Over the past two weeks the southern Gold Coast has played host to the very first stop on the World Surf League Championship Tour. The Surfing Life team went down each day to report on the happenings, straight from the sands of the Superbank. And at the end of it all? The top six takeaways:
1. Australian surfing is in a good place
Both champions at the event were Aussies, who spent their off-season training at Snapper Rocks and other local breaks – Matt Wilkinson, who lives between Byron Bay and the Gold Coast, and Tyler Wright, who lives in Coolangatta. On top of that Aussie Stuart Kennedy took out a total of 12 World Titles, between Kelly Slater and Gabriel Medina.
2. The Gold Coast fans are among the best in the world
Every single day, sunshine or drizzle, the people flocked to the sands, set up their umbrellas and packed the beach. We have never seen a crowd in Australia more dedicated to the sport of surfing, or to supporting their local heroes.
3. Even when they don’t have it, the Gold Coast points really still have it
After the fruits of Cyclone Winston, the Superbank wasn’t in fantastic shape – but despite this, they were still firing. The best surfers in the world got barrelled, did airs and made one of the best waves in the world look even better.
4. Summer never ends when you’re on the Goldy
While the rest of Australia is dealing with the onset of autumn, buying coats and lighting fireplaces, the Gold Coast couldn’t be more different. Every day the sun was out, the water was warm, and when it got just that little bit too sweaty, the rain came in relief. And you wonder why the WSL kicks their season off here?
5. The world’s professional surfers still know how to have fun
In a lot of sports, the top athletes sequester themselves in their hotel rooms and do push-ups (or so we imagine). But not in surfing. In surfing, the world’s best are out and about, squeezing into bustling coffee shops, enjoying sunset beverages and embracing what the Goldy is all about.
6. The Gold Coast really is the best place in the world for competitive surfing
Surf contests aren’t all about the surfing. They’re about the punters. They’re about the spectacle. They’re about the entire event. And no where else in the world provides a better arena to host the top 34 men and top 17 women. Waves everywhere, plenty of space to cheer on the beach, and a local surfing community that is simply unbeatable.