The bank is back. That was the big question and it's been answered. After one of the heaviest storms in history battered the Gold Coast last year and ripped the asphalt out of surfing's most famous racetrack, all is good again. Of course it would come back, right? Hey, your home beachbreak could be world class too if a million dollar sand pumping system was installed next to it. After suffering through a few chilly and largely flat months in California, it's corn syrupy sweet to see a mile long wave barreling in a lime green, 75 degree ocean. And to think it's cranking right now under an average windswell? Imagine what it's going to be like later this week when that tropical low spinning near New Caledonia starts sending us swell.

So the gang's all here – Kelly, Andy, Mick, Joel, Taj, Bobby, Bruce. All are looking fit, healthy and ready to go apeshit. They've been white hot in freesurf sessions. No one knows if Kelly will retire after this event, but he gave a hint that answer might be no when he said last night at the ASP awards that Mick sent him a text after Mundaka telling him, "Don't quit now, mate. We love surfing with you." See this whole competition thing is supposed to be and fun and respect. Both qualities were in abundance at the ASP banquet. It's hard not to feel respectful when you see "We had a dream" pro surfing founders Randy Rarick and Fred Hemmings present long overdue World Champ trophies to PT, Shaun, {{{Rabbit}}} and MR. Yeah, that's right, back in the day these guys never got trophies when they won world titles so receiving them was a long, long time coming. And the fun part happened later at Jupiter's Casino for a Texas Hold-em tourney and later still for a few of the boys at an undisclosed location in Surfer's Paradise.

But the fun really starts this morning when as the trials begin and a handful of lucky punters will get a crack at one of the world's best waves with no crowd.

The engine of the tour has cranked back to life. All systems go from here on out.