With competition canceled for most of 2020, the world's best surfers went back to basics. Well, if basics involve still progressing the sport, filming their exploits, and sharing them on the net. But who did Quarantine best? We look at those surfers who made the most of the lockdowns across the world.
Instead of defending his title this year, the World Champion spent his lockdown surfing at home in Baia Formosa in Northern Brazil. Despite the small waves on offer he dropped bite-sized chunks of truly electric surfing every other day. With each clip, he seemed to have gotten faster, fitter, and more explosive. "I've had more time at home with my family, friends and girlfriend, so it's been a special time," Italo said. "I know it has been so hard for everyone, but I learned a lot and trained harder and got to know the people I love even better so it's been a good time."
Italo's fellow Brazilian goofy footer spent his time at home in Santa Catarina, Florianopolis on a tear. Regular clips of huge backside airs were mixed with smooth rail work, tubes, and massive rotors. You might remember that before he hit the CT, the freesurfer Yago's clips were the best on the internet. During quarantine, he reverted to type.
Never one to sit idle, Sally Fitzgibbons spent her time in quarantine on the South Coast of NSW trying to her improve her surfing. "I think aerial manoeuvres will make a huge push when we return to competition," she told olympics.org. "There will be a change. They are so hard. The ones you see in all the surf movies getting stomped are just so technical. I've always had such a fascination in them." Sally spent the time away from competition busting airs and, sure enough, unveiled her new tricks in the Countdown Series in Australia.
Toledo's #Covidclips showed the Brazilian flaring at home in California. There were no big filming tricks here, just Filipe blowing up on some fun waves. One ride in particular (see below) showed the range that makes him so incredible: traditional power surfing mixed with trademark boosts.
Instead of highlighting his surfing on the CT, the rookie sensation returned to his native West Australia for his first full winter at home in years. There was some live reporting from the Box, but the highlight was a two-week camp out in the desert. In a unique Lawn Patrol episode Jack showed off the grill where he cooks up fresh-caught fish every night, his training area perfect for desert yoga, and his quiver complete with step up boards for the big incoming swell.
Kelly Slater showed up in Bali just in time for an epic extended run of late-season swell. Sessions at Uluwatu and Keramas quickly did the rounds, but it was his performances at Padang Padang that set the internet alight. The highlight was a double-barrel that the 48-year-old Slater and Bali icon Betet Merta shared. With limited crowds due to the travel restrictions in place, The GOAT's surfing looked loose, relaxed and, as good as ever.
It's hard to argue that no one had a better surfing lockdown than Brisa Hennessy. The Costa Rican CT star's parents work on Namotu in Fiji and she went there when the travel restriction kicked in. "For the past three months, I have been on this little island. It takes five minutes to walk around the whole place. It is very small. But it has the best waves in the world. I was very blessed to be able to spend isolation here. I was able to surf every day, which is my job and my passion." With Tavarua a short boat ride away and no tourists, it has to be Hennessy that won Quarantine.