You can be sure that Kolohe Andino was laying out his T-shirt and boardshorts just so on the eve of the Quiksilver Pro. And that Parko didn't sleep well, stirring every hour to check the clock, "Is it morning yet?" And surely, in the weeks before the 36 men and 18 women converged on the Gold Coast of Australia, every last one of them went back-to-tour shopping at their sponsors' warehouses. Each of their boards whiter than the next.
It's like returning for a new school year. Old friends. New classmates. Plenty of beautiful, tan people and parties to distract you from your work. There's hope. Every competitor is equal first and all they have to do is stay there to become champion. A fresh start. There are butterflies. Expectations. Excitement. Hype! This could be their year to become popular. To become valedictorian. To finally, if those refs would stop making those bullshit calls, go all the way and win state.
So welcome back. Take your seat. Or stand. Pay attention (but there is no need to take notes). It is our pleasure to present to you the class of 2013. —Taylor Paul