Indefatigable is my word of the day. A persistingly tireless and ever stoked, cortizoned up Neco Padaratz bounds around the boat emanating little waves of happiness that get absorbed by pretty much everyone within a 2k radius. He is stoked his back is ok, he is stoked the waves are fun, lined up walls, he is stoked to compete against his competitors, he’s even stoked when he loses…Not that he doesn’t want to win as much as the next man or Sophia. I was stoked his back was ok though. Although a little later in the day when he was absolutely lighting up Sultans, I, and many others, were beginning to think his back may not be so bad…We will give him the credit though. I just think life and surfing lifts him.
And so to Day Two of the comp and twin fins. Two things I should point out here, one when I came on this trip I thought it may be a luxury jolly for a few surfers who no longer surf the WSL. You know, turn up, few beers, surf a bit and leave. Not so. Luxury yes, 100%, as branded the most luxurious surf comp certainly I have ever heard of. This place is insane and the guests, media and surfers are being treated like royalty. Four Seasons Maldives are literally pushing five star luxury boats out. The jolly bit however, not so much. When the call is made it is down to business Everyone in the comp wants this title bad. I mean real bad. Sure they are a bunch of very agreeable characters, Gerr probably quieter than I imagined if I am honest, but they are preparing for and going into each heat as if it is a battle for a world champs. This comp means something, more so it has something. It is a unique challenge that brings together surfers who excel on a variety of craft that we all love. From the view figures it seems to be resonating with you guys too. I just wish you were all here to see it live. It is pretty awesome…
Second thing. I have never seen so many surfers hit the lip so hard or carve so solidly on our little duo finned friends the twin fins. From a classic MR shapes to 80’s style/modern day hybrids and keel fins, whatever, they were smashing it. When I arrived at Sultans in the morning to hear Tubeway Army and other 80’s classics coming off the commentary boat I was kind of expecting a few loose tails off the bottom, maybe a little bit of speed loss, the odd hand jive to compensate for an outdated design, that kind of thing. How wrong I was. Full rail carves were the order of the day, along with deep barrels and multiple controlled hacks…The action would not have been out of place at full blown WSL comp. You have seen the single fin action, well the twin fin comp was better.
Dorian as it turns out loves surfing small waves…I know. I thought he was just about waves etched with the reapers face these days too. And he wants to win. He blew up today. Rolled back the years and rolled up the sleeves for what was a proper job on his hands. Fellow finalist Rasta obviously has complete command of his vehicles, and an array of ballsy full rail carves which he unleashes interspersed with soulful nuance and fantastic flow. He also has solid core of contest knowledge to draw on. He sits among the elite as one of the best surfers in the world. Nice guy too. If you ever met him I am sure you would like him.
All the champs had their moments today. Harley Ingleby, well the best way to describe him is that no shortboarder would want him in their heat, like at all. He is well known as a longboarder, but if you saw him surf on shortboards you just wouldn’t know it. He is that good. I am now convinced he could ride and pull airs on a fridge door.
I was pleased for Gerr today. He spends lot of time watching the lineup and analysing, he obviously wants to do well and yesterday wasn’t his day. His board let him down rather. Just a little too chunky. Today I saw the full graceful bottom turn, projection and hacks that set him apart in his hey day. It was great to see him linking his turns through fast flowing sections. The G Man was a great surfer, still is. Sofia meanwhile is still scaring everyone with her power hacks. She is so bloody nice, polite, smiley… give her a section and it is devastation, spray flying about everywhere, and what the hell… She’s like a size six but puts six foot alpha males to shame. Power earns respect, she has it from everyone.
In the end Dorian took the win over Rasta in great final and it’s game on for the title, as we head to the thrusters. I suspect, if the swell plays ball, we are going to see another escalation in performance and I can’t wait.
As for the Brazilian Storm of Stoke personified, well last time I saw Neco he had just had a full massage in the spa and bounced along the jetty like and 18 year old off for his first legal beer. Lord only knows how much energy he will have for the thruster event. The bloke is a whirlwind of smiles. Got to love that.