With the fourth event of the 2021 Championship Tour wrapped up at Margaret River, competitors have just enough time to dust themselves off, pack up their quivers and head into the unknown; the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona.
Now, usually a new, untested venue would provide a few headaches in terms of exactly what to pack in that quiver, but the world's best can take comfort that anything that works at Margaret River should, in theory, work at Strickland Bay on Rottnest Island. It is a break that has been called a condensed version of Main Break, holding less size but offering steeper walls and power to burn.
"Gabriel Medina will take the same boards to Rottnest as he surfed at Main Break," said Johnny Cabianca, Medina's shaper. "He has his everyday Medina model, with boxier rails, and the DFK model for hollower waves. There's nothing over 6'3" in his quiver; incredibly that's what he rode even on the big day at Margarets."
One surfer who won't have to worry about what to pack, sadly, is John John Florence, who has withdrawn due to injury.
"Everyone in this contest including myself has seen what John and Pyzel did by designing their Ghost Model," Griffin Colapinto posted on Instagram. "Taking 15-25 foot turn surfing to another level."
For Colapinto and his shaper Matt Biolos, the work on his quiver for Margaret River and Rottnest, started way back in Hawaii. Griff was on record as saying he wanted to find a way to hold his rails for deeper and longer through the turns the same way John John was doing at Haleiwa.
"So we concluded that if we shave the rails down and maintain volume, he could work on those turns,'' Biolos told the WSL. "The goal was is to have the boards made for Hawaii that would translate to Margarets and Rottnest, which by all accounts are similar."
Ultimately, surf fans were robbed of the Florence/Colapinto Quarterfinal that would have given us a chance to directly compare the master and the apprentice. However, Colapinto's power performances on his Mayhem's over the event showed how all his hard work paid off.
It is, of course, unsurprising. Success at the highest level of surfing only ever comes with hard work. The winners at Margaret River, Filipe Toledo and Tatiana Weston-Webb, showed how a year off working with Marcio Zouvi of Sharp Eye Surfboards paid the highest of competitive dividends. Even if they took a different approach to the task.
"Even when the competitions were canceled, I worked constantly with Tatiana on her quiver," Zouvi told WSL. "She was so focused in Hawaii, especially on her boards for the Triple Crown locations. Those boards translated well to the power of Western Australia."
Toledo took a more relaxed approach in 2020, using the time off to hang at home in California with his friends and family. It was later, when the CT schedule was announced, that he focused in on what was needed for the Australian leg.
It also helped that he has a long association with Zouvi; he's worked on his own Holy Toledo model and step up #77 for years. The combination helped power him to his first big result in Western Australia.
No doubt that yellow-tinted winning board will be wrapped in sheepskin and carried with the greatest of care on the 300-mile journey north to Perth, and then on the nine-mile ferry trip to Rottnest Island, where a new wave and experience awaits. All the surfers know if they have the right boards, the job is halfway done.
The waiting period for the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona kicks off on May 16. Stay tuned for all the latest news, forecasts and updates right here at WorldSurfLeague.com.