WSL Deafeningly Silent on "WSL Island" "Rumours", Ollie Henry Rules, and Crewsy's Gold Coast Swell Highlights Are Sick

17 Apr 2020 0 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was April 17 2020

1. Your Weekly COVID-19 Surfing Related Update – The Bells That Wasn't

It's been a much steadier, less confusing week for the state of surfing under the new normal of the Coronavirus pandemic. The biggest thing that happened is probably what didn't happen. The Easter weekend passed and there was no "Hells Bells" playing out over the carpark and cliffs of the Bells line-up at dawn. The weekend felt cold and empty without it. On top of that, there's been a half-decent swell and some beautiful crisp Vicco weather this week. Getting up at home instead of in some house somewhere around Torquay and Jan Juc over the weekend had that same empty feeling of adjusting to a Saturday morning after a long term relationship breaks up, "What do I actually do today? What do other people do normally today? What is even the point of a weekend now..." It was a weird one, and hopefully makes the return to Bells next Easter all the more special.

With the Easter weekend behind us, weather turning colder, the curve of COVID-19 infections straightening out, and PM Scott Morrison announcing yesterday that it's likely other restrictions will be slowly and slightly lifted in four weeks, it's hard to see surfing being outright banned from here on out – ie, we may be over the theoretical hump. The social distancing and surfing responsibly (shorter sessions, no over-crowding) amongst line-ups has undoubtedly been a major factor in keeping surfers in the water. It's imperative now that we keep on rolling with that (the ABC reported today that our current social distancing behaviour has meant that 10 people with the virus in Australia now infect just 5 others, without continuing these measures, 10 people infect 25 others). Basically, stay home if you can manage it, abide by your regions restrictions, don't be a dickhead when you do surf, and we should be all good.

As for the WSL, we reported last week that the peak surf sport body sent an email to the surfers saying that the CT year'll be canned if they can't get started by July. We've heard no further update on that, but given the logistical hurdles they'd have to overcome there regarding international travel from its wide-ranging roster of international stars, in a pretty short timespan... yep, no way it's happening this year. That is speculation, though. I don't know anything about anything.

And speaking of not knowing anything about anything... I have been asking the WSL on Twitter about the rumours of WSL Island – the concept absolutely everyone (just me) is talking about, in which the CT surfers will be flown to the quarantined safehaven islands of Namotu and Tavarua, and then play out a World Championship super tournament that would also double as a Survivor-style reality TV show. The silence is very telling, if you ask me (no-one is asking me), very telling indeed. Their lack of response in no way means I'm a nobody and not worth the time addressing, and definitely means we're onto something they're just not ready to announce yet. I think it's a goer. WSL Island! I can't wait.

2. Hell Yeah, it's Mitch Crews! (Recent Goldy Swell Highights)

Every now and then, I'll be scrolling through the Instagrams and then come across a clip of Mitch Crews, and every single time that happens I'll say out loud to myself, "Hell yeah, it's Mitch Crews!" Doesn't matter where I am; on a bus, in line at the bank, on the couch with my partner... I say it. Loud too, and people hate it. This week I did a Hell Yeah It's Mitch Crews when he dropped this highlights edit from that recent epic run of swell on the Gold Coast before lockdown.

3. John John Released A Series About Sailing

Hate that intrinsic ocean, wind and weather knowledge sailors have, the jerks. It can oft be written off as a private schoolboy sport around here, but there seems to be a more classic relationship to sailing in Hawaii, like in those old Bruce Brown movies. John John is right into it, of course, so much so that there was some hushed talk that he was gonna quit the tour to spend a couple years sailing around the word instead. That didn't happen though... yet. This is episode one, but JJF also dropped the second episode (of four) to jump into too.

4. Ollie Henry Rules

The thumbnail image over the vid says it all really. West Aussie 19-year-old tube-pig Ollie Henry released this clip this week, with help from his sponsors Zion wetsuits and Rusty, and he gets some absolute bombs in it. Top notch stuff.

5. Winter Vincent Gets Better and Better

Super grom and mini-activist Winter Vincent was due to speak at a conference in Bali about Waves For Water last month. When he landed, however, the thing got cancelled. So what did the 15 year old do? He went surfing of course. Something he is very good at.

6. Caroline Marks Stars in "Isolation"

2019 World Title runner-up Caroline Marks has been getting pretty comfortable in perfect heavy lefts lately. If the 2024 Olympics do go ahead at Teahupo’o, does she take gold ya reckon?

7. The Final Ep of All In, Season 2

The final episode of Red Bull’s blue-ribbon doco series following Kanoa Igarashi and Steph Gilmore last year sees us jump over to Oahu for the Pipe Masters. We also get a heap of hang time with Steph and mates at home around Coolangatta and surfing a terrible Snapper (which still looks pretty good when Steph is shredding it).

8. Luke Davis At Silverbacks

Luke Davis? Ah yes, you mean the famous heavy wedge charger Luke Davis, of course! Here he is in Panama, navigating some ridiculous big ol' watery mounds doing ridiculous big ol' watery mound things. My favourite YouTube comment for this clip was this one: "The wave is heavy and perfect but the riding is very conservative." Haha, yeah alright Mr. YouTube comment guy.

9. Love This Ben Wilkinson Mini-Doc

From the crew over at mySurf.tv comes a really nice look at the humble charger Ben Wilkinson. Filmed before the great lockdown of 2020, Ben shares his story growing up in Narrabeen and living in Hawaii as a woodworker. It's pretty hard not to barrack for this lord of a dude.

10. Reliving Bruce's 2008 Bali Win

From the WSL Vault series, damn don't you miss the old Rip Curl Search events? What an epic concept that was. This one was at Uluwatu and Padang and features, of course, a noteworthy Bruce Irons performance. It also features a little cut on the event-sponsor produced broadcast, which in the world of WSL take-over, seems like such a long time ago. It also features Sean Doherty wearing a funny hat, worth the click alone.

And that was this week in surfing. Stay safe, surf responsibly and have a good weekend.

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