Never has the divide between CT surfers been so great in the lead-up to a contest.

As the Rip Curl Cup at Newcastle draws near the Australian-based surfers on the CT are hitting lips up and down the east coast. Meanwhile, the rest of the CT are in quarantine contemplating selfie-options, performing crazy calisthenic routines and churning through Netflix.  

 

In their preparation for the shifty Newcastle peaks, it seems the Ozi pros are popping up everywhere. Bondi photographer Bill Morris was enjoying a surf on his trusty, Stuart Paterson fish yesterday when he swung around to see Owen Wright paddle out. Ever the diligent lensman, Billy bolted to the car to grab his camera gear and fire off a couple of shots of the Big O. Owen actually spent a couple of months based in Bondi a few years back and became a regular in the lineup and the local cafes.

It’s not the first time a pro surfer has used Bondi to prepare for an event. Back in the early 80s Tom Carroll famously turned Bondi into a training ground so that he could be ready for a leg of the tour that featured small, junky beach breaks.

The move helped Carroll win a world title. Julian Wilson also lived in Bondi for an extended period, but unfortunately, it didn’t help him claim the title he so badly wants. Now he calls Newcastle home.

It’s likely Owen and his young family will soon head north to Newcastle, a location that played an important role in his comeback after he suffered a brain injury at Pipeline in 2015. Newcastle’s 2017 Surfest was the first major event Owen surfed in after his recovery. He made it through a number of heats and regained confidence in his ability. A couple of weeks later he famously won at Snapper Rocks over Matt Wilkinson.

The CT’s Quarantine contingent will still have around eleven days of surf time to prepare for the event at Newcastle, but right now they are literally climbing the walls; doing whatever it takes to stay sane and somewhat surf-ready. If you are Jack Freestone and his kid, Banks, that means basketball shots with pillows. Jack has been hanging in Hawaii and had to join team quarantine. 

Will the free-roaming Australians win at Newcastle or can the surfers from the World Quarantine Squad overcome two weeks of hard-core lockdown to triumph. Time will tell. A lot more selfies to come before we find out.