Why do we so callously disregard those poor souls who come second?
One thing we can be sure of when it comes to The Quikkie Pro Goldie is that the waves are going to be small. We’re also pretty much guaranteed that they are going to be right-handers. There’s an outside chance that there might be a few lefts, but that’s only if it howls onshore, and the chances of that are minimal. It’s not that time of year. Looking back at the last 5 years of the event, a pattern develops of surfers who are adept in small right-handers coming to the fore. In fact it is small-wave wizardry that shines through time and again.
While the winners of this event all get heaps of coverage, and their campaigns scrutinized and analyzed, what about the runners-up? What about those few surfers who surf out of their skin, but fall short on the last heat of the event? They are ignored and coldshouldered as the collective media harp on about the winners and their virtues.
So why don't we have a look at the last few year’s runners-up, as a different foil to the Gold Coast experience?
Last year Kolohe started off the year strong with a second place finish on the Gold Coast, and all and sundry expected big things from the small person. It was his time; he had started showing the maturity and wherewithal to get to the next place in competition that was beyond having tantrums, damaging boards and shouting at his dad. He pushed through, and with a strong finish at the end of the year ended up 4th in the world.
In 2015 it was an on-form Julian Wilson who was beaten at the end into second place by the high-flying Toledo. Julian has yet to find that place in the sun when everything comes together and his skills and talents are fairly reflected in his results. Still, after watching this you’ll know that a breakout year is possibly upon us.
Joel Parko took the runner up spots in 2014 and 2013, as the local lost to Gabby in a controversial final that saw Parko pulling in and Gabby doing window-wiper backhand turns and floaters at Little Marley. Many people called foul, but the result remained unchanged. The year before that Parko had made it to the final in roaring Kirra, in an event that saw Jake Patto stick around and wait until the last day of the waiting period for a possible Kirra day. While it was a legit move on winner Slater’s part, a priority-blocking drop-in saw a photo of Parko flipping the bird to Kelly from within the tube, as Slater went on to get barreled off his head and win the event. Parko did not have a leg to stand on, literally, as Slater had clear priority and played the game carefully.
In 2012 it was Adriano de Souza who was outsurfed by Taj. Burrow had just moved from Firewire to Biolos Mayhem shapes if memory serves me well, and was on fire, and while Adriano rallied hard he failed to find any speed on his second wave in the miniscule conditions. The Brazilian went on to place 13th in the year, but his time was still to come, as he took all of his hard-earned experience and went on to win his world title in 2015.