It's not every day that surf contests transcend pure points-hustling, punctuated with moments of glory and defeat. But Tuesday at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, French surfer Johanne Defay elevated the proceedings when she pulled off a nosepick reverse (also dubbed a "Club Sandwich") during her Quarterfinal heat. It wasn't just a personal coup. It was probably the first time a woman has completed the maneuver in competition, resetting the bar for their performance in the sport.
While the move earned her a mere 7.17 points, she scored a new level of respect. Of the awestruck onlookers -- including WSL commentators Ronnie Blakey and Ross Williams -- none was more impressed than Jeremy Flores. He has been a supporter of Johanne since the start -- and not just with nice words. When she qualified for the elite Tour without a sponsor, he not only picked up the phone, but broke out his checkbook.
"That was so sick," he said after her maneuver. "She's come a long way since her first few events. She's one of the smartest women on Tour, that's why she's doing so well."
Defay, who was named rookie of the year in 2014, has been slowly emerging as a force to be reckoned with. She's been admired for her style and consistency from the start, but put her first competitive stake in the ground when she won the Women's Vans US Open of Surfing last August. Her performance at Snapper Tuesday further only enhances her her stature among the Top 17, and bodes well the season ahead.
Watch her -- manuevers and all -- when the Roxy Pro continues.