We're on the 50-yard line at Snapper. Top floor. Best seat in town. Fat cats, overlooking one of the best waves in the world during the kickoff for the 2011 ASP World Tour season. WARNING: I'm going to say a bad word and a good word back to back, I'm so excited about this: FUCK YES! Sprinkled across the land are girls bounding around barefoot in bikinis — some with surfboards, most without. Surf stars are around every other corner. So many surf stars. And out on the horizon, looking straight onto our balcony, is the beacon of sin: Surfer's Paradise, a metropolis of bad decisions just begging you to partake, like a siren on the rocks, with an accent and no top on. And with the forecast looking as dismal as it does, there will be more than a few surfers (writers, photographers, filmmakers) answering the call.
We've been here for 24 hour and can say for certain that everyone is here. Well, everyone except Dane and Andy. But for sure everyone else. It is sad to think two of the most un-cuffed and raw surfers on tour are absent for this event. You can literally feel their absence and it's sobering to be watching heats knowing that neither one of them is coming up next. I miss their earnest interviews and disregard for surfing like they're in contest jerseys. I miss Dane's beer-fueled commentary and Andy's passion for destroying heats. We all do. I wish Dane and Andy were here…I wish Dane and Andy were here…I wish Dane and Andy were here…
But the show must go on, and there are plenty of shows going on. Kai Neville left his editing dungeon yesterday to enjoy a Coors Light I'd smuggled over from California for him (he's a big fan of the purple mountains). "I've been locked in my editing bay for like three days straight," he told us as we watched the sunset on our first day in Coolangatta. He's getting closer to wrapping up Lost Atlas, with only a few more trips in the works before it's premiere later this year.
And just to explain how much you can pack into the 13 hours of daylight and 11 hours of night on the Gold Coast, I give you this rundown of our activities:
* We saw Slayer and Iron Maiden with Mitch Coleborn and Craig Anderson at the Soundwave Music Festival. Our staff photographer Tom Carey had his faith in surfing renewed when Craig Anderson, Mitch and Balaram Stack charged the pit like hessian warriors. Craig came out with two different shoes.
* We went out to Neverland with "yo-yo-yo-yo-yo" New Yorker Balaram Stack.
* Attended an art gallery hosted by Insight called "Get Off My Cloud" featuring some rad Peter Crawford images painted over by his son Justin Crawford.
* Had awkward interactions with Malibu's style chancellor Dillon Perillo, who put his conversation skills in perspective for me when he said, "Stalefishes are hard for me to do, they're like having a normal conversation. I just can't do them right now." More with Dillon soon. He's an interesting one.
* We spent the daylight hours in Byron Bay surfing and staring at girls. Did you know they just lay out topless while you rip blue warm waves over white sand? Seriously, this place exists. It's in Australia! You should come see.
* Wednesday night we'll be on hand to see who wins the $100,000 for the best Innersection part.
* We'll then snag a peek at Dion Agius’s movie Thanks for the Dinner and the Sex, and then Josh Kerr's movie Kerrazy.
* We'll try to catch an MGMT show in Byron.
* Surf many of the puntable beachbreaks between here and there.
* Look at more girls.
* Sink a few more Coronas. Aussies love Corona, it's weird. Maybe it's because they're handing them out all over town. Or maybe because they're giving away free hats with purchase of a carton. Either way.
* And when the event is on, we'll be right here, 50-yard line, high-fiving and cheering.All the while we'll be thinking of you and wondering why you're not here. Keep checking back in, we'll be right here at ground zero for the next two weeks. And if you see Dane, tell him to get well soon. I wish Dane and Andy were here…I wish Dane and Andy were here….I wish Dane and Andy were here…. —Travis Ferré