2005 Body Glove Surfbout – Final Day

David Weare wills himself to victory in the Bodyglove Surfbout Pro at Lowers

EVENTS HELD: Quarters, Semis and Finals
SURF: Head-high-ish
NATURE'S CALL: You want summertime, I'll give you summertime.
PREDICTIONS: A new South African on the WCT

So here's Chris Ward and Timmy Curran walking up the trail from Lowers with their respective hotties and a couple of boards. Done. Leaving. Which leads one to ask: Is it over yet? Why else would the two most dynamic, exciting surfers in this event be leaving the beach?

A quick glance at the lineup reveals Brazilian dominatrix Sylvanna Lima with her three opponents radically combo'd in the Finals of the SG Pro. So, no, the fat lady definitely hasn't sung yet. So what gives? Curran was landing airs in every heat. He posted a Perfect 10 in the quarters after soaring waaaay up and out on a frontside punt and spinning smooth 360 immediately after landing. And Wardo - the homebreak hero - was brilliantly merging his creative freesurfing with his newly purchased contest know-how to prove once and for all to any doubters exactly why he's rolling with the big boys these days. Ward's hits and turns each had a bit of something unique on them, all flair and tweak and style, and his aerials were like these effortless afterthoughts that the judges sometimes forgot to score. Anyone paying attention during this event had already penciled these two fly-boys into the finals slots right above the more classical predictions like {{{CJ}}} Hobgood, Taylor Knox and Rob Machado.

And then came the Semi-final, with the winds of change just starting to shift onshore. Curran bone-headed a drop-in interference on South African David Weare and — nevermind that he busted a huge frontside air moments later, or that he chucked a flawless helicopter air after buzzer — the loss of his highest wave score simply proved too damaging. Bye-bye. And then Wardo - oh, Wardo, whom we love so much we can only shake our heads when he does this silly-ass shit - bonked a lip-basher on the outside and, in addition to re-injuring his tweaked ankle, he ...lost his board to the inside. Six-foot Lowers, semi-final heat and Chris ain't wearing a leash. So where's Wardo? He's bobbing in the lineup with the water photogs while his board washes into the cobblestones, and while Aussie battler Adrian Buchan gnabs a mediocre righthander that proves just enough to get him into the final. And to put Chris out of it.

"Probably better that I'm not in the final anyway," says Chris, limping up the trail.

Uh... OK.

So, speaking of the final, here we are. It goes like this:

Rob Machado started in the first friggin' day of this four day rodeo and dominated his way through seven straight heats to make it here ("It's been a long week," his wife Patou sighed when it was all finally over). His surfing was so silky Rob-Machado-smooth that no one even looked at his scores. There was no need. No question. He won. Hands down.

Pat O'Connell, on the other hand, may have also retired from the WCT but he still retains a few of its membership privileges, including a sixth round start. Taking his turns to a near-spiritual level, Pat O' hacked his way past the likes of Lowers-master Taylor Knox and a in-form D. Hobgood to make it to the final.

When the announcer referred Australian Adrian Buchan as a "darkhorse", an entire bleacher full of 'QS regulars burst out laughing at the irony. He's no darkhorse to them. "He's only the two-time Australian junior champion," someone muttered. Buchan made every wave count on his road to the final, and his position was well-deserved.

And then there was David Weare, whose years of hard work were about to finally pay off. Weare squeaked into the qualifying slot of his previous two heats in, literally, the last ten seconds, both times scoring just enough points to keep on trucking. But Weare had gone to bed early every night this week. No partying for this six year 'QS vet. He was pure focus. You could see it before every heat. Carefully limbering up with his Oakley "Thump" shades bumping in his ear. Five hundred people on the beach and he was the only one there. Focused.

Weare paddled out hell-bent, opening the heat with a ballistic series of tail-slides that left the crowd wondering if there were any fins on his board at all. He scores a 9, and then a high-7, just four minutes into the final heat. He's got the competition combo'd. His mates are already celebrating.

The night before, Weare had cracked a fortune cookie that said: YOU WILL RECEIVE AID FROM AN UNEXPECTED SOURCE. And lo and behold, here comes it comes: stiff onshore winds, the lull from hell, soft, high-tide decoy-burgers sucking his competitors out of position. Nevermind that Weare only rode three waves during the whole heat (while his opponents each attempted seven or eight), the waves he took were THE waves, and all the others were crap. Well, except for the one Buchan hooked right near the end, scoring a high 8 and causing the judges to mistakenly announce that he had taken the lead. Nope. Wasn't going to happen. The heat was all Weare, whose homebreak in Durban (New Pier) is a lot like Trestles anyway. After all his years of hard work, his dedication, professionalism, and focus had finally paid off.

Trestles locals were already crowding the peak and snaking each other by the time Weare hit the beach. Being a quiet, non-partying, out-of-towner, he wasn't chaired up the beach or drenched in beer — Weare merely conducted a brief series of mumbly interviews at the water's edge, packed his boards with his oversized check, and headed for the airport. And through all the clichs and soundbites he'd been storing up for six years ("I just tried to take it one heat at a time out there"), one thing about Weare became clear. Winning this event had nothing to do with the money. For Weare, it's all about the 1500 points towards his place on the WCT tour. This boy has his eye on the prize. And he's making his move.

Watch out.