Finally the dust settles (sort of) and the surfing starts. The week leading up to the kick off of the 2014 WCT was full of drama and debate about media rights issues. Who could take photo's, who couldn't. Would some beefy security dude run up to you on the beach if you were shooting and demand your camera card etc etc.
Despite everyone still being pretty uncertain about how it'll all pan out, the ou's hit the surf and everyone's attention was back to the water.
Taj looks like one of the guys to beat. Sharp yet stylish, flair with flow. Kelly had a bit of a wobble, but being Kelly still managed to win his heat. Dane beat Mick - someone should just give him an injury wild-card back onto tour - he can claim temporary insanity or something for turning his back on the CT circus, and they can forgive and put him back on. He is suuuuch a good surfer to watch.
Jordy had a bit of a 'mare, but no doubt will come back firing in his Rd2 heat and get back into the groove against Tiago. Travis Logie got pipped into 2nd spot in his heat and will also hopefully make up for it in Rd2 - altho going up against John John isn't a gimme.
Action on the beach was nearly as interesting as what was happening in the water. Kelly got accosted by a nutso chick, who had to be escorted away by security. The price of fame. Dane seemed amused by Paul Fischer's suggestion to add a new stick (the "Dick") to his quiver. What's impressive is that thing actually rides amazing - check out a vid of Paul ripping on it here.
A sh*t-storm of a different kind is about to hit the fan though - the webcast is pretty bloody awful, unless of course you really dig watching ad's every 3 minutes. The desk on the beach was a dead give-away that we were going to get subjected to an Americanized NFL approach. The sponno's who've dropped big bucks on the new-look tour are wanting their money's worth - which is ad-space, which means making a mess of what used to be exciting viewing.
Even when the waves weren't up to much the commentators would usually keep you entertained. Yet here we are at an Aussie event...and we have to listen to some vanilla yankee's yacking away. Hell no, would rather have the less-than-PC locals behind the mike any day. American sports TV sucks, so why the hang try mimic it for the CT?
Here's hoping the ASP takes enough abuse about the webcast to get it back to basics. More surfing, less ad's.
Of course we're stoked that the ASP has found a way of putting money in the pot, and that they're throwing their weight behind a big-wave world tour, and bringing the Jbay event back.....but let's hope in return we don't pay a high price for that in terms of un-watchable webcasts, and an Orwellian "Big Brother is watching you" approach to event sites.
Day 1 results
Rd 2 match-ups