical cyclone Winston, the Snapper Rocks bank isn’t in great shape ahead of the Quiksilver Pro. “It’s bad that’s for sure. There is no sand behind the rock at the moment and there is a hole at the furthest stage of the rocks,” said Gold Coast photographer Simon 'Swilly' Williams who has observed the sand movement all summer.
The news comes on the eve of the WSL season opener, which kicks off this Thursday.
Swilly believes a persistent pattern of easterly swell after Winston has left the bank full of holes and no where near the perfection it was just weeks ago. However, he concedes with a few days of sand pumping it might not take long to recreate the designer bank.
“But saying that it isn’t going to take it too long to fill up. All they need is a good southerly swell coming around the corner to bring the sand in.”
Unfortunately there is none on the cards and to make matters worse contest organisers are starring down the barrel of a forecast that looks less than promising with a pattern of small-to-medium east swell and ESE winds throughout the waiting period.
“It looks very average,” added Williams. “I talked to Rod Brooks [Quiksilver event organiser] this morning and he said they were going to run the hell out of it in the first four days.”
A bank riddled with holes, a small forecast is anyone else feeling a sense of déjà vu? Seabird Brooks first asked whether Huey would come to party after the dream run of swell surfers experienced in February, offering up this observation:
"Instagram and the like are alive at the moment with photos and clips from the famous Queensland stretch, and what we’re seeing is pretty damn impressive—seven barrels on one wave, ten-second tunnels, drone angles of the perfectly groomed sand and enough Mick Fanning footage to fill a 60 Minutes sequel. But the question starting to form on everybody’s lips is, what’s going to happen once the Quiky Pro comes to town?"
"If the last two years are anything to go by, not a lot. 2015’s event was chest-high at most and a long way from pumping. Toledo put on an astonishing small-wave performance, but aside from that, the highlight for most people was Freddy P destroying his board on a rock out of sheer frustration. And 2014 wasn’t much better. In fact, the waves have been pretty mediocre at the tour opener for a while now. We’ve seen some amazing surfing, and that smoking Kirra final between Joel and Kelly back in 2013, but it seems a long time since we’ve watched heat after heat go down in the kind of waves that earned the place a name like the Superbank."
“I feel sorry for them," concedes Swilly. "If they’d been here two weeks earlier they would have scored some epic waves.”
After watching the endless stream of web clips featuring Mick Fanning trucking through tubes the length of the Superbank you would presume he’d go into the season opener as the firm favourite. But with the current forecast it might be the aerial wizardry of Filipe, Julian and John John that steals the show.
“My money was on Mick but if it doesn’t look very big who knows really,” says Swilly. “Looking at the size out here at the moment you’d think it’s going to come down to what kind of tricks you can do because it’s not going to come down to barrel riding.”
Better watch out for Freddy’s rock.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Heat Draw:
Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira, Keanu Asing, Ryan Callinan
Heat 2: Julian Wilson, Michel Bourez, Adam Melling
Heat 3: Filipe Toledo, Jadson Andre, Stuart Kennedy
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina, Caio Ibelli, Sebastian Zietz
Heat 5: Mick Fanning, Matt Banting, TBD
Heat 6: Adriano de Souza, Kolohe Andino, TBD
Heat 7: Jeremy Flores, Adrian Buchan, Davey Cathels
Heat 8: Kelly Slater, Matt Wilkinson, Conner Coffin
Heat 9: Nat Young, Kai Otton, Alex Ribeiro
Heat 10: Josh Kerr, Taj Burrow, Kanoa Igarashi
Heat 11: Jordy Smith, Wiggolly Dantas, Miguel Pupo
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson, John John Florence, Jack Freestone
Roxy Pro Gold Coast Heat Draw:
Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Tyler Wright, Johanne Defay, Alessa Quizon
Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag, Nikki Van Dijk, Coco Ho
Heat 3: Carissa Moore, Chelsea Tuach, TBD
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue, Sage Erickson, Bronte Macaulay
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons, Malia Manuel, Laura Enever
Heat 6: Stephanie Gilmore, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Keely Andrew