Tuesday, October 4, 2011 / Costa Mesa, California — It’s been a wild, often weird, summer in the USA for current World Number 18, Matty “Wilko” Wilkinson. The Sydney darling set up camp in the Empire of Indulgence—Newport Beach, California—to capitalize on his unique brand of World Tour training. Yes. There have been women. There have been parties. There have been waves. There has been no stretching.
But before Wilko took off for Tahiti (where he dazzled the surfing world with his gut wrenching performance in the biggest and best Teahupo’o the Tour has ever seen), he embarked on a 24-hour recon mission up the coast to the Golden City, San Fran—land of Jack London, Harvey Milk, Barry Bonds, and, lest we forget, the 2011 Rip Curl Pro Search.
It started with a leisure paddle out at what is to be the Search’s main contest site in faint, grey figments of those iconic Ocean Beach A-frames every surfer has come to both love and dread. It was small—still summer, after all. You see, the waves of San Fran, like the people of San Fran, relish their obscurity, preferring only the occasional emission of brilliance.
But the journey really began—as any good man of the world, like Wilko, will tell you—when the lights went down on the city.
Mission District interviews with inebriated yet charming street dwellers and heavy-footed business folk led to a table full of juicy street tacos and crispy Negro Modellos that led to third-base-line tickets at AT&T Park that led to drinks and dancing and women and fun… good summer-in-the-city fun. And still, there was no stretching.
With the Golden Gate fading around the bend behind him, Wilko drifted back south towards Newport, where his fresh Teahupo’o quiver waited and the second half of the 2011 ASP World Tour season loomed. He teed up Journey on the iPod and listened intently to Steve Perry squeal:
When the lights go down in the city
and the sun shines on the bay
do I want to be there, in my city oh oh
Because he’d be back. November 1st. With the rest of the blissfully talented Top 34. Because the best Search is the one you least expected… oh oh oh.
In the meantime, follow Wilko’s new blog, out2brunch.com.
Watch the Rip Curl Pro Search 'Somewhere in San Francisco' live on live.ripcurl.com, from November 1.