16 March, 2018 16 March, 2018

2018 QuikPro Chairman’s Report

I was wondering how long it would take Martin Potter and Joe Turpel to call Ace Buchan the smartest guy on tour… “Did you know he wrote a children’s book?” “He’s so smart, he wrote a children’s book you know”.

“Ace is widely regarded as the smartest guy on tour, also… Ace wrote a children’s book”. 

I’m not sure if Julian Wilson has penned a children’s book (Joe, Martin?) but if ever there were a time, it’s now. He’s just welcomed his daughter Olivia into the world and his own heroics to overcome a serious injury to become the 2018 Quiksilver Pro Champion most certainly smacks of fairy tale stuff and legend.

Wilson’s victory had it all. Steely resolve, grit, determination, pain and ultimately, redemption. The 9.93 free fall into a tube at macking Kirra showed just how much Julian wanted the win. Few, if any, can question the effort it took to push through the pain barrier, heavy water and heavier paddles when you’ve got a busted collarbone and gammy shoulder. Ace pushed back with some incredible backhand tubes of his own, but once the Queensland sun had set and the Jet Ski’s returned to their shed, it was Wilson who stood tall.

Simply put, he absorbed the pressure better than anybody else. And when you consider the external factors outside of just surfing heats, that yellow jerseys’ gotta feel great going into Bells.

The winners of the Quiksilver Pro, 2018.

The Saffa Chapter. Dream start for MFeb, Jordy to reset. Whilst Julian Wilson experienced the fairytale ending to his 2018 Quiksilver Pro campaign, Saffa Michael February had the dream start. The man they call ‘Freestyle February’ used his glide, style and flow, punctuated with big first turns to take down 2016 Quikpro Champion Matt Wilkinson in Round 2 before losing by .20 to Wilson in round 3.

For somebody who was left waiting until the 11th hours to see if they would even get a start, thanks to Slater’s indecision regarding his participation, I think Mikey’s 3rd round finish and scalping of Wilko is a pretty healthy start. Those long right, slopey cold water walls at Bells will feel comfortably familiar to some of the setups in Cape Town, and I wouldn’t be surprised if February goes one better in March in Torquay.

Had Jordy’s round 3 heat been surfed in 2017 under the Richa Porta era, it probably could have gone either way against rookie tear away Michael Rodrigues. But it’s 2018 and a fresh judging criteria has been penned in by new WSL head judge, Pritamo Ahrendt. Pritamo has done away with the generous gift of over scoring waves which was fairly prevalent in the Porta era. Now the 8’s are being highly scrutinized and the mid 5’s and up are hard to come by.

Keely Andrew (AUS) advances to the final of the Roxy Pro Gold Coast after winning Semifinal 2 at Kirra, Gold Coast, QLD, Australia.

The difference between Rodrigues’ 8.5 versus Jordy’s 8.17 was dissected, re-evaluated and then assigned a true value. Porta’s system did the opposite. It lavished mid 6’s and decorated them as 8’s. Now it comes down to real fractions and earning the small differences between winning and losing. Obviously, this is open to debate, but how many mid scores at the 2018 Quiksilver Pro would have been gift-wrapped as excellent scores under Porta’s panel is my point.

Jordy’s surfing looked as solid as I’ve ever seen it. The rail work, power and accuracy are tack sharp. But the difference now is the adjustment to new criteria. The rookies are coming. Griffin Colapinto, Tomas Hermes and Michael Rodrigues. 2 semi-finalists, one-quarter finalist. One perfect 10, 4 world champions slayed between them. All departing for Bells ranked in the top 5. There has never been a more dangerous rookie class. They have, in one event, turned everything established and expected, on its head. The top seeds, world champions past and present, are running for the hills. The rookies are coming…

An exciting new chapter has opened for professional surfing. A new format (death finally for round 5), a new head judge with a critical eye for performance, new venues and, most importantly, new challenges to the throne. See you at Bells and bring a good book for the rainy days… we know what Joe and Martin will be reading.


The Chairman




  1. Deryck
    16 March, 2018 at 1:42 pm · Reply

    Nailed it Chairman!!

  2. TrevorT
    16 March, 2018 at 2:57 pm · Reply

    Class Chairman! I reckon Yago will soon hit his form too and be the next standout rookie (again).

  3. Liam
    16 March, 2018 at 3:52 pm · Reply

    Great commentary as always Chairman – be interesting to see how the less generous scoring will play out over the season

  4. Jack
    16 March, 2018 at 6:11 pm · Reply

    HahahaHAAA!!! Classic Mr Chairman, thank you!
    “The rookies are coming. Griffin Colapinto, Tomas Hermes and Michael Rodrigues. 2 semi-finalists, one-quarter finalist. One perfect 10, 4 world champions slayed between them”
    …and that’s why my FS team SUUUUCKED!!!-( but an awesome mix up to the tour. It’s going to be an interesting year.

  5. guava
    19 March, 2018 at 8:12 pm · Reply

    More of the golden oldies to go this year. I hope Jordy can bring some consistency into his game this year or it could be a long one for him.

  6. Jonesy
    20 March, 2018 at 11:37 am · Reply

    Well said Chairman……10/10

    That Euro part of the tour last year has mind f…d Jordy I reckon.

    Have you noticed how the WSL has all but forgot him in their coverage.

    I love watching Mfeb and his unique approach…..the guy can really handle the compo pressure .

    The Newbies are killing it.

  7. Mark
    26 March, 2018 at 1:07 pm · Reply

    A great summation of the event and the power of the mind of JW… maybe he needs to drive down to Bellls from the Sunshine Coast every morning this coming weekend…?
    There’s a change blowin in the wind and it is most certainly welcome? Hopefully Bells is solid (the forecast is calling it) so we can see the power game engaged, there’s a few thick thighed powerful men on tour this year… interesting start to the year though I don’t think Julian will walk away from bells still draped in yellow but who will scoop the Easter eggs remains to be seen…

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