The recent Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast gave the goofyfooters their best return at a Championship Tour event in modern history. Five out of the eight Quarterfinalists each rode with their right foot forward, which led to three out of four Semifinalists and both Finalists. The question is: Is this the start of a goofy march to Championship Tour (CT) domination? Or was it just a one-off?
If we are going to talk about a goofyfooter revolution, we probably need to start with Gabriel Medina. In 2014 he broke a 10-year drought to became the first backside surfer to win on the Gold Coast since Mick Lowe. He also claimed the World Title that year, 13 years after the last goofy, C.J. Hobgood, raised the trophy in 2001.
At the time it felt possible that Gaby's efforts could be the start of a wrestling-back of control from the regulars' domination. Kelly Slater, Andy Irons, Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson had established total control for 15 years since C.J.'s win, and many goofies hoped that Gaby's win was the start of redressing the long imbalance.
However, it didn't last. First Adriano de Souza, then John John Florence, jumped back on the World Title seesaw, and flung the goofies' hopes back in the air. It was only at the Quik Pro that they hopped back on and, through sheer weight of numbers, put their feet firmly back on the ground. The return of Owen Wright, the continued renaissance of Matt Wilkinson, Medina, plus the fresh blood of Italo Ferreira and Connor O'Leary, looks like the strongest goofy pack to emerge in years. Their performances could provide the platform from which to launch a goofy resurgence.
For a lot of these surfers, their backhand is their favored weapon. On the Gold Coast judges were rewarding powerful turns in the pocket, and all these lead-foots filled their boots. That means the Australian leg should help them. Going left at Bells and Snapper is only an option for the deranged, and while Margaret River is a peak, below 10-feet tall, the rights have offered more points in the last few years. On the flip-side the gnarled steps of The Box is notoriously difficult on your backside, and Italo Ferreira's recent injury has taken out one of their key strongmen.
The numbers, too, are stacked against them. There are only 10 goofies in the top 34, meaning they will need to continually punch above their weight on Tour. For those that have a strong allegiance to those that wear their leashes on the left leg however, they'll be hoping that the backside performances at the Quik Pro can be replicated at both Margaret's Main Break and the Bells Bowl.