The Tweed Coast Pro saw the cream of Australian surfing talent gather for the first return to competitive surfing since the lock down. It provided a current temperature gauge of not only where Australian surfing is at right now, but where it may be headed in the future. Can the fading surfing superpower take on the Brazilian storm, or was it proof of a further decline? We investigate.
Ewing and Robinson Are The Future
Ethan Ewing and Jack Robinson have come to the CT via different paths. Ewing burst onto the scene and at 17-years-old was the youngest Australia qualifier since Taj Burrow. The hype was extraordinary, and perhaps too much of a burden, as he endured a poor rookie season in 2018 and fell off immediately.
Robinson has been in the spotlight even longer when his tuberiding prowess was identified before he was a teenager. His reputation in waves of consequence has grown each year, but it was only in 2019 that he finally found the competitive chops to match it with the best in the world.
The Tweed Coast Boost Pro was the first chance since the break to check in on the two young Aussie's chances. Ewan's dominant win proved that the added maturity has been gilded to his incredible talent and technique.
Robinson bought energy and commitment. That he could outpoint Julian Wilson in three foot beachbreaks in their Quarterfinal showed just how far he has progressed in a short time. It looks like it will be those two surfers that will be Australia's best hopes for a World Title at some stage in the future.
Australia Needs The Wright Family
Any hopes of Australia regaining its primacy as the world surfing superpower will need to have the Wright siblings at its spearhead. Tyler, Owen and Mikey have all had serious injury problems over the last years robbing them, and surf fans, of their electric surfing.
Tyler's win on the Tweed Coast, coming eight months after she won her last CT after a big break, showed that the two-time World Champion is as mentally and physically fit as at any time in her career.
Her elder brother Owen was the standout of the Aussie older guard, looking sharp as a tack in waves that didn't always play to his strengths. Mikey, the youngest of the trio, was less explosive than his siblings, but after another long layoff due to a back injury, just seeing him fit and focused and in a singlet was a huge boost. If all three can stay in the water Australian surfing will be okay.
Steph and Sally Still Leading The Charge
The veterans' performances made a mockery of their combined 20 years of CT experience and proved they have plenty to offer at the top echelon of the sport. Sally Fitzgibbons has been working on her progression and brought that out in competition. With the Olympics a massive goal for 2021, her performance showed she is committed and focused as when she started on the CT ten years ago.
Stephanie Gilmore stuck to her normal game plan and it was her rail to rail transition, smooth style and wave choice that saw her defeat everyone but Wright. The friends, and rivals, aren't going anywhere just yet, and that's a good thing for Australian surfing.
A Glimpse Into The Future
The speciality event gave some surfers their first chance to compete for the first time against elite CT and World Champions. Cabarita local Zahli Kelly progressed to the Quarterfinals and was surfing well enough to have Gilmore second guessing her tactics in their match up. At just 16, and having finished at 22 on the QS last year, this was another huge step for Kelly towards a stellar career .
For even younger stars like Molly Pinklum and India Robinson the experience could also prove crucial down the track. Local wildcard Micah Margieson (son of legendary free surfer Brendan "Margo" Margieson), was another talent who wasn't daunted by the CT-caliber field. The event showed that the depth in Australian surfing remains strong.