It’s the morning of the finals. I’ve already heard this platitude chirped around the contest site about fourteen times today and it’s only 7:45 in the morning. Can we come up with something else to say on Finals Day?
But I’ll admit, the buzz around the beach this morning is especially electrifying. The the crowning of both a Men’s and Women’s Quik/Roxy Pro champ is looking likely as we have a full day of competition in store. Heat 2 of the Men’s Quarters are in the water right now, with Wilko facing off against A.D.S.Parko will not see a hometown win in 2016. Photo: Hammonds Filipe Toledo, manhandling Snapper Rocks like he’s done it before. Because well, he has. Photo: Hammonds
The first heat of the day saw local favorite Joel Parko fall just short to the ever-possessed Filipe Toledo. Parko lacked rhythm, and the stat of the heat would have to be the fact that after caching eleven waves, only five of them ventured north of the one point mark for Parko.Adriano takes a Quarterfinal finish with grace. Photo: Hammonds
8:20am – I’m not a gambling man, but I’m thinking about starting. Matt Wilkinson just took down world champ Adriano De Souza and if you would have put a few bucks on all these upsets you’d be laughing your way to the bank right about now.The bang behind Wilko’s 6.33 for the win. Photo: Hammonds
In the dying seconds, Wilko needed a high five and rolled himself into a 6.33 filled with that backhand spice we love oh so much. The emotion was real as he made his way to shore and at the drop of the score over the speaker, Wilkinson clenched his fists let out a genuine battle cry. Goosebumps.Stu Kennedy, not far from a Final. Photo: Sherm
10:00am – Well wasn’t that eventful!? So, where to start… Well the Men’s Quarters kicked off with a bang and an upset, only to be followed by Kolohe Andino taking down Ace Buchan and then the heat of the morning, Mr. Stu Kennedy defeating young JJf.John, defeated. Photo: Sherm
John had Stu by the short hairs in the final minutes, but Stu’s relentless forehand attack got the better of a clean wall with only seconds left and deliver an 8.1. Clutch and composed, can we get this get on tour for good?
10:40 – As of now, Filipe Toledo is squaring up with Matt Wilkison in Semi number one and it looks as though he’s injured himself. On his opening wave, a dicey landing sent a shock up his back and he paddled his way back up the point cringing and sluggish. But the kid’s a fighter, and although injured, Fil took off on his next wave and dished out a breezy 7.1.Filipe Toledo, pain in the eyes. Photo: Hammonds
Matt Wilkinson found the score he needed to take back the lead and was able to hold it as Fil scowered for a wave in very visible pain. The horn blows, Wilko wins. And the first exchange to occur between the two is a check-in, Fil paddles over to give congratulations and Matty make sure he’s all good. World class surfers, amazing sportsmen. Fingers crossed that Fil’s injury is nothing too serious.Tyler Wright, strong. Photo: Hammonds And then this happened. Photo: Sherm
1:00pm – “Gold jersey, green jersey who gives a shit!”
Yes. Matt Wilkinson just won his first ever CT victory here at the 2016 Quik Pro Gold Coast and then quoted Happy Gilmore publicly immediately after. Wilko took his win over American Kolohe Andino in a back and forth, forehand/backhand Final that ended with the drop of a score that fell just short for Kolohe. Willy throws his fists into the air, and just like that he’s stolen the gold jersey going into Bells.Photo: Sherm
The women’s Final saw Tyler Wright against California Courtney Conlogue, an Aussie-Californian trend that continued. This win comes with extraordinary emotion for Tyler as it’s been a long few months of caring for her brother, Owen, who endured a brutal injury at Pipeline in December.Photo: Sherm
Allegedly, Tyler’s specific instructions to Owen were to NOT come down and watch the contest today and stay home to rest. But as Tyler was being chaired up the beach, younger brother Mikey points up to the VIP scaffolding. Tyler looks up, only to see Owen smiling down at her. The two greet with a long, sincere hug, there are smiles, tears, and once again, goosebumps.Photo: Sherm
Wilko is currently on stage pouring Corona all over everyone it’s just about the funnest end to the 2016 Quik and Roxy Pro Gold Coast that you could ever possibly imagine.