Who is going to smash it, and who is likely to flop?
Who might dominate:
We all like Yago Dora for a number of reasons. The main reason however is his aerial repertoire. It’s wild enough to reminds us of Toledo coming into the game, and it has yet to be declared finite. We do not know the full extent of his arsenal, and we never know what he’s going to do next.
One of the few reasons why we hang onto every moment of the sport is to see stuff that we’ve never seen before and to witness the freshest new moves. Dora is one of those guys who will bring new shit to the game from his first heat on the Gold Coast.
Griffin Colapinto’s act may not be as nuanced as Dora’s – at least not in the air – but his are all moves that we know and love. The difference is that they are just so much more radical than what we expect to see. His turns are harder, faster and more extreme, and his barrel riding is surprisingly mature and polished in the heaviest of conditions. Snapper, however, is more about wild flights, and Colapinto also seems to be that surfer who wants to push his moves to their logical extremes. Hopes are high that he will become another crowd-puller on the Championship Tour.
Talking about crowd-pullers, we still see Kelly Slater as doing the extra-ordinary, and blowing minds at Snapper, like he has done so many years in the past. At 46 Slater has one thing in mind these days, and that’s to stay relevant. While only very few of the older crew are left, Slater still boasts the looseness and fitness to blow minds and has the imagination to match it. He’ll think up something crazy on the Goldie, attempt it, pull it off, and have the rest of the tour all saying, ‘what the actual fuck?’
We’re not sure if Mikey Wright is going to get a slot into the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast, but we hope he does. If he is awarded a wildcard, it’ll be madness. Wright is another surfer who is known for doing the unusual, with unorthodox moves at critical sections of the wave. A roaring Aussie crowd, and the opportunity to go big should Snapper provide, might see the lad just go next level. Mikey will be a little dogged down if the waves are as tiny as last year with little push behind them, but if the contest cops some swell, regardless of wind conditions, he’ll be on it and throwing tail all over the shop. Remember also that his mullet is not a hairstyle, it’s a lifestyle.
We’re also not sure if Mikey February is going to get a slot into Snapper, but he will also be a great addition to an already great event. Despite his taller frame, February is particularly adept at small, but fast running right-handers, and eschews the repetitive forehand air reverse mode that has bogged down a few great surfers. Three, very similar forehand air reverses on one wave is not going to get anything extra from the judges who are looking for ‘variety of maneuvers,’ ‘innovative and progressive maneuvers’ and ‘commitment and degree of difficulty’ in their criteria. February however, has a fine repertoire, and when combined with his remarkable style, is definitely going to be a judges’ and crowd favourite this season.
Who might falter:
Championship Tour rookie surfer Wade Carmichael might do himself a bit of a disservice at the Snapper Rocks event this year. He’s a solid lad, and his repertoire, along with previous contest results, are all based around good waves, and solid power hacks. There’s no wiggling and wing-dings on the ding-dang with Carmichael. If he could, he would do one move a wave, but it would be the single most powerful and water-displacing tear of a move to make everyone stand up and take note. His weight and minimalistic approach might be compromised at smaller Snapper – (official event forecast here -) but Carmichael has fought a long and hard battle to get to where he is, so we wish him the best of luck.
Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast 2014 champion Gabriel Medina might just have done too much hard work and find himself in an unsustainable position in terms of energy and focus. He has been a bundle of hard-wired energy for so long now, that he just might be entering a cruise-control year that will see him with a top-ten finish, but no finals and even less wins (did you see what I did there).
Mick Fanning is done. He might be saying that he wants to finish strong and go out with a bang, but Fanning’s fire is out. He’s going to cruise at Snapper, without the worry of the Jeep Leaderboard, and he’s going to do nothing but have fun at the penultimate CT event of his career. If he wins some heats it’ll be due to a combination of luck and circumstances, but it won’t be from a rapacious hunger for victory. He’ll have a great event either way, and the contest will be all the better for having his presence.