It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, the rock band was singing, and the water was crystal clear.

Waiting for the medicine...

I think more air reverses have been landed in one day at the Boost Mobile Surf Sho than have ever been landed in the history of Bondi. It was a beautiful day; the sun was shining, the rock band was singing, and the water was crystal clear. Contestants had to make the most of the small waves when they tried to boost, but everyone was enjoying the spectacle of pro surfing at Bondi Beach too much to mind about the surf size.  It happens a lot at Bondi – the vibrant atmosphere makes up for the second-rate surf. It’s also true that if the waves were any better, lovable local philanthropist Tony Spanos might not have so easily gotten away with a hilarious poo-man drop-in on Taj Burrow during the celebrity surf-off – in true Bondi surfing spirit.

Professional Skateboarder, Fuel TV presenter, Corbin Harris looking slightly concerned at his heat draw before paddling out at in the celebrity surf challenge.

Also taking flight in the business of water today was a not-for-profit group, “Water for Water”.  While the surfers groveled for 1 ft waves in the water at Bondi Beach, Danielle Saleh, founder of “Water for Water” was out stressing the worldwide importance of that essential liquid we often take for granted in the first world. Boost Mobile provided a free tent for the group on the beach, where hordes of people were lining up to buy cheap water, all of the profits going to buy water purification systems in the Philippines, where access to clean water is only about 40%. Danni told me, “I travelled the world and saw a lot of great things, but also a lot of really heavy stuff too. It’s a community project, getting support from Aussie communities by selling cheap water, and using the money to get accessible water in third world communities. As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects a man. What does your heart reflect?” Amidst the corporate maelstrom of a major surfing event, a grass-roots organisation really taking flight was a refreshing thing to see.

Water world girl.

Last year at the Trials, the only one just as happy as the winner, Asher Wales, was Ben Godwin who didn’t make the cut but was just really stoked that his mate Asher had won. This year, the only one even happier was once again the Forster local Ben Godwin, who won the event with a big clean air-reverse that was at least twice the size of the tiny wave he did it on. Ben was absolutely beaming with happiness after his win, but still conscious that the main event is going down tomorrow, when he’ll have to compete with the aerial mastery of Kelly Slater and Owen Wright. Ben was placed in the conundrum of trials winners the world over, “I know I should be saving myself for tomorrow, but I still have to go drink and celebrate now!” Today was a lot of fun, but tune in tomorrow for when all the serious action takes place, we’re guaranteed by the competition format to see pros pulling off Supermans, Alley-oops and Rodeo Clowns.

Julian Wilson and Taj Burrows in the chat.

Thanks to Boost Mobile, Corona, Nando’s and Arnette for sponsoring the event. And thanks to Surf Aid International for proving the sick pre-comp party last night.

Tom Edwards

Jordy Smith, always smiling.

The gallery waits.

Local Bondi legend, Tony Spanos throwing Shakas after dropping in on Taj... Who knows whats up his sleeve for tomorrow.

All photos: Brooklyn Whelan